Spirituality has many definitions, but basically it helps to give context to your life. It is not necessarily related to a specific belief system or religious cult. On the contrary, it arises from the connection with oneself and with others, from the development of a personal value system and from the search for the meaning of life. Some might describe spirituality as a search for meaning, peace, and purpose within each person.
For many, spirituality takes the form of religious observance, prayer, meditation, or belief in a higher power. For others, it may be found in nature, music, art, or in a secular community. Spirituality is different for each person.
How can spirituality help relieve stress?
Spirituality has many benefits for stress relief and general mental health. It can help you achieve the following:
Have a sense of purpose:
Cultivating your spirituality can help you discover what really matters in your life. By clarifying what is most important, you can focus less on unimportant things and eliminate stress.
Connect with the world:
The more you feel that you have a purpose in the world, the less lonely you will feel, even when you are alone. This can give you valuable inner peace in difficult times.
Give up control:
When you feel part of a larger whole and community, you may realize that you are not responsible for everything that happens in life. You can share with those around you the burden that hard times bring, as well as the happiness that the good things in life bring.
Expand your support network:
Whether you find spirituality in a church, a ritual, a mosque or synagogue, in your family, or on nature walks with a friend, this exchange of spiritual expression can help you build relationships.
Lead a healthier life:
People who consider themselves spiritual may be able to cope better with stress and experience health benefits.
Discover your spirituality:
Discovering your spirituality may require a bit of self-discovery. Here are some questions to ask yourself to discover what experiences and values define you:
- What relationships in your life do you consider important?
- What do you value most in life?
- What people give you a sense of community?
- What inspires you and gives you hope?
- What brings you joy?
- What are the achievements you are most proud of?
The answers to these questions can help you identify the most important people and experiences in your life. With this information, you can focus your search for spirituality on the relationships and life activities that helped define you as a person and those that continue to inspire your personal growth.
Cultivate your spirituality
Spirituality also involves connecting with oneself. A fundamental component is self-reflection. Try these tips:
- Try prayer, meditation, mindfulness, and relaxation techniques to help you focus your thoughts and find peace of mind.
- Keep a personal journal to help you express your feelings and record your progress.
- Find a trusted advisor or friend who can help you discover what is important to you in life. Others may have insights that you haven’t discovered yet.
- Read inspiring stories or essays that help you evaluate different philosophies of life.
- Talk to others whose spiritual lives you admire. Ask questions to find out how they found their way to a full spiritual life.
- Find a lonely place. Turn off your phone and electronic devices.
Enrich your relationships
Spirituality is also strengthened through relationships with others. Knowing this, it is essential to nurture relationships with the people we care about. This can lead to a deeper feeling about your place in life and the greater good.
Prioritize relationships with friends and family. Give more than you receive. See the good in people and in yourself. Accept others as they are, without judging. Give back to your community by volunteering.
In search of spiritual life
Connecting with your spirit and with the lives of those around you can improve your quality of life, both mentally and physically. Your personal concept of spirituality may change with age and life experiences, but it always forms the foundation of your well-being, helps you cope with stressors big and small, and affirms your purpose in life.