Research shows that our faiths and beliefs can be related to our health. Spirituality is a practice to find inner peace and meaning for life. Different people use a different medium to practice spirituality. It can be through music, art, religion or nature.
Many people believe that our well-being and health can be improved when we practice spiritual routines. Spending some time in the day to do volunteer work, attending a religious service, reading a book or even taking a walk can be a part of your daily spiritual routine. Every person is unique and your spiritual journey might differ from others.
Practising spirituality on a daily basis can improve your lifestyle. The mind, body and soul are a trinity that is linked to one another. Taking care of one part affects the other two. Positive thoughts and affirmations can improve the overall mental health of a person. Many studies prove that spirituality does affect our health. However, many can’t seem to point how exactly it works. Regardless of this, people who are spiritual have recovered faster than those who are not. According to a study conducted by Mayo Clinic, people who are spiritual often live longer lives. Thinking about things that comfort you and give you inner peace can be inculcated in your spiritual practice.
Spirituality affects the three domains of our health. Our physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being. All these combined affects our overall quality of life.
1. Strengthens the Immune System.
Our immune system plays an important role in fighting the viruses in our body. Spirituality gives a sense of well-being and boosts our brain with hormones that strengthen the immune system.
Factors like stress, pressure can take a huge toll on the body. Practising spirituality helps build positive thoughts and increases the functioning of the body.
Spirituality helps people cope with illness, especially prolonged ones. A study was conducted by Fryback and Reinhart in 1999. It was found that participants with potentially fatal diseases viewed spirituality as a bridge between hopelessness and meaning in life.
Spirituality also plays a role in our general daily health. It increases the white blood cell count in the body.
2. Aids Healing.
Practising spirituality through yoga and meditation keeps the body fit and reduces weakness. Spiritual people have more functional ability and are more active and fresh. Spirituality aids in healing. Having something to connect to and look forward to every day boosts serotonin in the body. It helps process big events in life like the loss of a loved one. It heals the person and helps overcome the loss.
3. Fights daily Stress.
It has also been observed that people with high levels of spiritual beliefs have lower cortisol responses. Cortisol is a hormone that is released during stress. This means that people who are spiritual have lower stress levels and are more equipped to deal with stress. Some people find physical activities to be a spiritual experience. Walking in a park, yoga, dance or even cardio exercises can be considered a spiritual activity. Exercise has multiple benefits. It pumps oxygen into the body and increases blood flow. Exercising also reduces blood pressure and blood sugar levels. It alleviates mood and makes a person feel more energized and keeps the body healthy,
Spiritually inclined people can also make smart choices and decisions. They use their beliefs to fight illnesses, pain and life stresses. They prioritize what is important in life and work towards it.
4. Increased Emotional well-being
A person’s spirituality provides them with a language to understand and interpret what is happening to them. Spirituality brings a person closer to themselves and their family. It builds a sense of community and belongingness. This, in turn, increases the emotional well-being of the person. Studies have also shown that spiritual people have a more positive outlook in life.
There is reduced feelings of isolation, especially among older adults.
People who practice spirituality are more connected and aware of their thoughts and opinions. They are more punctual and organized in their day-to-day life. This helps avoid stressors in their personal and work life. They have a greater sense of control to battle day to day challenges.
5. Fights Mental Health problems.
Mental health problems are deeply personal, subjective and meaningful. Spirituality helps in understanding such problems and finding the root cause of them. Psychologists also suggest that engaging in spiritual activities can help with anxiety and depression. Mindfulness meditation is one way to gather negative feelings and flush them from the system. The famous psychoanalyst Carl Jung believed that spirituality was directly related to the psyche, and deeply rooted in the mind. By connecting to one’s own thoughts and feelings through spirituality, people are able to feel more hopeful and improve their self-esteem, which also improves mental health.
Taking some time to sit and be by yourself helps understand and comprehend your feelings.
People who struggle to find a sense of purpose in their lives rely on elements of spirituality like rituals, prayers and symbols. This can help a person with their worst moments.
6. Gives a sense of clarity.
Expressing what is on your mind will help you to maintain a focused and clear mind. After a long day, you may be confused and not be able to make sense of your feelings. By writing down your thoughts, you may be able to think clearer and move forward. You can also practice gratitude journaling. You can jot down two to three points on what made you happy that day. This evokes positive emotions and brings gratitude into your life. When a person has a sense of clarity, they are mentally healthier, They can make better life decisions and are more involved in their daily life. They do not feel overwhelmed and avoid stress.
7. Improves Social Well-being.
Spiritual people have stronger connections with friends and family. They can empathize and forgive easily. Spirituality provides a structure and helps in initiating conversations. Most of our relationships are built on conversations and connections. Having deep conversations and introspecting with people help create connections. Finding people to share your emotions is very important. It is essential to foster your relationships for the greater good. Spirituality provides a release to avoid suppression of our feelings and helps share them with the surrounding people. It helps create a sense of belongingness and provides a support system. Having people who love and care for you can increase your level of satisfaction and happiness. Spiritually inclined people attract like-minded people. They focus on being compassionate rather than egoistic. They accept everyone regardless of caste, religion or color. This helps us stay socially active.
8. Spiritually inclined people can deal with their feelings.
Humans are social beings. One cannot remain in isolation forever. Spirituality helps create this path to be more socially aware, not only with people but also animals and nature. They are conscious of the surrounding beings. They can connect with nature and find pleasure in little activities.
People who engage in spiritual activities on an everyday basis have a higher level of empowerment and a stronger sense of self. They are motivated and offer a trustworthy and safe space for people to share their thoughts. These people are also more likely to be a great friend or companion. They are emotionally strong and can handle negative thoughts and feelings. They do not hold grudges and regrets. Being spiritual can give you the capacity to provide emotional help and aid to the surrounding people. Spirituality helps you process different emotions and feel calm when doing so. You learn to confront your past experiences and grow from them. You do not suppress or avoid negative feelings. Learning from past experiences makes you stronger and more stable. Develop the ability to break down your feelings and look at it from different perspectives.
Health and its connection to spirituality have been spoken about many times. It takes effort and commitment to reach a high level of spirituality. Practising it on an everyday basis can transform a person’s lifestyle. It sets guidelines by which a person can live by. Being healthy physically and mentally is constant work. One cannot reach it in a day. It requires day to day interactions with oneself and their surroundings. In a fast-paced world like ours taking the time to introspect and work on oneself becomes very hard. Spirituality has helped people connect with themselves, overcome multiple mental conditions as well as enhance their physical health.
Being a spiritual person does not mean following a strict religion to reap the benefits. Religion does not have to be the focus of spirituality. It can be a form of practice if you like it and if it works for you. You can practice spirituality in many other ways. There is no right or wrong. Discover what works best for you and work on it every day. Your personal view of spirituality may differ from others. It may also change with age and life experiences. However, it always forms the basis of your well-being. It helps you cope with stressors whether they are large or small.