What Is Spirituality?
Spirituality is a term that means many things to different people. Some associate it with a religion and its beliefs, practices and rituals. Others may associate it with New Age, healing, psychic powers and astrology. Still others think of spirituality as a way to be more connected with the world around them.
A spiritual practice can be non-religious, religious or a combination of both. It can include activities such as meditation, prayer and mindfulness. It can also be an emphasis on values such as love, kindness, self-compassion and gratitude. It can involve connecting with others through a community and practicing acts of service. It can be a search for meaning and purpose in the face of life’s challenges. It can be a response to traumatic or life changing events, such as death, serious illness and divorce.
Some people may be afraid to look for a spiritual path because they are worried that it will lead away from their religion. Spirituality really isn’t about religion, but a deeper connection to your inner being.
Research shows that a connection to something larger than yourself is associated with improved wellbeing, even in those who are not religious. For example, in one study, those who reported spirituality had less physiological reactivity to stress than those who didn’t. Another example, studies show that individuals who participate in a meditation program, like Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), have higher levels of spirituality than those who don’t.