What is Spirituality?
What is the purpose and meaning of life? Why are we here? Why is there suffering on a beautiful planet and universe? What is our connection to nature? What does the future hold for us as individuals and as a society? What are your most deeply held beliefs?
These are all questions that can help you to understand spirituality and which spirituality can help you to answer.
Spirituality is about your inner life. Expressions and practices of spirituality are personal—it's how you make internal meaning of the world and universe. Spirituality isn't necessarily about being religious. In fact, many people consider themselves to be very spiritual but not at all religious. So being spiritual does not mean you have to join a church or a temple or become a member of an organized religion, even though many people address their spiritual needs through religion. How you connect with your spirituality is a decision only you can make.
Each one of us has to constantly rediscover, make and re-make who we are as we go through life. Spirituality is an important part of this process, because it helps us to build a framework for who we are. When we become more connected with our own spirituality, it helps us to be in relationship with other people and the world. Whether you seek spirituality through a religion or by following your own path, how you connect with others and the world around you are important parts of developing your spirituality.
Spirituality plays an important role in our health, because it can help make you stronger emotionally and mentally. Studies have shown that faith, hope, forgiveness, expressions of love, social support, compassion and prayer—all beliefs and practices commonly associated with various spiritual practices—have a positive impact on wellness and our ability to heal from illness.
Spirituality can help you through tough times. Being aware of your spiritual and emotional needs is very important, because all of your health needs must be addressed in order for your mind and body to work together to ensure your overall health.
Getting in Touch with your Spirituality
So, where do you start if you want to develop your sense of spirituality and bring more peace and balance to your life Here are just a few suggestions of things that you can do to begin making spirituality a part of your plan for healthy living:
Enjoy a Little Peace and Quiet
Try to create some peaceful space in your life and take time for reflection. Pray, meditate or do yoga. It doesn't have to be every day. Even a little quiet time and reflection at the end of the day can be beneficial in helping you to develop your spirituality. Use those quiet moments to think positively about yourself and those around you. Doing this will help to strengthen your mind and it will improve your concentration and help you develop greater patience.
Make a Gratitude List
Think about things for which you are thankful. This isn't just about reducing negative thoughts, this is about thinking positively. The more negative we are, the more difficult it is to see the good in ourselves, in others, and in life in general. Try taking a quiet moment to sit down and write a “gratitude list”. Think long and hard about all of the people and things in your life that make you feel better and write them down. Try to make your gratitude list part of your daily life by taking a moment near the end of each day to try and think of at least three things that happened to you that day for which you are grateful. Gratitude makes you focus on the positive side of life and this will help you in becoming more and more joyful and at peace.
Try walking or sitting by the ocean, in a garden or other natural spot, ideally without other people to distract you. Pay attention to what is around you, rather than being lost in thought about other parts of your life. Notice the difference between the speed of much of our lives and the slow, peaceful rhythms that can be found in things like waves, wind in the trees, and the growth of a plant. Possible questions to ask yourself are What do I hear? What do I smell? What is beautiful here? How does that make me feel? How are things connected?