What Is Spirituality?

The term spirituality has many different meanings and can be difficult to define. Some people associate it with new age movement, psychic powers, astrology and paranormal activities. For others, it means the practice of meditation and yoga – the expansion of consciousness beyond ego limitations. It can also be seen as a process of freeing oneself from fears, worries and nonstop thinking. It is about aligning our mental, physical and emotional world with our soul and experiencing true happiness.

In addition to religion, spirituality includes the quest for inspiration, reverence and awe, meaning and purpose in life, especially during times of stress or illness (Murray and Zentner 1989:259). It can also include a search for transcendental principles, such as love and compassion, or a higher power. It may even be seen as a way to cope with suffering and death.

Research shows that being spiritual helps us to live longer, have better health and deal with stress. It also makes our relationships work well and brings a sense of inner peace and happiness. In fact, those who are spiritual have less physiological reactivity to stress and tend to be more satisfied in their lives (Kelley et al., 2022).

Spirituality is often related to religious beliefs and moral values. For example, some studies have found that a patient’s spiritual domain can help illuminate their experiences with moral injury and how this impacts their meaning-making and self-concept (Kopacz et al., 2016).

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