What Is Spirituality?


Spirituality is the individual’s experience of and relationship with a fundamental, nonmaterial aspect of the universe – commonly referred to as God, Higher Power, Force, or Mystery. This aspect provides meaning and purpose to life and shapes how a person lives, sees the world, and relates to others and everything else.

People who consider themselves spiritual may also believe in an afterlife, communicate with loved ones who have died, and practice certain rituals to connect with the divine. A large part of spirituality is an inner journey involving practices such as meditation, yoga, or prayer. Many of these practices require the individual to focus their mind, body, and emotions on a particular goal, such as enlightenment or peace.

There is no one definition of spirituality, which means that atheists and agnostics can be spiritual, and believers can have spiritual experiences that don’t involve prayer or meditation. This broadness and lack of agreement on definitions makes it difficult to study spirituality in a systematic way.

Research has shown that being spiritual is associated with greater hope, self-compassion, and gratitude. Some people who are struggling with mental health problems have used spirituality to help them cope and feel better about themselves. A form of therapy known as religiously integrated cognitive behavioral therapy (RCBT) encourages patients to use their faith and beliefs to identify and challenge distorted thoughts. It also encourages them to engage in spiritual activities, such as attending church services or volunteering.

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