Being spiritually empowered is the cherry on the cake for living your best and abundantly full life. Your connection to something bigger than yourself will give your life purpose, meaning and hope.
Religiosity/spirituality and trust in Divine power are linked to physical and mental health, and longevity (Seeman et al. 2003, Koenig 2012, Zimmer et al. 2016, Mishra et al. 2017).
Spirituality encompasses the way one views their purpose and meaning in life, as well as their deepest beliefs and morals, life decisions, character, perspective on spiritual beliefs and a higher being (Mishra et al. 2017).
Beliefs about where we came from, why we are here, where we are going, give meaning to life and remove anxiety about the future. They can provide meaning and hope during disappointment and difficult times.
Religious involvement is also connected with better mental health and with lower levels of depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, suicidal behaviours, stress-related disorders and dementia (Bonnell 2016, van der Wheele et al. 2016). Trust in a Divine power boosts positivity and helps better manage negative emotions, resulting in a fulfilled life and an increase in coping skills through negative life events (Koenig 2012).
Religious attendance reduced the risk of long-term depression among men, while, among women it reduced the risk of becoming depressed (Rasic et al. 2013).
Religiosity may reduce the effect of stressful life events on mood because these events are re-framed as happening for a reason and/or leading to spiritual growth, as well as the unique support that a regular faith-based community can offer (Lorenz et al. 2019).
However, note that intrinsic religiousness (valuing religiousness as a means of getting close to God) reduces depressive symptoms while extrinsic (for status it confers) tends to increase them.
Take time to define your values and beliefs – they will guide your decisions and actions.
Take time for personal reflection and time to pray.
Practice gratitude every day.
Practice being in the moment, rather than being stuck in the past or worrying about the future.
Take time to engage with and care for others.
If you are religious, find a faith community or activity you are comfortable with and participate on a regular basis.
Experience the benefits of spirituality by being connected to the Divine power.
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Koenig H. Religion, Spirituality and Health: The Research and Clinical Implications. ISRN Psychiatry. 2012;33 doi.org/10.5402/2012/278730
Lorenz L, Doherty A, Casey P. The Role of Religion in Buffering the Impact of Stressful Life Events on Depressive Symptoms in Patients with Depressive Episodes or Adjustment Disorder. International Journal of environmental research and Public Health. 2019; 16(7): 1238. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16071238
Mishra SK, Togneri E, Tripathi B, Bihavesh T. Spirituality and Religiosity and Its Role in Health and Diseases. Journal of Religion and Health. 2017; 56(4): 1282-1301.
Paggi M, E, Jopp D, Hertzog C: The Importance of Leisure Activities in the Relationship between Physical Health and Well-Being in a Life Span Sample. Gerontology 2016;62:450-458. doi: 10.1159/000444415
Rasic D, Asbridge M, Kisely S, Langille D. Longitudinal associations of importance of religion and frequency of service attendance with depression risk among adolescents in Nova Scotia. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. 2013; 58: 291–299.
Seeman TE, Dubin LF, Seeman M. Religiosity/Spirituality and Health. A Critical Review of the Evidence for Biological Pathways. American Psychologist. January 2003; pp53-63.
UM. 2016. What Is Spirituality? University of Minnesota. Accessed 1/04/2019. https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/what-spirituality
Van der Weele TJ, Jackson JW, Li S. Causal inference and longitudinal data: A case study of religion and mental health. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. 2016; 51: 1457–1466.