Spirituality can have a calming effect on one’s worries, fears, and doubts, provide guidance and wisdom during troubling times, and create a sense of community and belonging. But “spirituality” means something a little different to everyone. What does it mean to be spiritual, and does it really affect your health?
Spirituality has to do with a person’s spirit or soul. Non-spiritual people may reject the idea of a spirit or soul existing at all, but spiritual people believe there’s an intangible “something” within us separate from our physical body and brain.
Exactly what this “something” is depends largely on an individual’s belief system. For example, some sects in the Christian faith see soul and spirit as two separate entities, whereas others believe the soul and spirit are synonymous.
Do you have to belong to a religious faith or believe in a higher power to be spiritual? No! You can define your spirit or soul as whatever makes you “you” … in other words, your instincts and intuition, your likes and dislikes, your thoughts and perceptions can all be bundled up under the umbrella terms of soul and/or spirit. Don’t like that definition? Make your own. Spirituality is highly individualized.
Exploring and nurturing your spirit through various practices of spirituality can bring you a sense of inner peace and tranquility.
Mindfulness is a great way to get started and has no affiliation with any particular religion. Prayer is another common spiritual practice that can calm worries. If you’re agnostic or atheist, sometimes recognizing the breadth of the universe and our small role in it can put things into perspective and soothe stress in a similar fashion as prayer.
Another major benefit of spirituality is its ability to bring people together. Whether you practice mindfulness or prayer as a group, debate the technicalities of spirits and souls, or believe that charity and community service improves your spirit, there are numerous ways to practice spirituality with other people, whether in or out of a house of worship.
Whether spirituality is already a major part of your life or you’re just beginning to explore what spirituality can offer you, our articles in this section cater to a broad group of people. Enjoy the journey!