You know the principles of healthy life include nourishment and workout, but what about spirituality? Is there a connection between spirituality and the health of people? During difficult periods of your life, you might have turned to prayer, meditation, traditional ceremonies, or any type of practice that invoked a sense of clarity or peace. The need to reach out and find some sort of direction to assist navigation of life is instinctive. A spiritual approach accomplishes this purpose and has been a catalyst for good health.
The Concept of Spirituality
Spirituality means having a feeling or belief that there is something greater than yourself. It means more to being human than sensory experience and that we are part of the cosmic or divine.
The concept of spirituality is different for every person. Some experience spirituality in religion others might find spirituality in other activities like listening to music, painting, etc. For others, spirituality focuses on a quieting, transformative, individual meditative practice.
“Helping, fixing, and serving represent three different ways of seeing life. When you help, you see life as weak. When you fix it, you see life as broken. When you serve, you see life as a whole. Helping and fixing may be the work of the ego, and serving the work of the soul.”
Research on spirituality and the health
Over the past 10 years, Research has been increasing in the field of “Spirituality and the Health,” showing that spirituality benefits the health of a person both physically and mentally, and approximately 30,000 articles have been published in the PubMed database.
According to WHO (World Health Organization), “inclusion of a non-material or spiritual health dimension, making the concept come to be regarded as a dynamic health state – physical, mental, spiritual and social behavior.”
Even though the concept of spirituality and health among researchers is increasing, the technological advances in healthcare tend to change the focus of medicine from a caring, service-oriented model to a technological, cure-oriented model. The researchers and doctors are trying to balance technological advances in health with medicine’s spiritual roots as a result of the realization that spirituality was a significant part of health care.
In Dr. Puchalski’s study, she supports the significance of doctors practicing empathetic presence; i.e. being fully present for patients and helping them through their anxiety, ache, and suffering. By being alert to a patient’s spiritual interests, including spiritual beliefs if this would ease a patient’s suffering, and attending to a patient’s anxieties and hopes, doctors can be of huge aid. Doctors are plying a quality that all vocational specialists should offer: compassion.
The concept of spirituality benefitting health came to notice at a conference of spiritual caregivers conducted at the New York Academy of Medicine in March 2014. According to some of the researchers present at the conference, whether treating patients with severe illnesses or helping those who are already healthy, spiritual care has the prospect to be a strong intervention in healthcare.
Benefits of Spirituality on Mental Health
To estimate the clinical applicability of the links and relationship between spirituality and mental health, a review of research, published in 2015 in the journal Psychological Medicine, studied the effect of spiritual interventions in randomized clinical trials. While the review authors reported that such interventions did have advantages, including a decrease in anxiety.
There are several ways that spirituality benefits health, mentally:
- It makes you sense an elevated feeling of purpose, peace, hope, and meaning.
- You may encounter more faith, self-esteem, and self-control.
- It can help you make the essence of your adventures in life.
- When ill, it can support your inner strength and lead to faster recovery.
- You may try to have better connections with yourself and others.
People with a mental illness might get hope by speaking with a spiritual leader. At times during mental illness, people might question their value or purpose. So, it can be quite useful to incorporate spirituality in the treatment of mental health.
Benefits of Spirituality on Physical Health
Researchers have also examined the part of spirituality and mindfulness tending to chronic diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis) and cancer. A review of studies, published in 2015 in the journal Cancer Management and Research, discovered “accumulating evidence” indicating that mindfulness-based interventions can assist in lowering psychological despair, insomnia, and exhaustion, as well as encourage a better quality of life in patients with cancer.
Research has discovered that spiritual practices, such as meditation, can boost equilibrium and can increase attention. These practices also have been seen in impacting the physical body in many ways, including:
- Increasing gray matter density in the brain, decreasing pain sensitivity.
- Reducing stress, pain, anxiety, and depression.
- Meditation, prayer, yoga, and other practices boost feelings of compassion and hope, along with your relaxation response, which can impact overall well-being.
Research also has discovered that people who commit to spiritual practices may treat their bodies better and involve in healthier practices. Spiritual people are less likely to smoke or drink, and they’re more likely to care for their bodies by taking vitamins.
Spirituality and the health of patients are connected in many ways. It can be an element in how a patient comprehends their disease, it can be important for a patient when it comes to managing an adverse diagnosis, and it can affect their level of distress.
Health care strategies across the world may still be a long way away from a flawless state in which doctors have the time and training needed to fully appreciate the concept of spirituality and the health or coping mechanisms of each patient, but physicians can do their best to recognize the misery and requirements of their patients; clearly, this advances to more than physical needs, with numerous bodies of research showing the inevitable link between physical, mental, and spiritual health.