Spirituality is a broad concept that can be interpreted in many ways. In general, the idea of spirituality is that we are all a part of something greater than ourselves, that there is something more to being human than being human itself.
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
― Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Many people most intimately find spirituality through religion, but others practice it through art, nature, or moral values.
Spirituality can have many positive impacts on your life—from how you treat others and the world around you to how you treat yourself. In fact, practicing a spiritual life can actually benefit your overall health and wellness. The effect of spirituality on health is an active area of research right now, but studies show that living a spiritual life can positively affect the mind and body in many ways.
Senior Solutions Management Group understands the importance of practicing and celebrating spirituality, in whatever way that may be. We are committed to providing a healthy, safe, and spiritual life to those we serve and are sharing some information on the relationship between spirituality and health and wellness.
What is Spirituality?
According to Dr. Maya Spencer of the Royal College of Psychiatrists,
“Spirituality involves the recognition of a feeling or sense or belief that there is something greater than myself, something more to being human than sensory experience, and that the greater whole of which we are part is cosmic or divine in nature (Royal College of Psychiatrists).”
Whether through religion, meditation, relationships with others, or time in nature, there are many ways to be spiritual. By incorporating and embracing your spirituality, you may start to notice changes in how you feel and how you interact with others.
Embracing your spirituality doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. If you’re interested in leading a more spiritual life, start by setting aside five minutes a day to practice however you feel spiritual. This could be a prayer, a gratitude journal, meditation, a short walk in nature, or simply sitting quietly with others.
How Does Spirituality Affect Health and Wellness?
There is an overarching connection between the mind, body, and spirit - aspects of physical health overlap with mental and spiritual health, and vice versa. By improving overall health and wellness, spirituality can even help in the face of illness or disease. In fact, “79% of U.S. adults believe that spiritual faith can help people recover from illness, injury, or disease (Medical Journal of Australia).”
How does it work, though? Here are some ways that spirituality can improve overall health.
Spirituality and Emotional and Mental Health
Reduce Depression: Some research indicates that practicing spirituality, through religion and other methods, can help reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. One UK-based study found that church attendance is often associated with lower levels of depression in children and adults. There is also evidence that the simple belief in the basic elements of spirituality, including the meaning of life and intrinsic values, is enough to inverse symptoms of depression.
Improve Relationships: Spirituality can instill a positive set of values and morals in individuals, improving their relationships with others. Some guiding principles in a spiritual life include compassion, forgiveness, empathy, and patience. By practicing these values and bettering your relationship with others, you can develop a sense of community and belonging—known to positively impact mental health and wellness.
Create a Positive State of Mind: One of the main elements of spirituality is seeking a meaningful connection with something greater than yourself. By accomplishing this, you can find a sense of peace in everyday life, broaden your outlook, and develop a positive way of thinking.
Spiritually and Physical Health
Since mind, body, and spirit have a comprehensive connection; the emotional and mental benefits of spirituality are often accompanied by physical benefits. Here are some of the physical health benefits that are closely associated with living a spiritual life:
- Stronger Immune System
- Lower Blood Pressure
- Better Sleep
- Weight Loss
- Improve Cognitive Function
- Prevention of Chronic Disease
- Increased Longevity
By understanding the many benefits of spirituality on your overall health and wellness, we encourage you to find something that makes you feel spiritual and incorporate it into your life!
Meaningful Experiences at Senior Solutions Communities
Senior Solutions Management Group, with senior living communities throughout the southeast United States, encourages residents and guests to practice spirituality in whatever way they choose. We offer wellness programs designed to engage the mind, body, and soul, access to local churches, and much more to celebrate each individuals’ spiritualities.
For more information on life at a Senior Solutions Management Group community, or information on senior health and aging, we invite you to visit our educational blog!