In order for many people to have a balanced life, their physical and mental health are only two components of the equation.
Having a healthy spiritual life or spiritual connection is just as important for many people. Often times, spiritual health isn’t solely about religion, but it can be a connection with a higher being or it can be about the having a relationship with the world that surrounds, including our connections with other people and gaining an understanding of ourselves. For some people, religion plays no part in their spiritual health.
Benefits of Spiritual Health
There are many benefits to maintaining or developing your spirituality. Studies over the years have shown that a belief system may people some people cope better with illnesses, stress and depression. Research has shown that people who have strong religious or who are spiritual are less likely to have self-destructive habits such as taking drugs, smoking or drinking. These people tend to life longer lives and enjoy through lives more fully.
Recent studies focusing on spirituality and its correlation to health have found that those will well developed spiritual lives are less likely to be depressed. A study was conducted with over 92,000 postmenopausal women and found that those who said they attended regular religious services were 56% more likely to have a positive outlook on life and 27% of them were less likely to experience symptoms associated with depression than the women who said they didn’t go to services. This study was printed in the May 2012 issues of The Journal of Religion and Health.
Better Mental Health
When researchers compared 160 people of different faiths, they find that the more spiritual a person was, the more healthy
they were mentally. They tended to be more outgoing and they are less neurotic, no matter if they were Jewish, Catholic, Muslim or Protestant. The study, published in August of 2012 in The Journal of Religion and Health, also noted that religious people had a positive decreased sense of self and seemed more connected to the world.
Better Stress Coping Skills
A study found in the Journal of Gerontology showed that people with daily religious habits were able to cope better with stress. The study of 244 participants ranging from ages 55 to 80 showed those that were religious were able to handle everyday stress better than those who didn’t. Researchers were not sure why that was, but it could be because those people who are religious or have better spiritual health sometimes have healthier habits, a more positive outlook on life, a social support structure from their church, altruism and they have become coping strategies when face with health problems.
Ways to Improve
To gain the benefits of having a healthy spiritual life, you can make improvements to your spiritual related health.
Spend Time with Yourself
Take the time to be with yourself everyday and meditate, pray, connect with your higher power or just sit still in nature and
A sign of being aware spiritually is being able to be grateful for what you have or for the struggles you are going through. Instead of being ego-drive in that something is happening to you, if you are spiritually healthy, you can view a struggle as if it was happening through you.
When you feel you’ve been treated poorly or done wrong by someone, rather than hold it against them, forgive them. Put yourself in their shoes and realize they may be coping with struggles you can’t see and are taking them out on you. It isn’t personal and treating their behavior as a personal affront can be damaging to your own health.
Spend time with a friend or family member who needs it, offer your skills to a neighbor or do volunteer work, offer your wisdom and knowledge to teach others new skills, offer a shoulder to cry or just share a smile with a stranger.
There are many ways to improve spiritual related health without a lot of effort. It just takes a little time and practice each day.