Spirituality is the way you find meaning, hope, comfort, and inner peace in your life. Many people find spirituality through religion. Some people find it through music, art, or a connection with nature. Others find it in their values and principles.
How is spirituality related to health?
No one really knows for sure how spirituality is related to health. However, it seems the body, mind, and spirit are connected. The health of any one of these elements seems to affect the others.
Some research shows a connection between your beliefs and your sense of well being. Positive beliefs, comfort, and strength gained from religion, meditation, and prayer can contribute to well being. It may even promote healing. Improving your spiritual health may not cure an illness, but it may help you feel better. It also may prevent some health problems and help you cope better with illness, stress, or death.
Path to improved health
If you want to improve your spiritual health, you may want to try the following ideas. However, remember that everyone is different. What works for others may not work for you. Do what is comfortable for you.
- Identify the things in your life that give you a sense of inner peace, comfort, strength, love, and connection.
- Set aside time every day to do the things that help you spiritually. These may include doing community service or volunteer work, praying, meditating, singing devotional songs, reading inspirational books, taking nature walks, having quiet time for thinking, doing yoga, playing a sport, or attending religious services.
Things to consider
If your doctor is treating you for an illness, you should consider sharing your spiritual beliefs with him or her. Your spirituality might affect your feelings and thoughts about your medical situation. If you think your spiritual beliefs are affecting your health care decisions, tell your doctor. You should always tell your doctor if your spirituality is preventing you from following his or her recommendations.
When to see a doctor
If you have spiritual beliefs, worries, or concerns that are causing you stress, talk with your family doctor. If your doctor can’t help you with these issues, he or she may be able to suggest someone who can.
Questions for your doctor
- Can my spiritual or religious beliefs impact my health?
- Is it important for me to share with you my spiritual or religious beliefs?
Copyright © American Academy of Family Physicians
This information provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject.