Spirituality and mental health

Spirituality and mental health

Spirituality and mental health

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Spirituality.

So, what exactly is spirituality huh? According to google spirituality is defined by

“the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things”.

To break that up into a definition easier cause even I can’t digest that I would say for me spirituality is defined by a higher power. Some look to God, others Allah and some don’t view spirituality as something that is religious at all. I think the important thing is defining what spirituality means for you. I recently considered looking into converting to Buddhism, but it was a lot of heavy reading and I let it go as quick as it had come in. For me spirituality is believing in the universe. Believing in something bigger than us all. I look at life, at animals and at nature and I know that I am just a visitor on this world for so many years. This world is something greater than any of us can really comprehend but it’s important to believe in something. To have faith in someone or something. I am a strong believer of the law of attraction, the law of gravity, the belief that if you do good, good will come back. I believe that while I am living in this world I have a duty to live it as wholesome as possible, to not cause harm but to bring peace and harmony to those around me and to be grateful in the existence of life knowing how special it is to get the opportunity to live, learn and grow. Spirituality and religion can often be confused with each other. One can be religious and not spiritual and vice versa.

Spirituality is about connection, connection to a wider world, the universe. Spirituality is the acknowledgement that there is more to life that what is going on now within yourself and the circumstances you face. Knowing that there is more to life. The bigger picture of life on this world. Spirituality can bring hope in dark times, comfort in grievances, faith in yourself and your abilities. It can bring a sense of purpose and a sense of belonging.

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The world health organisation categorizes spirituality under 4 headings.

  • Transcendence
  • personal relationships
  • codes to live by
  • specific beliefs

The research done on the topic of spirituality has identified spiritual needs playing an important factor in the lives of people struggling with mental health. Evidence suggest that both religious and spiritual beliefs/practices can reduce symptoms of mental illness and enhance recovery. Spiritual needs are an important factor in general well-being but also the maintaining of one’s well-being.

I personally know that meditation is a type of spiritual practises engaged in by many. When I meditate, I don’t do it because I have too. I do it because I find it beneficial in bringing me back down to baseline especially when my stress levels are elevated. When I meditate, I take myself away from the situation I am in, I plug in my earphones and I choose the meditation of my choice from YouTube. Plugging in my earphones, listening to the guided meditation I focus on my breathing. It brings me back to the present and I find it helps wash away my anxieties that I’m feeling.

When I was in England, I used prayer as my way of bringing me back to the here and now. I wasn’t sure if I believed in god, but I was hopeless, and I knew I had to believe in something. So, every day I prayed using the rosary beads my grandmother was so happy to lend me. I had to believe in something otherwise I would have given up. I prayed for six months and eventually again my hope started to increase, and I found myself hopeful about life again.

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Spiritual practices can be so many things. Again, it’s about identifying what helps you. What keeps you hopeful. What brings you comfort or grants you purpose.

Many artists and poets use their words and talents to connect to something higher than themselves. Some find peace and quiet walking, at one with nature or maybe just observing the nature.

Yoga is another spiritual practise many use.

Some find that connection and purpose in volunteer work, caring for animals. When you think of your own life you could probably name a few things that help you build connections or grant comfort.

The relationship between mental health and spirituality is a complex one but the evidence done supports the importance of spirituality and spiritual practices as a way of building resilience in troubling times and keeping us well.

If we were to not believe in anything life would get pretty pointless right?

Here is where I make my confession on my relationship with spirituality. I truly believe in a holistic lifestyle. I believe our lives can be anything we want them to be but its up to us to make what we want out of it. We are the authors of our own story. I meditate every day; I swear by salt lamps. I sometimes need to light incense because I feel the energy needs to be cleared. I believe in our existence, but I also believe in another world. One with spirits and afterlife. I believe in this because of the own experiences I have had, and I own little stones and crystals that I hold in my pocket when at interviews and so on. I could not define to you why I do these little rituals, but I don’t need to define it because for me it helps bring me ease. It gives me comfort.

Sometimes the why isn’t the most important aspect. For me it’s not why I believe in spirituality but HOW I believe spirituality benefits my life.

Spirituality is something hard to define, hard to digest and for many it is different things, but I believe we all need to have hope and belief in something and even if that’s the protection crystal on your necklace or the mass you attend on a Sunday. It doesn’t matter what it is just knowing that it matters is enough.

I hope guys this wasn’t a load of garbage and that you are able to take something from it and if you don’t take something from it just remember regardless of your religious or spirituality beliefs you are alive on this earth and you matter.

Sending lots of love

Katie xx

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