29% of Americans are spiritual and/or religious.
Some people may think of spirituality as some far-fetched practice, but there is a lot more that goes into it than you might be aware of.
Mental health and spirituality actually have a connection. When you have good spiritual practices, your mental health can improve.
But how does this work? Read on to find out more about the relationship between mental health and spirituality.
Spirituality Vs. Religion
We first have to establish that spirituality and religion are not the same things, although they are linked.
Spirituality revolves around certain practices that don’t necessarily belong to a certain religion. For example, people who define themselves as spiritual may partake in meditative exercises. They practice mindfulness and treating everyone with respect and kindness.
People who are spiritual believe in a higher power (God) as the controller of the universe. They have a set of standards and beliefs that they run their lives by and they look towards this to find their ultimate purpose and plan.
Religion, on the other hand, is an institutionalized version of spirituality. It takes these spiritual elements and applies them to particular faiths and institutions. Religion is more particular and normally involves following religious leaders.
Religious people can believe in “a” god, but it might not be the same god that others believe in. They follow traditions and community practices that adhere to their religion. In a sense, religious people are a more particular form of spirituality.
Spiritual people have a more general sense of all this. They focus less on the traditions and institutional aspects and more on what it means to them.
What’s the Connection Between Mental Health and Spirituality?
While spirituality and religion are not the same, they are linked, and they both have benefits to your mental health.
How to stay mentally healthy can be hard to figure out. Practicing spirituality and religion could help you in your journey to healing.
Being spiritual or involved with religion gives you a community of support. This will more so be among the benefits of religion.
You will have a community of other people that believe as you do, and you can push each other on in your beliefs and challenge each other to grow. In the same way, you can also have people to fall back on when you need help or are struggling.
This is a great aspect of spirituality and religion because it offers community and support to those who may be struggling by themselves.
Believing in something greater than yourself or this world gives hope that none can match. It makes you strive towards that something greater and have hope that not everything is always going to be this way.
Some people may feel strength from their spirituality in times of need because they have something to cling to when life gets a little hairy. This hope and strength are what cause them to push on instead of giving up. They know there is something bigger than the trials they are experiencing.
Being spiritual or religious means feeling connected to something greater. In the same way that you gain hope from something bigger, you can feel connected to something bigger as well.
This means when you feel out of place or left out, you still know that you have a special connection with a spiritual world and place. That satisfies you more than worldly comfort.
In a day and age of constant chaos, having rituals and traditions can be helpful for individuals.
Whether you are spiritual or religious, both will give you certain rituals or structures that you build your life on. This can help you understand what you must do on a day-to-day basis and how to cope with certain situations.
This also gives you certain rituals and traditions to follow when it comes to ceremonies such as weddings, funerals, baptisms, communions, etc…
Having structure and ritual in your life can help you become more stable and less stressed.
Being spiritual or a part of religion means having life guidance.
For a spiritual person, this can mean the guidance of your standards or feelings from the outer-worldly being that you believe in.
For the religious, this means being led by religious leaders and texts to guide you and your morals.
On either side, you will learn more about life lessons and morals this way. You can understand better what it takes to be a kind and sacrificial person while learning from your mistakes and failures.
Without spirituality or religion, it can be hard to understand what your own standards or morals are. It can be hard to understand how aspects of life work and how to respond. Being a part of something bigger than yourself gives you the ability to have this guidance.
Mindfulness and Self-awareness
Being a part of spirituality or religion means being more self-aware of who you are. You have a sense of your purpose in the world and what you are meant to do. This will be one of the biggest benefits of being spiritual.
Along with this comes mindfulness. Mindfulness is expressed through meditation and self-reflection. This can be done in many ways, depending on your belief system.
Mindfulness is being open and attentive to the present and what is happening. You can attune to your own feelings and understanding of right and wrong. It will help you look at life objectively, and not come up with quick, brash judgments for situations.
How Can I Get Involved?
If you want to get involved in spirituality, it all starts with self-examination. Don’t shy away from asking hard questions or looking up answers you’ve been seeking. Practice mindfulness by meditating and see the results.
If you feel like you need a guide to help you get involved, you can search on the net for resources to get started on your journey. You don’t need to do it alone.
The Journey to Healing
Mental health and spirituality have a connection that can help you heal in many ways. If you are struggling with your mental health, seeking help from something greater than yourself could be the answer.