Why Spirituality is Good for Your Mental Health
Spirituality, or being concerned about your connection to the human spirit and the light all around us, is beneficial and uplifting for our overall mental health and quality of life. The secular world often looks at spirituality as hocus pocus when dealing with mental health or physical concerns, but the truth is the human body is not a car, it is more than just mechanics.
Technology and science are needed and beneficial, but they are not the solve-all that some people hope they are. We have a growing disconnection from that sacred light and love within our bodies, even our physical environments have grown into more concrete and steel with less nature and beauty. This lack of spirituality leaves a void; which we fill with overeating, anxiety, sex, money, fighting, career or some other placeholder which we shove into that void thinking we are doing just fine.
Spirituality or Religion
To be clear, spirituality and religion are not the same thing although they do interact. Religion is organized, has standards and provides structure to someone on how they should interact with and grow their spirituality. While spirituality is very individualized and resides within our hearts, no one has access to that spiritual core except for the one who created it. We can think of religion as more external and spirituality as internal. One impacts the other, one can feed off of the other or hurt the other, but they are not the same.
I have always been a spiritual woman, but I spent 30 years searching for my religion which would help me elevate my spirituality. It is important to follow your own path in this, trial and error, for every time we stumble or fall we are actually learning and this doesn’t hurt your spiritual core.
Mental Health Benefits
Our spirituality is a connection to something much larger than ourselves, something impossible to measure or fully comprehend. This means we can outsource our anxiety and depression to the one who created this state of being in the first place. Spirituality encourages us to look within ourselves and ask deep questions. At the same time it makes us contemplate how this all fits into our everyday lives and the world around us. This means it can change your perspective on the very meaning of life. If someone wants to argue their interpretation of the meaning of life has no impact on mental health then I have to wonder if they truly ever contemplated that question.
Here are some examples of spirituality benefiting your mental health:
- Empowerment. Spirituality puts focus on your individual connection to the divine, to whatever it is you believe to be true in your own set of values and faith. This causes your own sense of self to blossom as you explore that inner dimension of yourself. Spirituality does not judge or label, it is whatever you mold it to be within yourself. While it is very difficult to imagine spirituality as a tangible object you can physically mold, you can imagine it is liken to plasma. A state with no fixed volume or shape that allows for the conduction of electricity like a spiritual boost and responds to magnetism or those beliefs and occurrences that pull you towards spiritual growth.
- Gratitude. Someone who is more spiritually aware often notices their environment and daily blessings. They literally stop to smell the roses as the expression goes and they see light and divinity within that rose. They feel gratitude for the beautiful sunset because it is a blessing from God to even see this sight and the colors fascinate their senses. Unlike the non-spiritual person who may see the sunset and their first thought is “I didn’t get enough work done today”. Gratitude for what is around us and the people around us naturally makes us happier and alters our perspective to a more positive one.
- Mindfulness. This goes along with gratitude above as we tend to be more grateful when we are more mindful of what surrounds us. Spirituality encourages meditation/prayer, sitting in quiet places listening to your heart, devoting time to worship no matter what that looks like to you. Being consciously aware of what is happening versus being glued to the phone screen oblivious to the beautiful rose bush next to us. Mindfulness is used to treat anxiety, depression, ADHD etc. Yet with spirituality you get mindfulness along with many other benefits.
- Stamina. Increased spirituality makes you stronger, you can take more hardships and walk away from them smiling. When something difficult happens, some people fall into despair and cry out WHY ME while others understand everything has a reason and ultimately, it is not what happens to you that matters it is how you respond to it. For Muslims, we say alhamdulillah (all praise to
God) and those of us strong in faith can move on without dwelling. Instead of “why me” try saying “thank you” then keep going.
In today’s modern world they tend to look at mental illness as related to hormones, neurotransmitters are off, your diet is unhealthy or in some shape or form you are broken and need repair. While I agree that chemicals can be off balance and your diet will impact you, I would also argue that devoting time to your spirituality and listening to your heart can help you feel motivation for a healthier diet and even help you balance your own hormones. If you don’t believe me then explain the placebo effect. Explain how people taking sugar pills can have the same physical effect as someone taking the actual prescription. This is the power of our amazing mind, when linked up with your spirituality , your potential is beyond what you can imagine.
We live in a seemingly disconnected space; where people focus on the physical and ignore the internal, letting it wither away. Yet even a few moments a day dedicated to spirituality and listening to your own heart can change your entire mindset and uplift your mental health. I challenge you to push yourself out of your typical comfort zones and explore a new way of thinking. What can you lose? Worst case you determine that spirituality is hocus pocus to you but best case, it change your world.