The Connection Between Spiritual Health and Well-Being

Emotional health is as important as being physically fit and having a sound mind. Our emotional, physical, and mental health are connected with each other that each one affects the health of the other. However, there is another factor that can contribute to a healthy well-being: Spiritual health.

Being spiritual is not just being religious. It is being in touch with the spirit within you. It is finding meaning, hope, comfort, and inner peace in your life. Most people find spirituality through religion. Others find it through music, art or, a connection with nature. Still, others find it in their values and principles.

Spiritual activities such as prayer and meditation foster positive beliefs and comfort which bring healing and a sense of well-being. It may not necessarily cure the illness, but it can help you feel better, prevent some health problems, and help you cope with illness or death.

Whenever life becomes a bore or seems meaningless, or when emotional hurts and pains become overwhelming, we tend to be confused or anxious. We feel dead in our spirits. But those who are spiritually nourished are strongly anchored in their faith and hope. For Christians, boredom is a word that can never be used to describe a person who walks in the love of God. Firm believers have no room for anxiety and depression in their lives. The Christian faith surrenders all their worries and cares to a God who is almighty.

Most people usually associate manifestations of anxiety with a panic attack. This is about senselessly talking and worrying about the various details of our daily life or about sudden, unexpected situations. Stuff that makes your stomach go into knots and gives you a headache and a pain in the back of your neck.

In trying to improve your spiritual health, always remember that every individual is different. What works for you may not work for others. Do what is comfortable for you. Try to identify the things in your life that give you a sense of inner peace, comfort, strength, love, and connection. Set aside a specific 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.

It is important to some doctors who are treating you for an illness to know how your spirituality might be affecting your feelings and thoughts about your medical situation. Do not hesitate to tell your doctor if you think your spiritual beliefs are affecting your health care decisions or your ability to follow your doctor’s recommendations. A spiritual assessment as part of a medical encounter is a practical first step in incorporating consideration of a patient’s spirituality into medical practice. The relationship between spirituality and medicine has been the focus of considerable interest in recent years.

If there are spiritual beliefs, worries or concerns that are causing you stress, talk with your doctor or seek counseling from someone who can help you with these issues.

The Connection Between Spirituality & Medicine

The Connection Between Spirituality & Medicine

When a person is threatened with physical complications, there are two main aspects that he will seek refuge in- medicine and spirituality. Despite the recent discussions and debates surrounding the reunion of spirituality and medicine, there is no doubt that a lot of patients recognize their faith as a great influence in their physical health. Thus, when a person feels ill or experiences health complications, they face it by trying to understand their illness in the medical or scientific sense and by turning into their faith in order to cope with their emotions of despair, depression, loneliness and suffering.
Although spirituality can be connected with religion, it is not the sole definition of it. Spirituality is defined as a person’s own system of beliefs focused towards the intangible, and knowing that there is a greater being who really knows the meaning of the person’s life. Members of the health care industry such as nurses and physicians had observed that their patient’s spirituality have a great influence in their experiences of dealing with their illnesses.
During the study of medicine, medical students are taught how to conduct a doctor-patient interview. The first part of this interview includes taking the details of the patient’s medical history as well as personal details which are related to their spirituality and religious beliefs. Although most students actually feel that they are being intrusive while asking these questions, these are actually valid as such factors actually allow the patient to open up and discuss his beliefs to the health care professional. It also lets them reflect regarding their personal life and provide them with reassurance and comfort, knowing that they are not alone in their present struggle. Having the opportunity to reflect about one’s self also gives the patient the chance to plan about his next actions given the current condition that he is in.
Nowadays, the medical field has constructed a way to assist health care professionals in incorporating spiritual history into their interview. Brown University uses the HOPE module which is used to assess the patient by asking him questions through the mnemonics of HOPE. H is where the patient gets hope, love, connection, and strength, and O is the patient’s part or role in an organized group of spiritual or religious people. On the other hand, P is the patient’s personal beliefs when it comes to spirituality and how does he practice it, while E would be how he views the effects of medical care and any issues that he is currently facing.
These questions make the patient ponder about his personal life without having to immediately conclude that the health care professional is trying to intrude or delve deeper into his religious beliefs. More so, the structure provides a lot of room for a person to reflect on his current status and plan for his future by simply answering a standard set of connections.
Although there is still a lot to be studied when it comes to spirituality and how it can affect the future of medicine, it is a great move that medical institutions are now finding a way to include a person’s spirituality as a major factor in his physical health.

Does Spirituality Influence Health?

Does Spirituality Influence Health?

Is a stronger spiritual life directly related to a stronger physical health as well? For years, researchers have been trying to co-relate spirituality and its influence to physical health.
As it is, spirituality can improve a person’s ability to cope more with the environment that he is living in. Being able to nurture a strong and flourishing spiritual life despite today’s culture is a strong characteristic that may help a person in improving his mental, emotional and physical health. So how can spirituality affect these aspects of health?
• Spirituality helps in reducing stress and depression. One of the main teachings of spirituality is directed towards living with a positive outlook in life. An optimistic person dwells more on the bright side of things rather than on the negative. These actions help him reduce or eliminate anxiety, tension and probable signs of depression. In turn, being able to live a spiritual life with reduced negativity can affect a person’s nervous, cardiovascular and immune system. A medical research which was focused on senior citizens indicated that those who have a healthy practice of their spiritual and religious beliefs have stronger immunity system and lower blood pressure than the elderly subjects who already gave up on their beliefs.
• Spirituality can lead to a healthy lifestyle. One specific example of this would be those who are members of certain religions or sects whose beliefs prevent them from indulging in alcohol consumption, smoking and eating pork. Patients who are under rehabilitation for substance and alcohol abuse often undergo spiritual training which teaches them that the proper way to handle emotional turmoil would be to meditate and pray rather than turn to alcohol and drugs.
• Spirituality improves the body’s resistance to stress. A 1988 clinical study showed that spiritual women who underwent breast biopsies have lower stress levels in their hormones compared to those who lack spiritual beliefs. These women turned to their spiritual beliefs and prayers in order to cope with the stress that they felt during biopsy.
• Spirituality helps in increasing a person’s lifespan.
Spirituality teaches a person to be more forgiving, improve their faith, and become more compassionate to others. In separate studies conducted among Harvard and Stanford students, results indicated that the graduates who exhibited strong spiritual beliefs were more likely to live longer and developed fewer illnesses.
Teachings which revolve around spirituality have distinct characteristics such as faith, hope, love, forgiveness and how the power of prayer and support can help a person during the most challenging times. A person who has strong spiritual beliefs opens up himself to the better side of life and prevents him from entertaining negative thoughts. Aside from that, a spiritual person has a better ability to cope and recuperate even when he encounters challenges and pitfalls because he receives a strong support system from the people who surrounds him. More importantly, it is easier for him to accept, forgive and move on with his life because he is aware that all things happen for a greater purpose.

The History Of Spirituality’s Role In Health Care

The History Of Spirituality’s Role In Health Care

Medicine and health care in most traditions started out with healers who used spirituality as the way of curing medical conditions. These traditions, however, were taken into the backseat during the era of scientific medical revolution. In the next years following the revolution of science and medicine and with the newest innovations and scientific researches in medical technology, there is little view of how spirituality can play a great role in health care.
In the early 1400s, Greek philosophers and healers had a holistic view of medicine. This meant that a person can only be cured of his illness if his mind, body and spirit are all in good health. This kind of belief was widespread throughout the 15th century. The same belief was prevalent all over Europe and Christianity at that period also employed the idea of spirituality as a part of the healing process. However, between the 1400s and the start of the 1600, the establishment of the Catholic Church became more strengthened. During this period, medical discoveries were also beginning to resurface. But since the Church had opposing views with the sciences, the medical world was split into two beliefs and thus, science and spirituality were never combined in early medicine. Because it was believed that spirituality can never become a part of healing and health care, it was also during this period when witch trials became more pervasive, and even midwives who assisted women during their childbirth were accused of witchcraft and burned at the stakes.
During the 17th century, another concept was introduced to the world- dualism. Thus, spirituality was recognized as a tool for healing. However, the boundaries of spirituality as a medium of healing was only limited and focused towards the restoration of the mind and the spirit. Physical health care and treatment were still under the monopoly of science and medicine. It continued within the end of the 19th century when Churches still consider autopsy as blasphemy and at the same time, medical innovations and discoveries were all concentrated towards the scientific aspect of health care, leaving spirituality as a subject that should be tackled by the Church alone.
It was only during the 1950s when Albert Einstein, along with other great minds, formulated the theory of relativity and the concept that all matters and space actually possess an interrelation with each other. With these ideas, noetic science was born. In this area of medicine, it is suggested that a person’s spiritual and religious beliefs as well as his spiritual history can influence and affect the physical aspects of his life. Because of the introduction of this new area of medical science which explores the inner experiences of a person rather than merely his physical attributes, it paved way to medical researches which showed how spirituality can pose a great effect in a person’s health.
Today, the reunion of spirituality and health care is still under constant tension and discussions. It cannot, however, disprove the fact that spirituality plays a crucial role in improving a person’s well-being, not only in the emotional and mental facets, but in the physical aspects as well.
Spirituality in health care today is considered as one of the most traditional and ancient practices, although employing spirituality in medicine has faded during the boom of scientific innovations. Because of its efficacy in improving some health conditions, spirituality in health care is now being introduced yet again in the medical practice.
Spirituality in Mental Health Care
Spirituality and faith can play a crucial role when it comes to dealing with a person’s emotional and mental health. When a person is under a mental or emotional struggle, the only area that he can find solace in is his faith. When it comes to dealing with mental health, medical research has found that spirituality can affect a person in coping with his illness. Another study showed that patients who have stronger connection in their religious beliefs have higher possibility to recover from their disorders. Additionally, keeping a strong spirituality can instill optimism and positive energy even when a person is being treated with health complication. These two effects of spirituality serve as key factors in reducing the depression that a person can experience when he is ill.
Spirituality in Physical Health Care
Traditional Western medicine often deems spirituality and physical health as two aspects that might not complement each other. However, there are certain studies that also showed how faith can actually help while a patient is being treated from a certain disease. One study which was conducted among elderly and more mature patients showed that patients who exhibit stronger connections with their spiritual and religious life are less prone to experience depression and they have a lower rate of deterioration in their physical health. Additionally, they have healthier immune systems and lower blood pressure.
A supplemental research also showed that religious and spiritual patients who underwent open-heart surgeries had higher chance of survival than patients who had no connections with spiritual groups. Patients with strong spiritual lives who are diagnosed with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cancer, and heart diseases also cope better and have higher chances of recuperation. In programs for alcoholic rehabilitations such as Alcoholics Anonymous, experts observed that spirituality can play a huge part in educating the patients that they can avoid substance and alcohol abuse if they turn to prayer and meditation instead.
The reason for these might be that spirituality teaches how to maintain strong faith, nurture relationships and help patients in focusing their energy to more worthwhile activities such as meditation, prayer, conversing with positive people and doing volunteer work. These activities prevent them from focusing on their health problems and eliminate looming possibilities of anxiety and depression

Improving Mental Health Through Spirituality

Improving Mental Health Through Spirituality

Spirituality is said to be borne out of humanity’s quest for purpose and mission in life. Such is not an easy task as it could mean a quest that can take a lifetime! However, many people have also experienced enrichment in their spirituality even at a young age or right in their middle age. So it’s fair to say that it’s achievable, and it’s just a matter of how one seeks such enlightenment.
But then many would ask: Why must one seek spirituality? Regardless of culture, race, and geographical situation, spirituality is a major influence in a person’s life – in thinking and in how a person lives. It is so powerful that it can affect every facet of a person’s life. It can even affect one’s mental health. You may ask how spirituality improves mental health.
Do you know that there were some studies made in Northern Ireland that show how prayers can improve the mental health of the patients? Amazingly, most patients were seen to have reduced signs of agitation, inappropriate emotional expression and other psychiatric symptoms. Their mindsets visibly improved evidenced by their modified behaviors. Is it hard to believe? For the medical scientists, it is unusual, even mystical. It is hard to believe but the growing evidences are proving that indeed spirituality can improve mental health. For the believers, this is something that is not only possible; these all happen for a reason.
To make a heads and tails about the entire phenomenon, let us look at spirituality.
What is spirituality and why can it bring about such improvement to people with mental sickness? Spirituality is best described as practices and beliefs that grow depending to each individual’s values and philosophies in life. Most people reach spirituality as they get in touch with their self and the Supreme Being. This directs them towards better understanding life’s values and of the particular values that they want to live by. This gives them a purpose and a mission in this life.
How does this influences mental health. Mental health refers to the psychological well being of a person. Being mentally healthy is evident in a person’s various manifestations and feelings. Most individuals suffering from mental health disorder tend to cope slower with today’s technology and other new lessons that demand learning adjustments. They have difficulty adjusting with life’s changes which, as we know, happen all the time.
Spirituality encompasses almost about everything in a person and how one lives and relate with other people. It drives one to be a good person, happy and interacting well with others. One adopts what one believes are right, ethical, moral including a healthy, stress-free lifestyle. One surrenders all difficulties to the Supreme Being; they diminish such stresses as merely trials that make them stronger. These help people to get stronger mentally. Unaffected by stresses, anxiety and depression, one copes better in the face of all life’s problems.
It is true that this way of looking at how spirituality improves mental health is not very popular among medical scientists. It is, however, also true that this notion is getting much support from those people who understand the miracles of spirituality. Indeed there are just too many conflicting views about the way spirituality can make mental Today, the connection between spirituality and mental health bring hopes to a lot of patient suffering from mental disorder. Spiritual intervention is now being introduced in many mental health care facilities In this concept, spirituality does not argue with science; rather it help improves the well being of every patient with mental health disorder.
In conclusion, if you have family, friends or co-worker suffering from mental health problems, why not try spiritual intervention. Statistics show more and more patient recover faster with spirituality.