Spiritual people are different.
We are happier. We are healthier. We have better perspectives. We are more enlightened.
The science is clear and irrefutable.
You simply cannot underestimate the importance of spirituality.
From neuroscience to positive psychology, scientists have proven time and again that a spiritual perspective on life leads to a higher quality of life, a healthier life, and a happy one.
To understand the importance of spirituality, it’s first necessary to understand precisely what spirituality is.
The true definition of spirituality is surprising to most people.
Take a look at that link (above). You will be surprised what spirituality actually means.
These days, the word “spiritual” is too easily confused with the word “religion.” In many ways, religion has adversely affected the approachability of spirituality.
The reality of the fact is that religion and spirituality are completely different things. Religion is communal and implies adherence to an external structure of morality and belief. Spirituality is personal. Spirituality can take any form. It is freedom of belief. Spirituality implies nothing more than believing in something and living by and for some set of principles.
Where a religion will come gift-wrapped with exegeses and classic texts, spirituality is an open invitation to use your own mind to discover your own interpretation of this thing called life.
You can read about the difference between spirituality and religion on Spirituality & Health.
When we say “Spiritual” we mean, “that which affects the deeper aspects of human beings.”
So why would a deeper understanding of humanity be important? What is the importance of spirituality?
The Importance of spirituality for your health
Spirituality keeps you strong in negative times.
Because of that, spirituality is very good for stress.
When we go through rough patches in our lives, spirituality can help us to see the bigger picture. We are then less likely to dwell on the bad, because we are able to see the bad as part of the grand canvas of life. If life were a painting, the dark times would be the shadows. Without those shadows, without the bad times, we cannot perceive the true shape and form of existence. You can discover more about the stress relief offered by spirituality here.
Essentially, spirituality makes you see things in a better perspective, so when you go through a bad time you’re able to look at it in the right light.
Spirituality is Healthy:
Read this amazing scientific research by Harold G Koenig.
That research shows that spirituality has a direct positive influence on physical health.
This is largely due to the fact that spiritual people are more likely to pursue positive, healthy lifestyles. When we live a spiritual life we tend to hold greater respect for ourselves and our bodies. This in turn leads us to treat our bodies more healthily. Many spiritualities are also vocally opposed to narcotics, and often to meat consumption. These changes in lifestyle, over many years, lead to longer, healthier lives.
Of course that’s not to say that all spiritual beliefs are healthy. The spiritual idea that your thoughts control reality, for instance, is a questionable one. But established, respectable spiritual beliefs have been proven to improve your health.
Fear of Death:
One of the most common fears is the fear of dying.
It’s easy to see how non-spiritualists view death so bleakly, seeing it as the absolute end. Spiritualists, however, tend to believe that death is not the end, but a new beginning. This greatly eases the psychological burden of the idea of dying. A more positive outlook on death helps us face illness and health complications more rationally. Bereavement is also more tolerable as spiritualists tend to believe the one they have lost has ascended to a better place.
Meaning and Purpose:
One of the first things people think about when analysing the importance of spirituality is the fact that spirituality gives you meaning and purpose. A sense of meaning and purpose promotes more full lives. Waking up everyday with a sense of purpose immediately promotes positive living. We wake up early, eager to work towards our goals. We look after ourselves because we value our lives more highly. We are more active, working towards our purpose. And through purpose we discover a great reason for living.
Spirituality helps us see the beauty in life:
Appreciation of beauty is one of the twenty four character strengths of positive psychology (and so is spirituality).
It’s been proven that people who can appreciate beauty are more likely to be happy and healthy. Spirituality helps us to see that beauty. A spiritualist is able to see the divine in everyday occurrences. They see beauty all around them. And that beauty makes them happy and healthier than non-spiritualists.
If you want to start seeing the beauty in life, why not make use of these 25 mindful habits. They’re a great place to start.
Spirituality helps with forgiveness:
Spirituality helps us to forgive.
When we’re unable to forgive people we hold on to bitterness and resentment. These negative mental states erode our mental health. Conversely, the spiritualist understand the importance of forgiveness. They are able to acknowledge and accept the shortcomings of other people. This leads to less anger and less stress.
Spirituality helps prevent depression:
Because spiritualists have a healthier sense of perspective, they are able to accept the low times in their lives. This lessens the affect that negativity has on their wellbeing. To the spirituality, a bad day is just a step towards the next good day. It’s easy to see how such a perspective limits the influence of depressive thoughts and feelings. So another factor in the importance of spirituality is that is helps prevent negative emotions. Also, because spiritualists have a better perspective, they are able to use negative emotions more effectively when they need to.
Spirituality has anti-aging properties: Spiritualists age slower. This is largely because of the lack of stress in their lives. Stress accelerates the aging process. Spiritual techniques like meditation, prayer, yoga, tai chi, and more, limit the affects of stress and thereby slow the aging process.
This is definitely one of the most amazing ways in which spirituality is important. You might not think about the importance of spirituality to your age, but it is a factor, and an amazing one at that.
Spirituality helps you make sense of it all. The wisdom found in different spiritualities can help you to understand life in a healthier way. Try these Buddhist wisdoms, just as examples. Do you see how they help you to have a healthier perspective?
How To Become Spiritual
It is not always easy to be spiritual. There are times when you will question your spirituality. My own spirituality is love and compassion. And there are times when my loving, non-judgmental attitude is tested.
But by doing the following things you can continually bolster your spiritualism.
- Read about different religions and beliefs and how they have helped other people. Don’t worry, you don’t have to agree with those beliefs; just by reading or listening you’ll start your mind down the road of questions and answers that spirituality bathes in.
- ART: There is sooooo much art about all different religions and spiritual beliefs; simply pick an art form you’d like to know more about and look for examples of spiritual works in that art form.
- Meditate: Simply close your eyes and focus on your breath to relax your mind. Doing this for twenty minutes twice a day will silence your thoughts and stresses about work, personal life and other day-to-day subjects. This will give you the mental space needed to consider thoughts of spirituality. Who knows, you might have deeply layered spiritual beliefs that have been defining you but which you’ve never found the time or open-mindedness to realise.
- Imagine you’re dead. . . no really! This sounds morbid but by imagining that this is the last day of your life, or even that you are already dead you’ll look at the present moment in a whole new context, one that could give you an entirely new and more spiritual way of looking at the world.
- Take a look at this list of the Best Spiritual Gurus. Do any of them inspire you? Read about them. For me, I love the Dalai Lama and I try to follow the Dalai Lama’s life lessons. But that’s just me. You are free to follow whomever you choose. Or perhaps you prefer these 10 Inspirational Spiritual Movie Characters. See who resonates with you and learn about them.
These are just some of potentially thousands of ways how to become spiritual. The best thing to do is to just look for spirituality. We answered the question what is spirituality above, but that was only part of the answer, for in truth spirituality can be anything you want it to be, and when you are discovering how to become spiritual, it’s important to develop your own personal understanding of what is spirituality.
Look for some meaning to it all. Look for areas and times of your life where you’ve felt like some external force was helping you out and guiding you. Look to nature, look to love, look to art, look to beauty, look to everything in the world that is so miraculous that there simply must be some explanation for it. It’s amazing what open eyes see.
Conclusion: Spirituality is one of the most important aspects of mentality and lifestyle. It’s time we all recognised the importance of spirituality in our lives.
Spiritual individuals are happier and healthier. They also live longer lives on average. Open your mind to spirituality and you’ll reap many rewards.
I hope you enjoyed reading this.
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