Spirituality means to us, one or more of the following, and ideally, more than one of them:
– Feelings of love – for oneself, for others, and for nature
– Joy of living
– Inner peace, purpose and connection to others, and to the environment
– Faith in a higher being or force, or in a sensed inner force
– Belief in Others, and connection to ones beliefs about the meaning of life
– Meditation and religion
We feature two articles on spirituality in our Spiritual Health Channel. One focuses on the links between spirituality, heritage, and patient care, and both address the relationship between physical, mental and spiritual health, especially for minorities.
Spirituality and religion are both very personal. Although the terms spirituality and religion are often used as if they meant the same thing, for many people they mean different things: Spirituality may be found and expressed through an organized religion or in other ways. By comparison, religion may be defined as a specific set of beliefs and practices, usually within an organized group. Individuals may consider themselves spiritual or religious or both. Our Spiritual Health Channel also provides thoughtful and inspirational Quote by the well known and the unknown, poems, and verses from the Bible that provide peace, purpose and a connection to God, and others.
Doctors and caregivers should respect the spiritual and religious beliefs and concerns of their patients, and be sensitive to the fact that their patients may need their support of their spirituality and/or religious beliefs to help them cope with illness. Many health care institutions have a chaplain, or a meditation room, or both, to support the spiritual or religious needs of their patients, family members, and others.
While some patients may want to discuss their spirituality during care for a serious illness, others may not want to discuss their spiritual or religious views. Either way, the health care team should respect their wishes. Also, doctors and caregivers should not take part in patients’ religious practices nor discuss their specific religious beliefs.