Some stress reducing tools are very tangible: exercising more, eating healthy foods and talking with friends. A less tangible — but no less useful — way to find stress relief is through spirituality. Spirituality has many benefits for stress relief and overall mental health. A spiritual approach to living does not make you immune to stress. However, choosing to practice spiritual awareness can shorten the time in which you experience seeming moments of pressure or tension. Stress management and spirituality complement each other by helping to balance a person in mind, body, and spirit.
Spirituality has many definitions, but at its core spirituality helps to give your life context. It’s not necessarily connected to a specific belief system or even religious worship. Instead, it arises from your connection with yourself and with others, the development of your personal value system, and your search for meaning in life.
Some stress in our lives may come from a feeling of “I have to do or handle everything by myself.” One of the many benefits of spirituality for stress relief is the release of control. When one feels part of a greater whole, he or she may realize that you aren’t responsible for everything that happens in life. You can share the burden of tough times as well as the joys of life’s blessings with those around you.
Spirituality links physical, mental and spiritual health issues. By spiritual health, we mean:
– Feelings of love – for self, for others, and for nature
– Joy of living
– Inner peace
– Faith in a higher being or force, or in a perceived inner force
– Meditation and religion
– Belief in others
Threads between Spirituality, Mental Health and Physical Health
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly”. Your mind and body connect so that when you feel stress your body experiences it too. Your connections and social networks can be great sources of stress reduction.
Cultivating one’s spirituality may help uncover what’s most meaningful in their life. By clarifying what’s most important, one can focus less on the unimportant things and eliminate stress. The more one feels he or she has a purpose in the world, the less solitary one feels — . .. even when alone, one can lead to a valuable inner peace during difficult times.
Spirituality can be thought of as the search for the sacred or that which is set apart from the ordinary. It can take the form of different religions or practices, but usually involves the exploration of personal existence and the meaning of life. The practice of spirituality involves outside of the self. Maintaining belief in something outside of the self can create meaning, peace, and a sense of purpose, all of which can sustain a person through stressful events in life.
Remember the Health Power motto: Knowledge + Action = Power!