What Is Spirituality?

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Spirituality is a wide range of beliefs and practices related to one’s inner spirit, soul or higher power. In general, a person’s spirituality can be characterized as a focus on interconnectedness, meaning in life and environmental consciousness. A spiritual perspective may include religious beliefs, but it can also be practiced without a formal religion. While definitions of spirituality are broad and varied, research has shown that being involved in spiritual traditions can help people develop a more hopeful outlook and to find social support.

Researchers use many different measures to assess a person’s spirituality. Among these, some measure the importance of one’s religious faith, others ask about a person’s belief in a higher power or other metaphysical concepts. A number of these measures include questions asking if the respondent believes in god(s), which can penalize people who do not believe in god(s). This type of item is one reason why it’s important to be clear about the definition of spirituality that you’re using.

Whether you are rediscovering your spiritual side, reinforcing a well-established path or looking for a spirituality for beginners guide, it is important to choose an approach that feels authentic and meaningful to you. Then, nurture that part of you to keep your body and mind healthy. In fact, a recent study found that people who were intrinsically oriented to religion exhibited less physiological reactivity to stress than those who were extrinsically oriented.1