Religious/Spiritual Connection

Spirituality is a broad concept that includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves. Christina Puchalski, MD, Director of the George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health, defines spirituality as “the aspect of humanity that refers to the way individuals seek and express meaning and purpose and the way they experience their connectedness to the moment, to self, to others, to nature, and to the significant or sacred.” [1] Your spiritual life may be reflected in your association with a religious tenet, or perhaps through your connection with nature or art. Whatever your personal definition of spirituality may be, know that it positively impacts your mental and physical wellbeing!

Spirituality has been linked to the following benefits [2]:

  • Improved health
  • Less stress, even during difficult times
  • More positive feelings
  • Greater psychological well-being
  • Less depression
  • Combats loneliness

Additionally, spirituality can improve your relationships and connections with others, help you gain clarity on those things most important to you, enhance feelings of oneness, and diminish feelings of isolation. [3]

Enhancing your spiritual wellness may seem like a difficult task during this particularly disturbing time, but you can take small steps to bring comfort and joy into your hectic life. Look to the following steps if you want to improve your spiritual health:

  • Explore your mind—What do you value most? What gives you purpose? Thinking about these things in-depth will allow you to reflect on who you are and what you want to do moving forward in order to achieve fulfillment
  • Practice introspection—think what troubles you, what excites you, what brings joy to your life
  • Take time for yourself—ensure you have a few quiet minutes to yourself while you walk, drink tea or coffee, or read a book
  • Make a list of those things most important to you & keep a daily journal
  • Try yoga—the Chopra Center says this about yoga:

The intention behind yoga is to harmonize your body, mind, and spirit and is individualized according to what your needs are at the time. The physical benefits are well known, but there is more to yoga than getting a good workout. It helps you to connect with your body and emotions stored deep within. Yoga encourages non-judgement and an acceptance about where you are at in life with the knowledge that you are building a strong foundation for a more empowering life. There are many types of yoga—explore the types you’d like to try. [4]

  • Meditate—meditation helps to achieve inner peace, provides energy, and reduces stress
  • Get outside—you can find peace among the daily distractions and chaos
  • Immerse yourself in nature—add plants to your indoor space if possible, or even sit by a window
  • Find quiet moments throughout your day
  • Be open-minded & see things from others’ perspectives
  • Allow yourself to mourn—prolonged sadness can lead to depression, but it is important to not “bury” feelings; allow yourself to grieve so that you can recover and heal
  • Laugh whenever possible
  • Take time for family, friends, and various communities (even if virtual!)
  • Read inspiring material
  • Unplug from technology—this will increase your creativity and provide you with more time to engage with others and yourself
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