Spirituality refers to our relationship with all things in the universe. For some people, this primarily means God, or gods, and for others, this means their connection with the stars, planets, animals and even nature. Regardless of personal belief systems, being aware of understanding your spiritual relationship with someone or something bigger than yourself is an important part of healthy living. It is the ability to have an open heart and care for self and others in greater ways. It’s important to note, spirituality is not the same as religion. A religion is a set of doctrines and practices that codify one’s belief system, while a spiritual relationship is personal and based on one’s own beliefs, understanding of the world and universe around them, and their own values.
Signs of Optimal Health & Wellness
Indicators of thriving include:
A sense of belonging to something bigger than oneself
Ability to find connections more easily with others
A sense or desire of living in harmony with other living beings
A sense of peace or acceptable understanding of the role of death
Ease in finding purpose and meaning in life
Generally positive outlook in life
A sense of compassion, responsibility to self and others, unconditional love
Indicators of warning include:
Little or no regard for the lives of others, including animals and plants
Challenges in connecting with others
Difficulty finding harmony with other people; Continuous challenges in a variety of relationships
A strong sense of moral superiority over others
Inability to accept death as part of life
Difficulty in finding purpose or meaning in life
Continuous negative or pessimistic sense of self or others
A tendency towards harsh judgement, punishment, or lack of compassion
Feeling of being lost
Finding and building a spiritual relationship is a very personal journey for each individual. Learning about and exploring various religious beliefs, spiritual practices, and understanding scientific advances in knowledge about the universe can all be helpful in guiding one’s own beliefs and values. When warning signs are present, it may be important to evaluate or reevaluate your spiritual relationship. Ask yourself: Does this feel right? Am I socially responsible? Am I optimistic? Do I feel a connection to myself and others? Do I feel like I belong? If the answer is no, there are several self-care techniques that can help guide you.
Intervention may be necessary when feelings of despair or loss are continuous, or when spiritual beliefs include harm or violence against others.