It is often at the lowest times of people’s lives when they begin to question where their faith lies. It is easy to default to the question “why me?” or “what did I do to deserve this?” I’m here to present with you some compelling information as to why it is crucial to keep your faith in something – whether it is religion or spirituality.
Wondering what the difference between the two even is?
- Religion is classically defined as a specific set of beliefs and practices with an organized group
- Spirituality may simply be defined as “an individual’s sense of peace, purpose, and connection to others, and beliefs about the meaning of life.”
Whether it’s one or the other, choose one, and don’t lose hope, because ultimately spiritual coping will improve your quality of life.
Whereas many people feel hopeless in the face of life challenges, having a strong spiritual outlook may help you find meaning in the midst of hard times.
One research study sought to investigate the use of religious / spiritual coping among people with cancer undergoing chemotherapy. A cross-sectional study was done on 101 patients undergoing intravenous chemotherapy in an oncology outpatient center. The results from this study reinforced the notion that religious / spiritual coping is an important strategy for coping with cancer.
Why? Because religious people frequently present a greater capacity for coping with adverse circumstances in life.
Another interesting find from this study:
80% of the patients expressed a desire to receive spiritual care and considered this as an important way to help cope with the disease.
But, only 16% of the patients interviewed had received any type of spiritual care. Both the lack of professional training in spiritual care and the precedence that physical care takes over any other kind are reasons that this holds true, but also something that needs to be changed.
Three ways that spirituality can and WILL improve your life:
- Belonging to a spiritual group- whether it church or meditation- can be a source of social support that provides a sense of belonging and safety
- Spiritual strength can help you overcome hardships. Dr. Steven Southwick wrote the book: “Resilience: The Science of Mastering Lives Greatest Challenges” in which he provides examples of where spiritual people find ways to “meet the challenge and continue with purposeful lives…they bounce back and carry on”.
- Spiritual people make healthier choices- adhering to a particular spiritual tradition will encourage you to treat your body with kindness and avoid unhealthy behaviors