Spirituality is a broad concept that encompasses beliefs in something bigger than oneself. It can involve religious traditions or a non-religious worldview centered on belief in the interconnectedness of humanity and nature with a greater power, energy or consciousness (e.g., God, universe).
It is often misunderstood and confused with religiosity and can be interpreted very differently by different people. For example, some might believe that being spiritual is all about following their religion while others might think that being spiritual can be anything from practicing a mindfulness practice to reading a book or even kicking the ball around in the park. Regardless of what you call it, the key to spirituality is in finding a way of connecting to something larger than yourself that gives you meaning, peace, comfort and hope.
Unlike other constructs, such as religiosity, there is no consensus about what the term “spirituality” should mean, making it difficult to develop instruments that measure the concept objectively. In addition, the breadth of the definition and lack of clarity make it hard to distinguish spirituality from religion – further complicating the ability to study the phenomenon systematically and to communicate findings.
To reduce the confusion and to facilitate understanding, we have developed a framework proposal for spirituality that organizes its dimensions into the cognitive or philosophic realm, the experiential and emotional realm, and the behavioral realm. The framework is intended to aid researchers in characterizing the domains of spirituality, so that they can develop more rigorous studies and better understand their results.