Spirituality is about embracing life’s ups and downs with less stress reactivity, greater feelings of well-being, and a deeper connection to the universe. It’s also a way to find meaning and purpose, even if you’re not religious.
A spiritual person believes that there is more to life than the simple mechanics of our bodies and brains, and that there’s a higher form of intelligence or Consciousness running the universe. Spirituality also involves a desire for peace, mystery, and truth. This thirst for spiritual experience is what distinguishes it from religion, which typically involves faith in a specific god or gods.
In health care, researchers have explored spirituality in different ways. Some have looked at religious beliefs and practices, others have studied the impact of meditation, prayer, or yoga on physical health. But many people are confused about what spirituality really is. Many think that it’s a path away from religion or that it only means believing in one god, but spirituality is actually more about the inner journey than outer actions.
To help clear up confusion about what spirituality is, we’ve developed a framework to operationalize the concept. This will allow researchers to better understand what they are studying, and help them develop more precise measurement tools. Moreover, it will help people build a common ground of knowledge that can facilitate conversation and collaboration across disciplines. This article was produced in collaboration with The Conversation CA.