Influence of Spirituality on Health and Well-being



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The Influence of Spirituality on Health and Well-being



What is religion?

Religion refers to the outward practice of a system of attitudes, beliefs, and rituals about a higher power.  It usually involves group observance3, but many individuals internalize beliefs and behaviors associated with an organized religion1.    


What is spirituality?

Spirituality is more about an inner experience, which may or may not be expressed through religion1.  Spirituality is often described as having a sense of connection with a power outside of ourselves.  This power may be God, the universe, or something less specific3.  It helps us to make sense of daily life and find meaning or purpose in the things we do8.



Words that describe spirituality1:


  • Connectedness
  • Deep inner silence
  • Insight
  • Compassion
  • Transformation, or change
  • Wonder 
  • Inner peace or harmony





Any activity can feel spiritual.  Here are some examples8:


  • Watching a sunset
  • Hearing beautiful music
  • Visiting a sacred place
  • Going for a walk

Questions you can ask yourself about your spirituality:






1.     Atchley, R.C. (1997).  Everyday mysticism: spiritual development in later adulthood.  Journal of Adult Development, 4(2), 123-134.

3.     Kirby, S.E., Coleman, P.G., & Daley, D. (2004).  Spirituality and well-being in frail and nonfrail older adults.  Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 59B(3), P123-P-129.

8.     Wilson, L. (2010).  Spirituality, occupation and occupational therapy revisited: ongoing consideration of the issues for occupational therapists.  British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 73(9), 437-440, doi: 10.4276/030802210X12839367526219.