Guest Author - Karen Huber
Those who feel a spiritual connection usually have a higher power to trust and focus on, enhancing their ability to cope with life and their health, mental well-being. Spirituality can be an emotional or religious connection that brings comfort and relief from stress. Different studies have found that prayer and spirituality can promote better health, lower blood pressure, lower stress, Positive feelings, alleviate depression, psychological well-being, and a greater ability to handle stress. Those who are internally oriented and connect to a higher power seem to benefit from their spirituality more than those who are externally motivated, who use religion for making friends or increasing social standing.
Some people develop a spiritual connection through belief in a higher power, someone they can pray to and trust; others have rituals practices that they follow. Spirituality can be culturally influenced, but is more universal; everyone is capable of developing their own emotional connection. It can focus on how we are all humanly connected to each other. People who practice an individual spirituality may go on retreats, practice meditation, listen mood music, be involved in philanthropic activities, or practice yoga, tai chi, or karate. They may also practice being honest, peaceful, and empathetic.
There are several ways an individual can practice spirituality, including prayer, being thankful and optimistic, and being positive about life's trials. Feeling positive can mean focusing on your goals instead of your frustrations. A positive person often attracts more positive opportunities and people, making it easier to reach his goals. A positive person is more likely to give more of his energy to others, making it more likely that others will want to be around him and give back. This positive energy state is often called the Law of Attraction, which can be a spiritual life goal for many.
Spirituality can imply a higher realm of human experience as people strive to instill meaning, purpose, and belonging in their lives. Spirituality can be important in tough life events and physical and mental illness. Spirituality can inspire us to keep on our goals and take us above the petty and mundane. It can be an individual code or a faith that we live by or that keeps us going from day to day. It can help us cope with the past, present, and future and set the standard for us to be extraordinary people.
There are a few associations that deal with spiritual growth like the Spiritual Emergence Network, The Association for Transpersonal Psychology, and the Mental Health and Spirituality Initiative, which is part of the California Institute for Mental Health. They promote spirituality as part of mental health therapy and networking. There are also spirituality meet-ups and Yahoo groups for anyone wanting to network with other like-minded individuals. Several books deal with spirituality and mental health; check some out from your local library, Amazon, Half.com, or eBay. Whichever form of spirituality you choose, religion, meditation, yoga, or helping others, it is sure to make you feel more positive and help you turn your life into a meaningful experience.