Spirituality and health are linked together. Those with more optimistic world views are more secure and calm. Due to this, those who experience sickness sometimes have a better chance of recovery. However, spirituality can also be a world view or a sacred philosophy. This type of moral anchor can help any individual.
Does this correlate completely with health? Some spiritual people become very sick. Some even die. Spirituality or a philosophical code of life does not bar one from illness or death but it does percentage wise help with overall outlooks which correspond with better recoveries, less stress, and a healthier outlook on life.
Please also review AIHCP’s Spiritual Counseling program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Spiritual Counseling.
Health is multi faceted. It is not just a physical thing, but also a mental, emotional and as well spiritual. Spirituality can be applied to multiple aspects of health. Overall purpose, optimism and faith can all play key roles in healing and staying healthy. Spirituality is not a narrow definition though and can be applied to a wealth of values and beliefs and world views. How those world views and beliefs are applied in daily life and struggle have critical aspects in overall health. Please also review AIHCP’s Spiritual Counseling Certification
The article, “Spirituality is a concept that means different things to different people. How would you describe spirituality, and how can it help an individual to become more in tune with their body?” by Dr Tracy Balboni takes a closer look at how spirituality plays a role in health and also in care of patients. She states,
“In healthy populations, communal forms of spirituality – as exemplified by regular religious service attendance – are associated with many improved health outcomes, including greater longevity, better mental health, less suicide, and reduced substance use. Among adolescents, being involved in spiritual communities is associated with better health outcomes, including less substance use and less risky health behaviors. ”
Near Death Experience or NDE are mysterious and empirically unexplainable experiences individuals near death can experience. It is still a mystery as to if NDE is a proof for a metaphysical afterlife or a lack of current understanding of the brain and its unknown processes when responding to possible death. For now, they are accepted as something that is unexplainable and not to be connected with psychosis or any type of mental pathology but a legitimate experience some individuals face when dealing with death.
Near Death Experience or NDE has certain qualities associated with it that differentiate it from other mental states such as dreams or hallucinations. It NDE, there is an out of body experience that occurs, or a autoscopic episode. This episode is when one is unconscious and the trajectory if not corrected will lead to physical death. During this unconscious state, one can experience lucid visions outside one body. To qualify as an NDE, a 16 question survey must score at least a 7 in value.
Among the many questions include the level of consciousness one felt during the episode. Was the experience equal or greater than normal conscious behavior. This is a key element in differentiating from a dream state or a hallucination. During these states, individuals under anesthesia are able to comprehend things around their unconscious body that the brain should not be able to sense. This type of mental ability questions whether the soul is experiencing a metaphysical experience or if there is some unknown power of the brain yet known to science. Many who experience NDE are able to relate things regarding those around them while they were unconscious that the brain should not be able to observe or sense. In fact, the senses are even more acute and sharp during NDE. Blind individuals are able to see things in some studies, as well as individuals who can see but see more so in deeper colors and understanding than any mere human eyes. In other cases, NDE patients also understood the thoughts of others around them.
Science looks to explain some of these feelings and sensations when the body is in crisis. Russel Noyes, a famous psychiatrist, who researched NDE, pointed out that the body when in crisis experiences various adaptations. There is a sharp mystical awakening to more vivid images, as well as a depersonalization with emotion and a detachment. Also, there is a hyper-alertness with sharper vision and hearing that helps the person survive. Could these abilities be amplified near death?
Most who experience NDE, which is around 1/3rd who have close clashes with death, firmly believe it was a real experience. They return in many cases more peaceful and guided. They look to implement life changes and have less death anxiety itself. The experiences are also multi-cultural and do not differ between Western and Eastern religious codes. Even children with little predisposed religious ideals, experience the same and often beyond their natural understanding. Individuals who are not religious also share similar experiences.
During these religious experiences, many experience a calm and bright light, and in some cases see lost loved ones but others can experience nothingness or more frightful visions. Some see torture and hellish images. They experience upon their return a call for conversion or a scared traumatic response. Others try to explain it away.
Grief Counselors, or more so licensed professional counselors are needed to help individuals discuss and resolve their NDE experience. It is important that the counselor understand that it is not a pathology but to be on the look out for pathological reactions to the experience. Counselors also must be open to the individuals interpretation. Since there is no rational explanation, it may very well be metaphysical or also tied to unexplainable brain functioning that is firing off an array of visions that science cannot understand. It is critical to listen and accept the story of the individual with an NDR and how it relates to that particular individual.
Gaining the trust is key. Individuals, may think they are crazy, or noone will believe their story. It is important to reassure the patient that this is phenomenon is a real experience although unexplainable by science and that their visions are not crazy or pathological. It is essential to help the individual integrate the experience into their life story. Unless pathological reactions occur when extreme anxiety or dangerous new behaviors arise, the person should be encouraged to share and incorporate the experience into their life in a healthy way. There is no treatment since it is not a pathology itself and there is no true medication because the incident is beyond comprehension.
Those of belief may accept the experience as a religious experience. This is not pathological but acceptable. The reality is it may very well be a metaphysical experience beyond the scope of science and to marginalize it and categorize it against the will of the patient is counter productive. It is best to co-exist with the experience from wherever it came and allow it produce the healthy changes one needs in one life. Ultimately, there may be an explanation or it may be metaphysical, or it may be a mixture of both, but since they are universal and non pathological, it would be prudent to merely care more about how one reacts to the experience in counseling than to define it for the patient. How the patient defines it is the patient’s choice.
Death and dying is a mystery. It is the final chapter of observable existence. NDE is merely another element of it and how we see death beyond the grave and the many spiritual questions that burn within our mind and how our body reacts to death itself.
Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Grief Counseling.
Spirituality and a healthy life style coincide. Many who do not have a faith or religion may seem skeptical but the reality is when one places merit in a higher system beyond oneself, then one can find a variety of physical, emotional and spiritual benefits. Those who belong to a religion, or aspire to a certain individual spiritual path all can find the same benefits for overall health. Even those who follow no creed or spirituality can find value if they place themselves under a code or meaning of life itself. However, in this blog, we will only deal with spirituality itself.
In defining spirituality, this blog defines it as a personal and individual journey of any type of faith or metaphysical belief. Those who are also religious and follow a code also have their own unique spirituality but are also religious in nature. Religious individuals may not be very spiritual but socially active in their church or community or they may be very spiritually privately and also very religious and faithful to an established dogmatic code. All of these religious and spiritual journeys while unique all aid in a better out look in life itself and can help with physical, mental and emotional help. Some individuals may be only spiritual or religious, while others may possess both, but ultimately, the tying to a higher belief system beyond oneself has multiple benefits.
Frankl, a holocaust survivor remarked that suffering without meaning is unbearable, but once meaning is given, suffering can transcend. In such a fallen world, meaning is given to suffering when one is spiritual or connects to a code higher than oneself. Erick Erickson also emphasized the importance of spiritual development as a step in life as well its importance with dying. Those dying who attribute to a higher end than themselves can find more meaning in their suffering, as well as can activate within the body, the ability to heal itself in some cases. Recovery itself has a greater ability to occur. This is not to dismiss true miracles, but there is a true mental connection between mind and body for those with positive mindsets and their ultimate recovery.
Spirituality and overall health are deeply connected not only when sick but throughout life itself. The connection to a higher code or higher being or deeper connection can be very beneficial for people on many fronts.
On the outset, a higher meaning in something, leads to a better out look on life. Behind life is meaning and that meaning can guide one spiritually in understanding reality. Greater happiness and peace can come to individuals who have a paradigm structure of existence. Although those paradigms can be challenged when disaster strikes and cause world view challenges, many fall back on their faith, beliefs, or spirituality and find solace. Hence, spirituality is able to help individuals be more happy with life itself due to an overall direction and understanding of it, as well as a system to deal with stressors and problems.
For many, this spirituality enhances social connections and helps one improve existing relationships. Spirituality helps one see the needs of others and enhances compassion and gratitude in life. It helps prevent selfishness and self absorption and focuses on creating an overall balance in life. This naturally leads to a multitude of life long benefits.
The immune system is strengthened when one exists in a positive mindset. While multiple factors play into health, one aspect is spirituality. The body is better able to function when in higher spirits and able to recover and heal. Meditation and mindfulness are all spiritual practices that can ease the body and allow the immune system to function without additional strain and also release the necessary hormones for self healing.
Spirituality can also help prevent possible depression. With deeper connections in life, one is more attune with self and balanced. Hence spirituality can help prevent or minimize depression. It can also help one who is experiencing depression. Again many factors come into play, but the positive nature of spiritual life can be critical to mental health.
Obviously spiritual people or individuals at least connected to a higher code than themselves have a unique way to view the world and understand it. The importance is not so much whether the world view is correct or incorrect but that the person believes it. This belief has potential to unlock various healing abilities in the body as well as help the person face everyday problems. Everyone experiences stress but how one deals and copes with stress is key. Spiritual individuals have a better success rate of dealing with stress due to world view and belief. This in turn leads to a calmer life that does not activate the body’s stress response. With the body not in fight or flight mode or experiencing chronic stress, there are better healthy outcomes in regards to sleep, heart health, and blood pressure. Stress kills but spirituality can limit the dangerous effects of unneeded stress.
While there are numerous factors to health itself, one cannot dismiss the importance of spirituality and merely toss it to the side. Life meaning is key to direction in life and maintaining an overall balance in life itself. Connection to something more than oneself and its benefits are no secret. For the most part, a healthy spiritual life or connection to something bigger than oneself is essential for a better world view and healthier physical, mental and emotional life.
Please also review AIHCP’s Spiritual Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Spiritual Counseling.
AIHCP also offers a Christian Counseling Certification.
Individuals can be spiritually depressed. They can hope and become unhappy with their faith. They can also feel desolations in their prayer life where they feel abandoned. How one bounces back in their spiritual life during this episodes is key. Spiritual Counselors and mentors can help individuals rediscover the presence of God in their life.
The article, “Understanding Spiritual Depression” from Healthline looks closer at spiritual depressions. The article states,
“If you’re experiencing spiritual depression, your religious leader might encourage a similar remedy: prayer or seeking Christ. Yet, many of the symptoms associated with spiritual depression can also suggest a depressive disorder, which may not improve without support from a mental health professional.”
Spiritual depression can be deeper rooted and may require professional mental help, but in many cases, one requires spiritual guidance through the spiritual desert of the world. Please also review AIHCP’s Spiritual Counseling Program as well as AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Program. Both programs are online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification
Prayer while spiritual in nature encompasses the entirety of the human person. Body, mind and soul is engaged with a higher being. It is only reasonable then that empirical and definable psychological benefits can be observed from those who pray versus those who do not pray. Prayer has many mental benefits that go beyond a mere spiritual reality. Prayer strengthens the mind because it places faith in a higher being. It allows one to be less stressed, less worried, and feel that there is order in the chaos. The re-assurance of prayer, the confidence it instills, and the peace it can give to stress, are all huge benefits to the spiritual community.
The article, “The psychological benefits of prayer: What science says about the mind-soul connection” by Kristen Rogers looks at what science observes regarding the emotional and mental states of spiritual people. The article states,
“Science is about testing observable relationships, processes and mechanisms,” Masters said. “But almost by definition, prayer, as operationalized in these studies, invokes involvement of God or a higher being, something outside the boundaries of natural phenomenon, which science cannot really study. Science can, however, study the outcomes of the belief in God rather than the existence — such a study might ask whether people who believe strongly in God report a better quality of life than people who do not believe in God.”
Intuition is beyond the five senses but is a spiritual sense. It is beyond the measure of science but is something that comes from the soul and mind. It helps a person better access and judge a situation through a particular feeling of the energy surrounding it. Intuitive people are not fortune tellers but true individuals with a spiritual gift that allows them to sense emotions and things of the spiritual with more accuracy than others.
The article, “What Is Intuition? How Being Intuitive Can Help You Connect To Your Spiritual Side” by Rena Wells looks at this spiritual phenomenon. She states,
“When you are ready to dive deeper into your intuitive side, your sensitivity becomes your greatest gift. This is because you feel first and then rationalize it. You sort through different feelings about a situation. You feel through situations first before laying out the plan. Believe it or not, this is a profound gift! It’s a gift that is desperately needed on our planet.”
For those who accept an afterlife, there is definitely a spirituality with dying. A spirituality that acknowledges there is more than the material and the necessity of preparing oneself for something greater.
The article, “The spirituality of dying” by Rebecca Abbott also looks at the spirituality and grace of dying in peace. She states,
“According to Hampton, spirituality does not simply refer to religion or faith, but encompasses the “meaning, purpose and connectedness in people’s lives – connectedness with themselves, others, creativity, nature and some sense of something beyond themselves, something bigger.”
A sense of peace is important for any home. Spirituality in the home is also key to a peaceful place. Finding and creating a spiritual place can be as simple as reconnecting with nature with various plants, or peaceful lighting, but can also involve a sanctum. You can create a room dedicated to God with icons, statues, or other religious artifacts according to your faith. You can also just keep it simple with a place to prayer with various religious books, including the Bible.
The article, “Influencers And Entrepreneurs Share How To Establish A Spiritual Space In Your Home” by Amanda Lauren lists way business individuals utilize spirituality in their life and find a spot in their home for spiritual thought. The article states,
Connecting to your highest self feels good, it also has other benefits. Meditation and mindfulness for example can boost your business.Those who have integrated spirituality into their daily routines often practice at homes in spaces they have established for this purpose. Design ultimately takes on a greater meaning beyond aesthetics in these rooms.
When dealing with end of life, the utilization of spirituality is important in helping the patient. A sterile environment without spiritual emphasis ignores an important element of a person. This is why many in Pastoral Thanatology and Spiritual Counseling are seeing the importance of utilizing spirituality in end of life care.
The article, “Experts promote palliative care with spirituality as a boost to clinical medicine” by Shanley Pierce discusses this combination of care. The article states,
“On Monday, Sept. 17, approximately 175 guests attended the public conference that featured palliative care and spiritual experts from Italy and across the United States who discussed the importance of palliative care and spirituality in clinical practice. They also talked about the benefits of palliative care to patients and health care system as well as best practices to help patients preserve dignity at the end of life.”