Spirituality is a broad concept with room for many perspectives. In general, it includes a sense of connection to something bigger than us and involves a search for meaning in life. It is a universal human experience and touches all of us in some way. People may describe a spiritual experience as a deep sense of aliveness and interconnections.
How can spiritual practices help you live healthier lives, increase your longevity, help your mental well-being and where do you begin?
What Does Spirituality Really Mean
No, you do not have to join a specific religion or attend a spiritual event.
Spirituality is your belief or sense of purpose and meaning. It is what gives you a sense of value or worth in your life. Contrary to what many people might think, spirituality and religion are not the same, but they are linked. You can be spiritual without belonging to a specific religion. Religious people follow a particular faith and may be connected with specific groups or traditions. It also has a positive impact to support your mental health.
What Is a Spiritual Practice
A spiritual practice can be any activity or ritual where you can cultivate a deeper connection with your inner self, others, nature, and integrate your well-being.
Below are some examples:
Community, hobby, or support groups
Meditation and mindfulness practices
The Science Behind Spirituality’s Benefits and Longevity
Spirituality in all forms plays a major role to healthier lives and increase longevity. Here is what the science says about the benefits:
Meditation and Prayer
Engaging in spiritual practices, such as prayer or meditation, helps with decreasing tension levels. The purpose of meditation is to help us realize who we really are at the core of our being.
Other benefits of meditation include:
helps with focus and concentration
promotes better decision-making skills
promotes better sleep
boosts immune health
Daily prayer has shown to improve your overall sense of well-being since it can increase your dopamine levels, a neurotransmitter that contributes to your experience of pleasure. It also allows you to have a profound impact on your physical health.
The following benefits of prayer:
provides timely direction
opens doors of opportunity
prevents wrong decisions
protects us from discouragement
eliminates worry and tension
reminds us to act now
gives us energy
gives us confidence
Social support can come in many forms. Sometimes we need someone to show us care and compassion, while other times we need someone to hype us up. At other times, we need advice or a person who can take action and literally help us with something with can not do on our own. Being socially connected and having a strong support network can help shield you from tension and protect your emotional and physical well-being.
Most people like to feel good, and positive emotions just plain feel good. They do not necessarily need a reason or cause behind them for us to enjoy them, we just do.
Experiencing emotions like happiness, excitement, joy, and inspiration is vital for anyone who wants to lead a happy and healthy and longer life.
Engaging in spiritual practices helps us experience positive emotions like gratitude, forgiveness, and compassion. While these practices do make us feel happier in the moment, they also make us feel more satisfied and empowered in our lives, because we know we have a endless resources for positivity when we need it.
Promotion of a Healthy Lifestyle
Many spiritual practices encourage a healthy lifestyle such as consuming a healthy and balanced eating pattern, engaging in regular physical activity, avoiding exposure to harmful substances, sufficient amounts of sleep, and managing tensions levels healthy behaviors.
As you spend more time considering how everything is unified, you will understand that self-care is a necessity.
Activation of Endocannabinoid System
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is primarily responsible for maintaining homeostasis, a balance in internal environment such as temperature, mood, and immune function.
Social interaction, meditation, massage, exercise, and spending time in nature activate the ECS and contribute to better health and improved longevity.
Sense of Purpose
One of the most common benefits of a spirituality practice that people report is a renewed sense of purpose and meaning in life.
Purpose does not have specific definitions or boundaries. Whether we experience a sense of purpose as a volunteer, receptionist, teacher, maintenance worker, parent, or physician does not matter: It is having a sense of purpose that matters.
Seeking purpose and meaning can open doors to cultivate well-being as we navigate the challenges and opportunities of life.
Having a purpose, whether large or small, whether we reach the objective or continue to strive for it informs our existence in important ways that may impact physical and mental health and overall well-being.
3 Ways to Flex Your Spirituality Muscle
Taking on a spirituality practice is much like trying a new exercise routine. It may be tough in the beginning but being consistent you will start to build new muscles and achieve new goals. Here are a few simple practices that invite spirituality into your daily life:
Meditation is a powerful tool to build your spirituality practice, as it is free and can practice meditation wherever you are. You can meditate when you are out for a walk, riding the bus, waiting at the doctor's office or even in the middle of a business meeting.
Meditation can wipe away the day's tension, bringing with it inner peace. See how you can easily learn to practice meditation. If you have never tried meditation before, you can simply start by sitting comfortably, breathing exercises, and observing your thoughts without judgment.
Spending even a few minutes in meditation can help restore your calm and inner peace. Some of us need extra help getting into a calm, meditative state. If that is the case for you, pairing your mindfulness practice with a CBD supplement can help you reduce tension more effectively and get more out of every session.
Gratitude is a positive emotion that involves being thankful and appreciative to what you already have. When you experience gratitude, it can be simple as observing the moment, journaling every day, savor the moment, saying mantras, and show your appreciation.
Overtime things will shift naturally and by adding more gratitude to your daily routine, you may also enhance your overall well-being.
You do not need a reminder that regular exercise is key to a long and healthy active life. Sweating it out can be a powerful spiritual practice in itself. Yoga is particularly spiritually charged, as it combines physical movement with breath work, and mindfulness. Walking, hiking, or jogging in nature is another great choice, as you will connect to both your body and the natural world simultaneously.
Derived from the Sanskrit word “yuji,” meaning union or yoke, yoga is a practice that brings together body and mind.
Benefits of yoga include:
protection from injury
improved athletic performance
increased muscle tone and strength
cardio and circulatory health
maintaining a balanced metabolism
improved energy and vitality