Modern medicine has typically been viewed as separate from religious or spiritual matters. But in recent decades, there’s been a renewed recognition that these topics are important to many people. It can also be important to health. In one example, growing evidence suggests that religion and spirituality can have a measurable impact on the health and quality of life of people diagnosed with cancer.
A person’s spirituality can change and evolve throughout life’s journey. Even if spirituality is an aspect of yourself that you haven’t explored in the past, it’s never too late to do so. Here are some tips on how to get started:
- Reflect — Spirituality is closely linked to self-discovery. When you have quiet time, think about yourself and the path your life has taken. What are the things that have truly mattered? What’s important to you? Many people use prayer, meditation or journaling to help them reflect on their inner lives.
- Allow for struggle — Give yourself permission to wrestle with questions about meaning and existence or to leave them unanswered for a while. Often, that’s how you grow and move toward spiritual wholeness.
- Find beauty — Beauty has a long history of association with transcendence. Natural beauty in particular can inspire awe and reverence. A work of art may effectively capture what words fail to express. Beauty can be found in simple things too, such as a piece of fruit or in the way light shines through a window. When you see something beautiful, let yourself experience it with all of your senses.
- Connect — Sometimes, the most beautiful things in life are your relationships. To love and be loved, to belong and to cherish — these are certainly some of the most transcendent expressions of spirituality. Reach out to those who are important to you. Find ways to enjoy each other’s lives. Commit to comforting and supporting each other, even in the midst of struggle.
- Seek help — Many hospitals have chaplains and counselors who can help you address the psychological, emotional and spiritual aspects of dealing with cancer.
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