What Is Spirituality?

For some, spirituality is about connecting to the omnipotent power in this universe known as God. For others, it might be meditation, yoga, a long walk in nature or simply reflecting on what matters to them. It’s all about letting go of what can’t be controlled and finding peace with the things that can.

A healthy spirit is correlated with better mental health. Spirituality has been linked to lower levels of depression in people with serious illnesses like cancer and with a better quality of life in patients with chronic conditions like heart disease and HIV. In addition, it is a critical component of successful coping with trauma and other distressing events, such as grief, bereavement and death.

Spirituality is different from religion, although the two may overlap at times. Religion is a system of beliefs and practices that is generally organized and codified, such as Christianity or Islam. Spirituality, on the other hand, is less structured and is more about a person’s inner experience of something bigger than themselves, such as a sense of awe or transcendence.

A key pitfall of spirituality is using it as a way to avoid or sidestep uncomfortable feelings, emotions or conflicts. This is called spiritual bypassing and can be a problem for people who are young or emotionally fragile. Also, it’s important to be cautious about people who claim to have special knowledge or powers and who try to recruit you into their group.