What Is Spirituality?

Spirituality encompasses many different ways that people seek ultimate meaning, purpose, value and transcendence. It includes organized religion but extends beyond it to include non-religious practices such as meditation, yoga and a focus on the mind/body connection. It is about connecting with something larger than yourself and could be God, Spirit, nature or the universe. It may involve a belief in reincarnation or that there is an afterlife. It also encompasses a sense of being connected to community and others through volunteering or supporting online communities. It may also be about a sense of eudaimonia or well-being, peace with oneself and the world, gratitude and kindness.

Spiritual health is important for mental and physical well-being. Research shows that it is associated with less stress reactivity and depression, and better quality of life in patients living with chronic illness. It may also help with coping with feelings of loss and death. It is important to remember that a healthy soul can only be supported by a healthy body and mind.

Those who are spiritual often have rituals that help them feel more connected and grounded. They might meditate, use prayer, go to church, or visit sacred sites. They may take a walk in nature, help out with charity, volunteer or support online communities. They might even paint or draw. What makes it spiritual is the heart and intention behind what is being done – not the specific activity. For example, Goddess religions invest everyday activities, such as walking and cooking, with spiritual significance. And Native Americans encourage their members to look for signs of Spirit everywhere – in the woods, in animal encounters and community gatherings.