Spirituality Is Linked To Better Mental Health

According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Missouri, spirituality improves the health of most people, both of seemingly healthy individuals and those with conditions and illnesses. The study is published in the Journal of Religion and Health.

The team highlight that healthcare providers could tailor treatments and rehabilitation programs to accommodate an individual's spiritual inclinations.

Dan Cohen, assistant teaching professor of religious studies at MU, explained:

"In many ways, the results of our study support the idea that spirituality functions as a personality trait. With increased spirituality people reduce their sense of self and feel a greater sense of oneness and connectedness with the rest of the universe. What was interesting was that frequency of participation in religious activities or the perceived degree of congregational support was not found to be significant in the relationships between personality, spirituality, religion and health."

The team examined the results of three surveys in order to find out whether there might be any correlation between self-reported mental and physical health, personality factors, and spirituality in Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, and Protestants.

The team found that in all five faiths, spirituality was associated with better mental health, specifically lower levels of neuroticism and greater extroversion. The only spiritual trait predictive of mental health after personality variables were considered was forgiveness.

Cohen, said:

"Our prior research shows that the mental health of people recovering from different medical conditions, such as cancer, stroke, spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury, appears to be related significantly to positive spiritual beliefs and especially congregational support and spiritual interventions. Spiritual beliefs may be a coping device to help individuals deal emotionally with stress."

According to Cohen, spirituality could help an individual's mental healthy by lowering their self-centeredness and developing their sense of belonging to a larger whole.

Spirituality is encouraged in many different faith traditions, although they use a variety of names for the process. A Christian monk wouldn't say he had attained Nirvana, nor would a Buddhist monk say he had communed with Jesus Christ, but they may well be referring to similar phenomena.

Cohen explains: "Health workers may also benefit from learning how to minimize the negative side of a patient's spirituality, which may manifest itself in the tendency to view misfortune as a divine curse."

Religious-based counseling, meditation, and forgiveness protocols may improve spirituality-based beliefs, practices, and coping strategies in positive ways, according to the researchers.

Cohen believes that the selflessness that comes with spirituality improves characteristics that are vital for fostering a global society based on the virtues of peace and cooperation.

By Grace Rattue
Copyright: Medical News Today
Original article: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/249341.php

More Spiritual Health...

According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Missouri, spirituality improves the health of most people, both of seemingly healthy individuals and those with conditions and illnesses. The study is published in the Journal of Religion and Health.

The team highlight that healthcare providers could tailor treatments and rehabilitation programs to accommodate an individual's spiritual inclinations.

Dan Cohen, assistant teaching professor of religious studies at MU, explained:

"In many ways, the results of our study support the idea that spirituality functions as a personality trait. With increased spirituality people reduce their sense of self and feel a greater sense of oneness and connectedness with the rest of the universe. What was interesting was that frequency of participation in religious activities or the perceived degree of congregational support was not found to be significant in the relationships between personality, spirituality, religion and health."

The team examined the results of three surveys in order to find out whether there might be any correlation between self-reported mental and physical health, personality factors, and spirituality in Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, and Protestants.

The team found that in all five faiths, spirituality was associated with better mental health, specifically lower levels of neuroticism and greater extroversion. The only spiritual trait predictive of mental health after personality variables were considered was forgiveness.

Cohen, said:

"Our prior research shows that the mental health of people recovering from different medical conditions, such as cancer, stroke, spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury, appears to be related significantly to positive spiritual beliefs and especially congregational support and spiritual interventions. Spiritual beliefs may be a coping device to help individuals deal emotionally with stress."

According to Cohen, spirituality could help an individual's mental healthy by lowering their self-centeredness and developing their sense of belonging to a larger whole.

Spirituality is encouraged in many different faith traditions, although they use a variety of names for the process. A Christian monk wouldn't say he had attained Nirvana, nor would a Buddhist monk say he had communed with Jesus Christ, but they may well be referring to similar phenomena.

Cohen explains: "Health workers may also benefit from learning how to minimize the negative side of a patient's spirituality, which may manifest itself in the tendency to view misfortune as a divine curse."

Religious-based counseling, meditation, and forgiveness protocols may improve spirituality-based beliefs, practices, and coping strategies in positive ways, according to the researchers.

Cohen believes that the selflessness that comes with spirituality improves characteristics that are vital for fostering a global society based on the virtues of peace and cooperation.

By Grace Rattue
Copyright: Medical News Today
Original article: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/249341.php

The path to enlightenment can take many different forms. In this article, Brad Austen will prepare you for the journey and help you to find your path to enlightenment.

There are many paths to enlightenment and no particular right or wrong way to get there. Essentially it is about going within, working on your thoughts and belief structures and tapping into your subconscious mind. There becomes a time where the conscious and sub conscious minds merge; where as before the sub conscious was hidden, yet still influencing your thoughts and day-to-day living.

To me this defines what enlightenment means, to have greater awareness. One-way of accessing your sub conscious is by meditation and daily affirmations. Affirmations are stated in the now, as if it has already happened. Use words such as “I am” and “I am now”, rather than “I will be” or “Try to be”. Essentially affirmations can be used on any area of your life that you feel needs improvement. Think of your sub conscious mind as simply something running in the background on “auto pilot”. It is only when we start going within, does the unknown begin to become the known.

Meditation is essentially focusing your mind and intent on something you desire. There are no short cuts to enlightenment and it takes many years of practice and diligence. It is about becoming a master over your body, mind and spirit and feeling empowered with this knowledge.

The ego is quite happy for us to play the victim through life, as it does not know any better. In a sense our soul has to teach our ego and this is where many people feel resistance. To become enlightened does not mean to ignore our ego, hoping it will go away. It is about acknowledging our lower emotions, balancing them and keeping them in check. The only way to do this is through intent. We have all been in situations, where we have let others influence our emotions and reactions. But over time, one realizes that we also have a choice how we respond to situations.

There are only two emotions in the universe, love and fear.As a free-will human being we have the choice whether we react out of love or fear. With practice, we become more in control of our thoughts and less likely to react to situations in our life. It is okay to feel fear, as we all do at certain times of our life. The trick however is not to feed the fear with negative thoughts and anger.

Being enlightened means to have greater awareness of yourself and the life around you. You simply don’t just wake up one day enlightened. It’s a conscious choice and a gradual process of processing and releasing lower emotional states. It is work in a sense, because you have to peel away layers of pain and hurt in order to be rewarded with a higher awareness. This pain can be very old, carried from previous lifetimes or early childhood. It remains trapped in time in a sense, until we are ready to deal with it again. With the release of old wounds, we can be rewarded with new healing abilities and psychic abilities from spirit.

By: Brad Austen

Original Article: http://www.the-guided-meditation-site.com/many-paths-to-enlightenment.html

Taking the path less traveled by exploring your spirituality can lead to a clearer life purpose, better personal relationships and enhanced stress management skills.

Some stress relief tools are very tangible: exercising more, eating healthy foods and talking with friends. A less tangible — but no less useful — way to find stress relief is through spirituality.

What is spirituality?

Spirituality has many definitions, but at its core spirituality helps to give our lives context. It's not necessarily connected to a specific belief system or even religious worship. Instead, it arises from your connection with yourself and with others, the development of your personal value system, and your search for meaning in life.

For many, spirituality takes the form of religious observance, prayer, meditation or a belief in a higher power. For others, it can be found in nature, music, art or a secular community. Spirituality is different for everyone.

How can spirituality help with stress relief?

Spirituality has many benefits for stress relief and overall mental health. It can help you:

  • Feel a sense of purpose. Cultivating your spirituality may help uncover what's most meaningful in your life. By clarifying what's most important, you can focus less on the unimportant things and eliminate stress.
  • Connect to the world. The more you feel you have a purpose in the world, the less solitary you feel — even when you're alone. This can lead to a valuable inner peace during difficult times.
  • Release control. When you feel part of a greater whole, you realize that you aren't responsible for everything that happens in life. You can share the burden of tough times as well as the joys of life's blessings with those around you.
  • Expand your support network. Whether you find spirituality in a church, mosque or synagogue, in your family, or in walks with a friend through nature, this sharing of spiritual expression can help build relationships.
  • Lead a healthier life. People who consider themselves spiritual appear to be better able to cope with stress and heal from illness or addiction faster.

Discovering your spirituality

Uncovering your spirituality may take some self-discovery. Here are some questions to ask yourself to discover what experiences and values define you:

  • What are your important relationships?
  • What do you most value in your life?
  • What people give you a sense of community?
  • What inspires you and gives you hope?
  • What brings you joy?
  • What are your proudest achievements?

The answers to such questions help you identify the most important people and experiences in your life. With this information, you can focus your search for spirituality on the relationships and activities in life that have helped define you as a person and those that continue to inspire your personal growth.

Cultivating your spirituality

Spirituality also involves getting in touch with your inner self. A key component is self-reflection. Try these tips:

  • Try prayer, meditation and relaxation techniques to help focus your thoughts and find peace of mind.
  • Keep a journal to help you express your feelings and record your progress.
  • Seek out a trusted adviser or friend who can help you discover what's important to you in life. Others may have insights that you haven't yet discovered.
  • Read inspirational stories or essays to help you evaluate different philosophies of life.
  • Talk to others whose spiritual lives you admire. Ask questions to learn how they found their way to a fulfilling spiritual life.

Nurturing your relationships

Spirituality is also nurtured by your relationships with others. Realizing this, it's essential to foster relationships with the people who are important to you. This can lead to a deepened sense of your place in life and in the greater good.

  • Make relationships with friends and family a priority. Give more than you receive.
  • See the good in people and in yourself. Accept others as they are, without judgment.
  • Contribute to your community by volunteering.

Pursuing a spiritual life

Staying connected to your inner spirit and the lives of those around you can enhance your quality of life, both mentally and physically. Your personal concept of spirituality may change with your age and life experiences, but it always forms the basis of your well-being, helps you cope with stressors large and small, and affirms your purpose in life.

By Mayo Clinic staff

Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stress-relief/SR00035

Would you like to have some peace of mind in your life?

I am sure you would be happy to forget your troubles, problems and worries, and enjoy a few moments of inner calmness and freedom from obsessing thoughts.

What is peace of mind?

It is a state of inner calmness and tranquility, together with a sense of freedom.

It is a time when thoughts and worries cease, and there are no stress, strain or fears.

Such moments are not so rare.

They can be experienced, while being engaged in some kind of an absorbing or interesting activity, such as:

  • While watching an entertaining movie or TV program.
  • When being in the company of someone you love.
  • While being absorbed in reading a book.
  • While lying on the sand at the beach.
  • When you are on vacation, do you experience some sort of mental numbness? At this time, the mind becomes calmer, with fewer thoughts and fewer worries.
  • When you are deeply asleep, you are not aware of your thoughts, and therefore, you are in a state of inner peace.
  • Such activities, and similar ones, take away the mind from its usual thoughts and worries, replacing them with an experience of inner peace.

    The question is, how to bring more peace of mind into our life, and more importantly, how to experience it in times of difficulties and ordeals.

    You might also ask, whether it is possible to turn it into a habit, and enjoy it always and under all circumstances.

    First, you need to learn to bring more moments of inner peace into your daily life. Later, you will be able to experience these moments in times of trouble or difficulties too, when you really need inner calmness and tranquility.

    You can turn peace of mind into a natural habit, but to do so, some inner work is required. This work includes changing a few mental habits, improving your concentration, certain forms of meditation, and a few other means.

    You can find articles and guidance about attaining peace of mind at this website, as well as a highly recommended special book completely dedicated to this subject, with guidance, advice and exercises.

    Here are a few simple things that can help you:

  • Reduce the amount of time you read the newspapers or watch the news on TV.

  • Stay away from negative conversations and from negative people.

  • Don't hold grudges. Learn to forget and forgive. Nurturing ill feelings and grievances hurts you and causes lack of sleep.

  • Don't be jealous of others. Being jealous means that you have low self-esteem and consider yourself inferior to others. Jealousy and low self esteem, often lead to lack of inner peace.

  • Accept what cannot be changed. This saves a lot of time, energy and worries.

  • Learn to be more patient and tolerant with people and events.

  • Don't take everything too personally. A certain degree of emotional and mental detachment is desirable. Try to view your life and other people with a little detachment and less involvement. Detachment is not indifference, lack of interest or coldness. It is the ability to think and judge impartially and logically.

  • Every day, we face numerous inconveniences, irritations and situations that are beyond our control. If we can change them, that's fine, but this is not always possible. We must learn to put up with such things and accept them cheerfully.

    You will also need to:

  • Let bygones be gone. Forget the past and concentrate on the present moment. There is no need to evoke unpleasant memories and immerse yourself in them.

  • Practice some concentration exercises. This will help you to reject unpleasant thoughts and worries that steal away your peace of mind.

  • Learn to practice meditation. Even a few minutes a day will make a change in your life.

  • Inner peace ultimately leads to external peace. By creating peace in our inner world, we bring it into the external world, affecting other people too.

By: Ramez Sasson

Original Article: http://www.successconsciousness.com/peace_mind.htm