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Spirituality and anxiety

Updated: 4 days ago





The notion of spirituality is a broad concept that encompasses our values, meaning, and purpose. Spirituality allows us to develop self-transcendence and it encompasses the connection to a greater meaningful context.


Tribal cultures and early civilisations, including Egyptian, Chinese, Indian, Greek, and Roman societies, included spirituality as part of their healing traditions. Additionally, most religions throughout history have included spirituality in their healing modalities, including practices such as incantations, prayer, and religious pilgrimages.

However, from the turn of the 20th century, spirituality and healing have become separated in healthcare. This separation has also been evident in psychology, especially in Freud’s psychoanalytic work.


Today, most health care practitioners do not actively inquire about a patient’s spiritual beliefs. I believe this may be to the detriment of healing, as health is more than just a physical, mental, or emotional state – it is the integration of the mind, body, emotion, and spirit (Stoewen, 2017).


Research has shown that there are a number of positive health indicators that are impacted by spirituality, including increased:


· Wellbeing (happiness, hope, optimism, gratefulness, coping, self-esteem)

· Meaning/purpose

· Sense of control

· Immune function

· Health behaviours

· Longevity (Sloan et al., 1999).


In terms of mental health, having a sense of spirituality is also connected to decreased levels of:


· Anxiety

· Depression

· Suicide Ideation (Sloan et al., 1999).


While having a sense of spirituality can provide comfort and may have positive impacts on many health conditions, it is also interesting to consider what our spirit or soul is trying to communicate with us when we are experiencing these conditions. In regards to anxiety, Del-Re (2020) suggests that it usually appears when our mind, body, and soul are in a state of imbalance, and it may serve as a reminder that a reconnection with the spirit is necessary. Anxiety may raise its head in order to get us to listen to our intuition and to live life as our true authentic selves.


Anxiety may be our spirit’s way of communicating to us that we need to:


- Change our inner dialogue

- Live in the present moment

- Respect and live within our core values

- Prioritise our happiness by putting ourselves first

- Let go of needing to control and surrender to the universe

- Consider the things we are grateful for, even in the hard times

- Feel the fear and make a decision anyway in order to move forward

- Practice self-care and nurture (Del-Re, 2020).


If you are experiencing anxiety, what do you think that your spirit is trying to communicate to you?




References


Del-Re, A. (2020). Is anxiety your spirit’s way of guiding you on your life journey? https://www.wellbeing.com.au/mind-spirit/mind/anxiety-spirit-life-jouney.html


Di, Stefano, V.(2006). Holism and Complementary Medicine: Origins and Principles. Allen & Unwin.


Sloan, R. P., Bagiella, E., & Powell, T. (1999). Religion, spirituality, and medicine. The Lancet, 353(9153), 664-667.


Stoewen D. L. (2017). Dimensions of wellness: Change your habits, change your life. The Canadian Veterinary Journal, La revue veterinaire canadienne, 58(8), 861–862.


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