Thursday, September 26, 2013

Connecting Spirituality, Health and Happiness

Hi everyone! Today, I thought I'd share three simple but important mechanisms connecting spirituality and happiness. 

Health Behaviours

Many forms of spirituality include specific prohibitions against behaviors that place our health at risk. Examples include the use of tobacco, use if alcohol (outright or "in excess"), use of illegal drugs, risky sexual behaviours ‎and violence. Many spiritual traditions also encourage promoting health/happiness by viewing the body as having spiritual as well as material significance. 

Social support

Another mechanism by which ‎spirituality affects health/ happiness is through social support. Public spiritual participation specifically has been demonstrated to protect health/ happiness and facilitate recovery from illness.

Coherence hypothesis

Another important mechanism connecting spirituality and happiness is the coherence hypothesis, which posits that spirituality benefits our health by providing us with a fundamental sense of coherence and meaning. This, in turn, helps people understand their role in the universe, the purpose of life, and can provide them with the courage to endure suffering. One of the central components of this concept is that people improve their health and well being if they can find meaning in suffering by inculcating significant spiritual practice. 

I will be revisiting these themes and many more over the weeks and months ahead. I invite you join me on this journey with questions and comments as we go!

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