A Framework For Understanding Spirituality

Spirituality is the quest for inspiration, reverence, awe and meaning in life. It can occur through religious or non-religious traditions and it comes into focus at times of emotional stress, physical (and mental) illness, loss or death.

The definition of spirituality varies widely and researchers have found more than 70 different conceptions in literature. It is a term that is easily interpreted in different ways, and as such, it can be difficult to classify and measure. In this article, we propose a framework to better characterize spirituality in order to create a common ground and aid researchers in the design of their studies and in the comprehension of their findings.

Methods to achieve a more spiritual awareness include meditation, breathing techniques, yoga and asceticism. The spirit can also be revived through service, and the motivation to make a difference in other people’s lives.

A number of spiritual practices have been linked to psychological and physiological wellbeing, including immune system boosts and increased survival rates after heart surgery. These benefits may be the result of a more balanced lifestyle, the ability to cope with stress, or a stronger sense of connection to other human beings. Spirituality can also provide a framework for understanding one’s place in the universe and connects with emotions such as gratitude, peace, awe and empathy that help broaden and build positive experiences.