Sunday, March 27, 2016

Spirit Sunday

Happy Easter and a Happy {belated} Vernal Equinox to all!


Spring is the season in which life emerges from death - renewed, refreshed, and beautiful. For us too, the journey through life is punctuated with little deaths along the way; and if we choose to accept it and move forward through our own suffering and struggles, we too will emerge renewed, refreshed, beautiful - and transformed.


Depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses thwart this transformation, keeping the individual trapped in a perpetual cycle of suffering. If one can accept and move through her/his disorder, however, she/he too can eventually emerge renewed and transformed.

Of the many tools which can help break the cycle and catalyze transformation, is spirituality. According to Lolak, Minor, Jafari, & Puchalski (2016), spirituality is defined as the "...ways in which individuals seek and express meaning and purpose...and connectedness to the moment, to self, to others, to nature, and to the significant or sacred." 

Though spirituality is not the equivalent of religion, most true [i.e., non-wacky packy] religions nurture the spirit and provide individuals with the guidance and opportunity to live a spiritual life. There are myriad other non-religious ways to nurture the Spirit as well: nature, art, good literature, love, contemplation, meditation, etc. All people can experience spirituality.

While current scientific data on the mental health benefits is mixed, there is a growing acceptance among practitioners and patients that prayer, meditation, and spiritual contemplation are a critical component of whole-person treatment, and can be beneficial in improving health and quality of life. (Lolak, Minor, Jafari, & Puchalski, 2016)*

Okay, that said...

Starting next week, each Sunday, I'm going to share some spiritual fuel for mental health. The sole purpose is to offer you more resources for your mental health tool kit. I won't be preaching, and I have no intention of turning this blog into a platform for theological debate. I'm going to do my damnedest to not let my own beliefs skew my posts either, and I'll be posting a variety of faiths and philosophies.

This is one aspect of my own recovery that has been seriously neglected, and I look forward exploring it with you.



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REFERENCES


Andrade, C., & Radhakrishnan, R. (2009). Prayer and healing: A medical and scientific perspective on randomized controlled trials. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 51(4), 247–253. 


Lolak, S., Minor, D. K., Jafari, N., & Puchalski, C. (2016). Complementary and integrative therapies for mental health and aging (C. F. Reynolds, Ed.). Oxford University Press. 

NAMI - the National Alliance on Mental Illness - Faith and Spirituality