Science is a vital part of our world, but it can’t fix everything. When atrocities and tragedies happen we don’t usually look at science for comfort, rather we rely on each other or a higher power for guidance and support. Psychologists have labeled the tendency to look beyond oneself as Spiritual Fitness, wherein people are more likely to seek outside help or subscribe to a higher power. At Long Island Psychology, we want to help you explore how Spiritual Fitness relates to you, and how it can guide you through challenges.
Spirituality is defined as the connection to something greater than ourselves; the feeling that what you are doing and working towards serves a higher purpose beyond you as an individual. While spirituality is often thought to only apply to religion, it actually applies to many circumstances. Even atheists can have high levels of Spiritual Fitness. Spiritual moments can either be a moment of transcendence in which you feel a connection to a greater being, or it can be the idea that you are contributing to something important that positively serves the world.
People with higher levels of Spiritual Fitness are more likely to:
- Be connected to a community of people
- Seek help from others during a time of crisis
- Push through setbacks and cope with stress
- Approach relationships with a supportive attitude
- Participate in altruistic and volunteer-oriented activities
In essence, Spiritual Fitness allows a person to see beyond themselves. This affects their personal perceptions and relationships with others. People who feel a greater sense of connection to themselves and others are more likely to have overall healthier well-beings. Whether that connection and meaning is related to God, altruism, community, family or friends, it is important to feel like you are part of a greater system and that your work is important
De-Stress With Spirituality
Spirituality is an important tool that helps people calm down and limit the amount of stress in their lives. The activities that spirituality promotes encourage and reduce stress. Some of these activities include:
- Meditation- People who meditate are less likely to resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as overeating or self-harm. Meditation has shown to increase overall happiness levels, lower risk of depression, and can even improve your physical health.
- Social Connection- People with built-in communities and friends are less likely to experience high levels of stress. This sense of belonging acts as a calming and supportive barrier that helps people process stress and feel connected to a greater purpose.
- Community Service- People who volunteer or donate to charity are more likely to feel as though they are contributing to something of a greater purpose than themselves, which reduces stress and promotes longevity.
Resilience, Grit, Psychological Toughness, and other forms of adversity overcoming tactics are linked closely with spirituality. Improving your Spiritual Fitness is the first step to reducing your stress and anxiety to help you overcome obstacles in your life.
Developing Spiritual Fitness
West Point Military Academy participated in a Spiritual Fitness module that helped their soldiers in training expand their spirituality. They wanted the soldiers to develop a “core of spirituality,” which encouraged self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, and belonging. Three important steps of their Spiritual Fitness guide included:
- Cultivating an awareness of general spirituality
- Learning the tools that help motivate spirituality
- Becoming aware of the spirituality of others
This may seem like a very general approach, however, its breakdown is important. Before developing their own spirituality they had to acknowledge its existence and benefits. After learning the tools to foster their own spirituality they were able to recognize spirituality in others. In our Resilience Training Program, we want to take a specific route that follows these steps to help you develop Spiritual Fitness. Some of these steps include:
- Exploring aspects of spirituality that you find appealing and relatable
- Opening your mind to possibilities and expanding your view of your situation
- Taking small steps to integrate spirituality into your life
- Committing to certain parts of spirituality that help you de-stress, connect and overcome
- Actively seeking optimism and positivity
- Learning from others and their experiences with spirituality
- Participating in programs and taking actions that align with spirituality
We have the power within ourselves to choose how to approach setbacks, challenges, and tragedies. Part of human resilience is the feeling of connection to higher and greater things than ourselves. This encourages an open-mindset and allows people to push through difficult experiences either with the support of other people or through a feeling of greater purpose. To learn more about Spiritual Fitness Building and our related programs please visit our Resilience Training Program page or call 516-732-0273. For more information about our Garden City and Rockville Centre, NY locations, please visit our contact us page.