Spirituality is a range of beliefs and practices that help people connect with something greater than themselves, find meaning in their lives, and cope with life’s challenges. While a majority of spirituality studies focus on religious beliefs and practice, there is a growing interest in measuring non-religious forms of spirituality as well.
Spiritual beliefs and practices vary across cultures and religions. They can include meditation, prayer, yoga, or time spent in nature. They may also include a belief in God or a higher power, a desire to serve others, or a desire to be part of a community that uplifts humanity.
Those who are interested in exploring their spiritual side can benefit from increased self-esteem, improved mood, better coping with stress and illness, and an overall feeling of well-being. Many studies have found that those who are more spiritual report lower levels of depression, anxiety and stress. Spirituality is also linked to higher levels of hope and optimism.
A major criticism of research on spirituality is that it often includes items that are not easily measured. For example, many spirituality measures involve concepts such as deities, which can be difficult to measure, or a sense of transcendence, which is hard to quantify. In addition, studies of spirituality are often tied to a particular religion, which can limit the generalizability of findings.
Despite these limitations, researchers have developed reliable and valid spirituality measures. These measures are associated with a variety of health outcomes, and are increasingly being used in healthcare.