Few things illicit such polar opinions as religion. We're not here to argue the good or bad, the truth or lies behind any religion, but simply to offer that faith in a higher power could help you see the light in the darkest times.
We're not telling you that a belief in God from any religion will fix everything (or even anything). You may not even believe in the existence of a God, but spirituality itself is very real.
Spirituality isn't necessarily a belief in a single deity. Spirituality can encompass a connection between yourself and art, the environment, your inner being or the vastness of the universe. It's a thought that tells you there is more to life than simply being born, living a bit then dying. We're here to try and explain the connection between mental health and spirituality in all its forms.
HOW CAN SPIRITUALITY HELP YOU?
For many spirituality and religion are two different things. For others, they are one and the same. There's no hard and fast definition on what spirituality even is. Whatever you think it is, that's as good as anyone else's opinion.
Spirituality is more about how it is perceived and how it promotes good mental health, rather than being one particular 'thing'. Traits like patience, hope, creativity, empathy and compassion can all help you feel better, even for the most cynical or religious person.
Are you more likely to develop a mental illness if you don't believe in God or if you believe that it's caused by a greater force, i.e. karma? Of course not. In that case, the opposite must also be true. Just because you go to church every Sunday or pray every night doesn't make you immune to it.
There are a number of ways in which 'spirituality' can help you, regardless of which religion you choose.
- Community-based activities; Belonging or being part of a social circle could help you feel less isolated.
- Meditation / prayer; A time to calm your mind and focus on the things that are important to you.
- Respect and Dignity; how you treat others is just as important as how you treat yourself. Doing so with respect and dignity can help everyone, including you.
- Perspective; An opportunity to make sense of your life, and your place in it.
- Place of worship; having somewhere, whether it's a church, mediation group or prayer meeting can give you a sense of safety and security.
- Discipline; this can come in the form of ways to live your life, or more spiritually-disciplined activities like yoga or meditation.
- Reading; whether it's a scripture, teachings or fables that help to make sense of this whole 'life' business.
Whatever you want to call it or however you choose to attribute it, there can be a place for spirituality as part of your recovery.
If praying helps you to feel better, then who is to say it's wrong. If meditation calms your anxiety, then how can it be nonsense?
If you have any experience about how any spirituality has helped you and you'd like to share it with our community, please take a look at our 'Men Tell' section.