The Mental Health Benefits of Spirituality

Article written by long-time NCC supporter and volunteer Harriet Vanderbilt

 

April 27, 2020

 

“Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit.”

B.K.S. Iyengar

 

Photo by Mateus Campos Felipe on Unsplash

 

I am strong in my belief in the Catholic faith. I believe that “Love never fails…And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). Matthew Kelly, Catholic author of Stop Worrying Start Living, encompasses this scripture passage well:

 

  • “We all have fears and sometimes they can hold us hostage to a future that doesn’t exist…The best way to combat fear is to focus on its opposite – love. Don’t be afraid to be afraid. Because it is an emotion, fear is emotionally neutral. It only becomes a problem when it prevents us from doing what God wants us to do. Whenever you are afraid, recognize you are given the chance to trust in Jesus. As you continue to take advantage of these opportunities, you will find your fear decreasing and your faith increasing.”

 

Although I lack some of the spirituality of many Catholics, I believe strongly that God is in charge of this life of mine – and of yours! Having this faith base allows me to have hope and to show love each and every day. Believing that God runs our lives through grace and mercy encourages me to live each day with positivity and focus. I have had many serious, even life-threatening, mental health and physical challenges and I have overcome them. Yes, I would say “why me” briefly. Then, I’d say I was chosen because God saw me as special. Now, I continue to see each day in a bright and shiny way. No, I won’t get to take that trip of a lifetime to Tuscany. But I’ll get that haircut, color, and curl!

Photo by Ashley Batz on Unsplash

Spirituality is a feeling of connection to something bigger than you. It helps you to look within yourself. It helps you to understand how you fit into the rest of the world. Spirituality also includes healthy practices for your mind and body. These practices positively influence your mental health. Some of these benefits include individuality, mindfulness and unity with your surroundings.

 

Individuality

  • Individuality enhances your sense of self and leads to empowerment. If focuses on your connection to your beliefs and your personal growth. Mindfulness encourages you to develop meditation as a daily practice. With regular meditation, you will become more connected to other people and things in your life. You will learn to cope with life’s situations.

 

Unity

  • Unity with your environment through spirituality results in a strong sense of belonging to the world. You become more aware and appreciative of the world around you. Whatever challenge you encounter, you know you have the ability to handle it.

 

Hope

  • Hops is perhaps the most beneficial of all. This feeling of expectation and desire is a key virtue when discussing the mental health benefits of spirituality. Matthew Kelly expresses, “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. Hope is one of those things you can’t buy, but that will be freely given to you if you ask. Hope is the one thing people cannot live without. Hope is a thing of beauty.”

 

Photo by John Towner on Unsplash

 

Putting God in your day, every day, will give you the fortune to live life with Faith, Hope, and Love. I thank God each day for each day, and take each day one at a time. I continue to feel blessed to have another wonderful day to live.

 

– Harriet Vanderbilt