Archives for Spirituality
Spirituality is an abstract topic that is not easy to define, and it is not typically considered a focal point of science. Despite this, it's a meaningful and common part of many peoples' lives, and the benefits and mental processes of spirituality deserve more attention. Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences has been well established for many years, and has helped evolve the traditional view of what it means to be intelligent. It was instrumental in helping people recognize the importance of interpersonal and emotional intelligences, and that we are cognitively much more complex than mere IQ. The many different capacities for intelligence from Gardner's theory include:
An often highly contentious topic of conversation is religion. Religious beliefs are deeply rooted and hard held convictions for many people. Because these beliefs can be so firm, it may lead to strong animosity and conflict when opposing extremes meet. Many people are skeptical and question whether religion does more harm than good because of this acrimony. Despite the controversy, religion and its benefits aren't something to be mocked or disparaged. In the bigger picture, religious teachings lead to tremendous value, and promote positive concepts, such as generosity, love, forgiveness, and hope. In fact, studies have found some very important benefits of religion to well-being. When you explore your overall health, do you consider spirituality as a core aspect? If this is something you have been overlooking, this may be a valuable area of growth for emotional, physical, and relational health.
Think of a time you experienced difficulties and felt overwhelmed or burdened with your situation. How did your view of life and existence change? When we go through a demanding and trying time, it can be tough to cope and stay self-assured. Going through emotionally demanding experiences like loss and trauma often leads to negative emotions such as grief, anger, fear and shame. It can be difficult to overcome this negativity and work through the pain when there is no apparent reason for what occurred. If we don't work to heal and reproach our negative perspective, it becomes very difficult to move beyond the anger and grief that engulfs our day to day life. One way we can begin to work through the stains of our loss and trauma is to find meaning and purpose within the experience.
I attended a wonderful church service yesterday, and it made me realize how certain religious prescriptions parallel many areas of positive psychology research. For instance, the emphasis of showing kindness to others, living a joy filled life, and focusing on love and generosity all pervade Christian scripture as well as positive psychology laboratories. There are certain attributes we can pull from both disciplines in order to begin living a life of greater happiness and fulfillment. Specifically, the emotional propositions reflected in the fruit of the Spirit offer valuable insight and overlap between the two areas. The sermon revolved around how living based on the fruit of the Spirit, as opposed to the fruit of the flesh, provides a chance to experience true peace of mind. The "fruits" include: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. All of these ideas can be applied in a psychological sense to increase well-being. To get the most from life and truly blossom and expand as a person we must live by these attributes. For this post I will be focusing on the first 5 "fruits," so be sure to check back for part 2 where the remaining attributes will be discussed.