Spiritual Intelligence & Resilience

In today’s blog I want to summarise a paper that explored spiritual intelligence & resilience. I have previously blogged about spirituality which may be helpful to read first, click here to read it.  Just one of the definitions I used in my first blog on spirituality was:

Spirituality is a personal search for meaning and purpose in life, which may or may not be related to religion. It entails connection to self-chosen and or religious beliefs, values, and practices that give meaning to life, thereby inspiring and motivating individuals to achieve their optimal being.

The authors of this paper (Relationship of Spiritual Intelligence with Resilience and Perceived Stress) define spiritual intelligence as:

Spiritual intelligence is concerned with the internal life of mind and spirit and its association with being in the world. It implies a capability for a deep understanding of existential questions and insight into multiple levels of consciousness… In addition to self-awareness, it implies awareness of our relationship to the transcendent, to each other, to the earth and all beings. Spiritual intelligence is, therefore, an essential personal endowment which enables one to maintain both internal and external peace and display love regardless of the circumstances, whether stress or acute inconsistency.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that the authors concluded that spiritual intelligence has a positive association with resilience, and a negative association with perceived stress.

The reason why it has these associations is because spiritual intelligence includes “neurological processes, particular cognitive capabilities and spiritual persona and interests”. King indicated spiritual intelligence’s capacity increase resilience and suggests that:

those with higher spiritual intelligence are more able to adapt and cope with difficulties by relying on internal strengths.

Spiritual intelligence helps us to fight against problems of life and death – the deepest origins of human pain and despair – and should smooth the progress in adjustment and problem-solving.

It also allows us to reconsider our experiences and create meaning out of them. Personal meaning production is an applicable component of spiritual intelligence. This is so critical and actually a key concept that we need to understand when suffering with chronic health issues or/and trauma. We cannot heal if we can’t find meaning in our suffering.

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Interestingly, in regards to spiritual intelligence and perceived stress the authors state that there are two judgments that cause people to experience stress at the prospect of a performance situation:

1) their cognitive assessment of the difficulty of the situation

2) their assessment of the resources that they have to cope with the situation.

They explain that an individual will assess a situation more threatening when they see their skills as falling short of the task demands, but if they believe they have the resources to meet the demands, they see it a challenge. This ties is with Sonia Lupien’s work on stress who, in her book Well Stressed, (see my book recommendations here) uses the acronym NUTS.

Novelty.

Unpredictability.

Threat to identity.

Sense of low control.

In her research at least one of these is required to perceive a situation as stressful.

Summing Up

There is no denying life can be tough. There are inevitably hard times. Building resiliency, through any of the ways discussed throughout this blog, and in my soon to be launched resiliency program, has never been more important.

In my first blog on spirituality, click here, I discussed how we can measure our level of spirituality. We can also measure our resiliency. I will update this blog shortly with access to two validated ways of doing this. This can then be used as a way to monitor improvement in these areas.

Until next time friends, take care of yourselves and stay safe. Stay resilient.

Alex

References:

Masoumeh Khosravi , Zahra Nikmanesh, Relationship of Spiritual Intelligence with Resilience and Perceived Stress, Iran J Psychiatry Behav Sci, Volume 8, Number 4,  2014

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