The ability to sustain an individual’s sense of self and purpose through a set of beliefs, principles or values
So first we need to know what our values are. You can download a values list from my shop, click here (don’t worry, it’s free!).
Once we have established what our values are we have our ‘North Star’, or a compass that we can use to navigate life and stay on path, even during challenging times (at least if we bring a degree of self-awareness and mindfulness to our day!).
In fact a paper entitled Purpose in Life Predicts Allostatic Load Ten Years Later concluded ‘self-health locus of control acts as one proximal psychological mechanism through which life purpose may be linked to positive biological outcomes’. Essentially what this paper suggested was having a purpose reduced the amount of wear and tear we experience going through life. The authors found that individuals who reported having high levels of purpose also strongly believed in the ability to influence their health, which in turn explained low levels of allostatic load, as they were more proactive in their healthcare.
A definition of spirituality which I like is:
Spirituality must be measured in more indirect personal experiential terms, such as the search for meaning, peace and personal fulfilment, contemplation about meaning of life, and the feeling of a personal relationship to a higher power.
Another definition is:
Spirtuality is defined as an aspect of humanity that refers to the way individuals seek and express meaning and purpose, the way they experience their connectedness to the moment, to self, to others, to nature and to the significant or sacred
Expanding On Spiritual Resilience
In a paper entitled ‘Nurturing Spiritual Resilience to Promote Post-disaster Community Recovery: The 2016 Alberta Wildfire in Canada’ the authors explored various meanings and concerns, along with tools and strategies that helped to nurture spiritual resilience and well-being among residents of Fort McMurray following the Alberta wildfire.
Participants identified a number of spiritual resources such as:
- A strong sense of belonging.
- A shared positive outlook.
- Faith and hope.
- A sense of gratitude.
These contributed to increased resilience and positive health and well-being and helped them to support families and communities in the post disaster recovery period
Unsurprisingly then, spiritual distress can be defined as:
“a crisis of values, meaning, and purpose; joyless striving (instead of productive, satisfying, meaningful and fulfilling work); and a misalignment with one’s core spiritual beliefs.’
- Establish your values using the values list available via my online shop.
- Find purpose in life – this may start with finding purpose in each day. Don’t put pressure on yourself – there is no need to cure cancer tomorrow. Start with small achievable goals and build out from there. It may start within your family unit and then your wider family unit or local community etc.
- Cultivate a belief, if you don’t already have one, that you are in control of your health. Get educated, read, watch youtube videos, listen to podcast (perhaps mine!), carve out time for yourself and your needs.
- Purpose in life predicts allostatic load ten years later: click here
- Spirituality, religiosity, aging and health in global perspective: A review: click here