Explore Spirituality as a Stress Management Skill

Explore Spirituality as a Stress Management Skill

Information Resources

By Evelyn Cunico, MA, MS/LIS
Posted November 02, 2016

Background

Sometimes, persons express their spirituality as part of a religious practice or as a belief in a Higher Power. Other times, spirituality is experienced as a response to art, nature, music, or a secular community of persons.

Spirituality is often found by getting in touch with your inner self. A key part is self-reflection. Slowing down your mind and body to self-reflect often helps to relieve stress.

Ten Tips to Explore Spirituality

Here are ten tips on how you can explore your spirituality to help manage stress and become more peaceful.

  • Focus your thoughts on the people and activities that are important to you.
  • Write in a journal to express your feelings.
  • If possible, talk with someone you trust about your beliefs.
  • Visit your public library to find inspirational stories or books.
  • Arrange time with family and friends.
  • Accept yourself and others without judgment.
  • Walk in the woods and experience the silence.
  • Listen to relaxing music and imagine yourself in motion with the sound.
  • Visit an art museum and enjoy experiencing a painting or a sculpture.
  • Eat mindfully, with others or by yourself, tasting and slowly enjoying your food.

For more information on spirituality and stress management, see Selected Information Resources that follow this blog post.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this blog should not replace the medical advice of your doctor. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease, illness, or other health condition without first consulting with your medical doctor or other healthcare provider.

Selected Information Resources

Anandarajah, G and Hight, E.  Spirituality and Medical Practice: Using the HOPE Questions as a Practical Tool for Spiritual Assessment. American Family Physician. 2001 January 1; 63(1):81-9.
Summary Note: Describes a spiritual assessment tool as a way to begin incorporating spirituality into medical practice. Suggests questions that a medical doctor may ask a patient, based on hope, organized religion, personal spirituality, and effects on medical care. Free American Family Physician (AFP) Full Text link from PubMed abstract page.
(Abstract and Full Text accessed 10 October 2016)

Greeson, JM, Webber, DM, Smoski, MJ, Brantley, JG, Ekblad, AG, Suarez, EC, and Wolever, RQ. Changes in Spirituality Partly Explain Health-related Quality of Life Outcomes after Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Journal of Behavioral Medicine 2011 December; 34(6):508-518.
Summary Note: Observational trial study of more than 200 adults participating in 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program found that daily spiritual experiences may be part of a key mechanism underlying mental health benefits. Full Text HHS Public Access.
(Full Text accessed 10 October 2016)

Levin, J. Prevalence and Religious Predictors of Healing Prayer Use in the USA: Findings from the Baylor Religion Survey. Journal of Religion and Health. 2016 August; 55(4):1136-58.
Summary Note: Study investigated prevalence and religious predictors of healing prayer use among U.S. adults. Higher scores were associated with more frequent healing prayer. Full Text available on subscription from Springer.
(Abstract accessed 10 October 2016)

Mayo Clinic Staff. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Healthy Lifestyle. Stress Management. Spirituality and Stress Relief: Make the Connection
Summary Note: Discusses spirituality as a stress management skill. Suggests self-discovery questions that can clarify personal value and life purpose.
(Accessed 10 October 2016)

National Institutes of Health. National Cancer Institute. PDQ® (Physician Data Query) Supportive and Palliative Care Editorial Board. PDQ®  Spirituality in Cancer Care – Patient Version. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. Updated May 18, 2015.
Summary Note: PDQ® Spirituality in Cancer Care summary provides information about religion and spirituality as coping approaches. Describes a spiritual assessment approach to help medical doctors understand patient beliefs about their care.
(Accessed 10 October 2016)

Nemours Foundation. How Can Spirituality Affect Your Family’s Health?
Summary Note: Discusses spirituality as a family coping approach during difficult decision making.
(Accessed 10 October 2016)