Spirituality is a term that encompasses people’s beliefs, experiences and practices that connect them to something greater than themselves. It may include the belief in a God or the idea of a higher power, as well as people’s feelings of reverence, awe and meaning in their lives. It can also be the source of comfort during life’s transitions, crises and loss.
While there are many different definitions of spirituality, most have some common themes. These include the importance of relationships, the value of love, and an understanding that humans are connected. The importance of nature is also often seen in spirituality. Some people use spirituality as a way to cope with illness and death, while others see it as a guide to live life more fully.
To help you understand what spirituality means to you, write the word “spirituality” in the center of a piece of paper and circle it. Then, think about each of the words and phrases that come to mind when you consider the question. Draw a thick black line between each of these words and the center word to indicate a strong relationship; a dotted line to indicate a weak or distant connection; and a squiggly line to indicate a conflictual relationship.
Once you’ve analyzed these relationships, try to see how your personal values, beliefs and experiences connect with each of these different definitions. This will give you an understanding of the complexity and breadth of spirituality and its potential impact on assessment and care.