Spirituality is a broad concept, but most definitions include the idea that there is more to life than what people can experience on a sensory and physical level. It may involve religious traditions that center on the belief in a higher power, but it can also include non-religious practices. It strives to answer questions of meaning, purpose and connection. It often comes into focus during periods of emotional stress, physical illness and death.
People who identify as spiritual often describe a sense of deep meaning and a reverence for the immaterial aspects of life. They are not blindly accepting a faith passed down to them by their parents, but they do not reject the idea that there might be a higher power. They tend to be prosocial and compassionate. They may meditate or participate in a practice such as yoga or prayer, or they may seek out inspirational books or community gatherings.
Research suggests that being spiritual can have a positive effect on well-being. For example, it appears to be linked with lower levels of depression and anxiety, and greater satisfaction with one’s life. In addition, being spiritual may be associated with healthier habits, such as a more balanced diet and better sleep quality. However, it is important to be cautious about using spirituality as a way to avoid facing life’s challenges and emotions. This is known as spiritual bypassing and can lead to a range of problems, including dogmatism and a lack of empathy for others.