Finding Your Spiritual Self

The Role Spirituality Plays in Mental Health Recovery

The definition of spirituality is often intertwined with religion, and many people have a very strong response to that. Spirituality can include religion, but it does not have to. Spirituality is a much broader sense of belief about life, purpose, and how you fit into the universe.

Even if you’re not religious, you’re spiritual. Everyone has a spirituality, although some have never explored their ideas as a value system before. For many, spirituality dies during addiction if it was ever developed before. Addiction drops you into a sense of detachment and nothingness. It leaves most without hope for the future or a way forward in life.

Reconnecting with your inner spirit, the force that gives you purpose and drive in life, is an important part of addiction recovery. Overcoming addiction requires the strength you derive from your believing in your unique relationship to the universe. Your spirituality doesn’t need to include god or the teachings of organized religion to be valid. That’s why there’s a significant connection between spirituality and mental health.

Spirituality in Mental Health

Studies show that spirituality plays an important role in mental health. Children are often steered away from drugs and alcohol by religious belief. It’s not the teaching, religion, or the threat of religious consequences that help children live a clean and healthy life. Instead, religious belief reduces stress in their lives, so they don’t end up turning to drugs.

Parents involved in church activities exhibit better parenting skills and have better relationships with their partners. Children from these homes perform better in school, exhibit better self-control, and display better psychosocial adjustment.

Among patients with schizophrenia, those who spent the most time on religious activities and study had the best prognosis. Patients seem better able to cope with mental illness because they derive hope and spiritual support from their religious discussions.

At Tranquil Shores, we believe one’s spirituality is personal and sacred when it comes to religion in recovery.

Defining Spiritual Practice

It’s easy to point to religious activities and study the resulting effect on mental health. The benefits of religion can be extrapolated to all spiritual practices. Defining your own sense of spirituality can be the first step in letting that inner energy pull you out of addiction.

Spiritual practices can include:

– Creating art. In any form, art connects you to nature. Making music or painting a picture involves a combination of physical and mental manipulations that transcend the reality of the moment and bring you to a deeper understanding of the universe.

– Gratitude practice. When you practice gratitude, you connect yourself to the universe and acknowledge its power. With the power of the universe, all things are possible.

– Dream analysis. Examining the workings of your subconscious through dreams taps into a spiritual practice that can bring enlightenment and peace.

– Helping others. Service to others helps reinforce a higher purpose in life and demonstrates spiritual values. Practicing kindness can teach you self-love, as well.

You don’t have to participate in organized religion or go to church to practice spirituality. Acting on your own unique sense of values can bring you the hope you need to enhance your life. It’s the power of hope that comes from spiritual practices that may sustain you through addiction recovery.

Spirituality in Recovery

At Tranquil Shores, we believe one’s spirituality is personal and sacred when it comes to recovery.

Tranquil Shores counselor Rachel Lane leads the spirituality group each week, aimed at spiritually healing addiction.

“Even the word spiritual will freak them out, (the clients) will relate it to religion.”

But Lane says it’s got nothing to do with formal religion and everything to do with a deep personal belief.

”It’s a process. I encourage people to not get to hung up on it or put a label or wrapper on it; clients come to me and even if they say they don’t believe in God, they don’t believe in religion, I’m like well that’s your belief so you have a belief.”

Tranquil Shores gives clients a special place to grow spiritually as one client explained, “I would walk the beach and gaze at the tide and know that somewhere out there is a power greater than myself. I may not be acquainted with that power but I know it’s there.”

Spirituality group at Tranquil Shores explores all kinds of philosophies including Buddhism and Daoism which advocates a life of simplicity and noninterference with the course of natural events to attain a happy existence. The spirituality group at Tranquil Shores is just one of the building blocks to help clients find peace, serenity, and purpose.

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