Sprituality and Mental Health
Spirituality can mean different things to different people depending on their fundamental belief systems. This can be an organized religion such as Judaism or Christianity, spiritual beliefs, or something even more personal and perhaps more difficult to define. It is a belief that we are connected to something greater than ourselves, that there is a stronger power that guides us. It is the principal that helps define the deep values to which we are committed and is why spirituality and mental health are difficult to separate.
Alfred Adler, a disciple of Fredu who founded Individual Psychology, believed in the concept he called "social interest," which has to do with the degree to which we feel either alienated from or a part of the world around us. He believed that those of us who are isolated are more prone to mental illness, that perhaps mental illness itself was a symptom of being disconnected. A spiritual person is connected to the world in which they live. a spiritual person is grounded. A spiritual person is centered.
Spirituality can be a big help in controlling symptoms of mental disorders like depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia among other more subtle mental illnesses. This may mean going to church, a synagogue, or other house of worship. For others, it may be joining a spiritual discussion group or quietly meditating.
Whichever way you choose, the ultimate goal is to connect with something greater than yourselves to try and achieve additional happiness, mental stability and well-being. It has been observed that those more successful patients in mental health facilities tend to have high levels of faith and spirituality.
This occurs primarily because following a form of religion tends to expose us to a supportive social network and encourages self-reflection. The conclusion being that a combination of spirituality and mental health can be one possible path to a successful treatment program with some mental illnesses.
Please visit our Self-Help section for books that we recommend on the subject. To read more about mental illness, go here.