Hi everyone! Today I’m sharing another post by Jane Sandwood. I really enjoyed reading it so hopefully you will too! I’m out of town right now. I’ll be back in a few days. I’ll tell you all about it when I come back. By the way, Sunday (Feb. 25) Life of an El Paso Woman turns 3. Thank you all for the support!
Contributed Post by Jane Sandwood
While the human interest in spirituality stems from ancient times, we are at a unique time in history, with a plethora of fascinating studies revealing that spirituality can boost mental health and happiness – which can somehow seem elusive for so many. In essence, spirituality – the belief in a higher power or energy force that flows through all sentient things – is being pursued in a different way by some in the 21st century, spurred on by the work of scientists, philosophers, and theologists alike.
Recent findings on spirituality and mental health
Science has shown that spirituality can boost mental health and well-being, not only in adults, but in children as well. One study, carried out by scientists at the University of British Columbia, found that children who reported that their lives had meaning and value, and who had deep, quality relationships (two common aspects of spirituality) were happier.
The authors noted that “enhancing personal meaning may be a key factor in the relation between spirituality and happiness,” and suggested that teaching kids acts of kindness towards others and encouraging them to take part in volunteering, could increase their sense of happiness and well-being.
Similar studies carried out on adults have also shown that those who make time for spirituality are generally happier; one study in particular found that taking part in religious worship was unique in that it was the only communal activity that promoted sustained happiness.
How spirituality differs today
Research indicates that youths today are turning away from religion at much faster rates than their parents or grandparents, yet the majority do believe in God or a universal spirit. According to the Pew Research Center, over a third of Americans aged 18 to 35 are unaffiliated to a particular religion.
An interesting article by Harvard professor, Casper ter Kuile, notes that younger people continue to seek connection, healing and forgiveness in many ways, through movement, meditation and yoga, by supporting each other in times of illness, even by gathering together at CrossFit or at a coffee shop. Of course, many seek to connect with God through church and community worship.
A large percentage of millennials use non-traditional means to foster deeper self-awareness and to sense connection to others. Tarot is used to boost mental health by using the cards to do more than predict the future. In essence, the history of tarot has little to do with fortune telling, and is more concerned with using the profound symbolism of the cards to question aspects of one’s life that may need changing. Tarot can be used in a similar fashion to art therapy: to discuss and analyze the aspects of our lives that may be standing in the way of a deeper connection to the universal life force or God.
Americans may be less inclined to seek affiliation to a particular religious group, but young generations feel as strong a need as their parents and grandparents did, for connection with other human beings and the life force that unites all living things. We are certainly living the dawn of a new age, one in which each individual is free to find their personal definition of God.
Photo by Tessa Rampersad