Spirituality and Stress


  • Author Devika Primic
  • Published June 4, 2022
  • Word count 1,247

Spirituality and Stress affect individuals in a unique way

One late afternoon on a sunny April day, he drove from Phoenix, Arizona, north toward Flagstaff, and arrived at Oak Creek Canyon just as the sun was setting.

Any of you who have been to this part of the United States, know that the stars appear so low in the night sky that they seem almost touchable.

He could not drive too long it seemed beyond his will before he had to pull the car onto the shoulder of the roadway. This, he did to get out and marvel at that sky with its twinkling ceiling.

He was enraptured with these natural wonders and so intently focused upon them that the hassles and stresses he had experienced before he left Phoenix seemed inconsequential.

Why sweat the small stuff in the face of the big stuff?

Too frequently do you celebrate life's wonders with the attitude of gratitude that they deserve? Parents take their children for granted instead of marvelling at their uniqueness and development.

Students become desensitized to the beauty surrounding them on campus, to the quiet walks to the library, and to the opportunity to lie in the grass, reading Plato, Hemingway, or Wadsworth.

Professors forget to appreciate the cloistered environs in which they are honoured by being allowed to devote their careers to labours of love. In creation itself often receives short shrift in a hurried society concerned with fast food, quick weight loss diets, and electrodes.

Quicker, faster, sooner, easier, so little time to nourish the soul, to develop optimal spiritual health.

Spiritual Health

Some of these definitions recognize the existence of a supreme being, whereas others relate spirituality to one's relationships with others and one's place in this world.

For example:

One definition of spiritual health is the adherence to doctrine as prescribed by religion. The closer the adherence, the greater the spiritual health.

Another definition of spiritual health is the ability to discover and express your purpose in life; to learn how to experience love, joy, peace, and fulfilment; and to help yourself and others to achieve full potential.

The lack of emotional and spiritual health is the basic cause of heart disease because the stress that develops, as a result, influences the development of negative health behaviours.

That places the individual at the sign to help individuals at risk for heart disease. Using mindfulness meditation, one is taught to live in the moment, becoming acutely aware of feelings, thoughts, and sensations.

In this process, chronic pain is decreased anxiety, stress and depression.

Spiritual health may include answers to such questions as:

''Who am I?''

''Why am I here?''

''Where am I headed?''

Questions that confront you with the very fact of your existence and the meaning of life. Answers to these questions may comfort you and alleviate stress with the assurance that your life is headed in the direction you desire.

Perhaps you have not previously appreciated your relationship to humankind, to a supreme being, to nature, or to what has preceded you and what will remain when you no longer do.

Should that occur, use that dissonance to make changes in your life to be more spiritual, take more walks in the woods, so to speak?

Celebrate loved ones and natural wonders; find activities in which to contribute to your world and the people who inhabit it. Leave something of meaning behind, an experience that you are and let others experience that as well.

All these changes will make you less distressed, more satisfied with your life, and more effective in your interactions with both your environment and the people about whom you care.

Religion and Spirituality

It seems clear that religious and spiritual involvement affects health and yet what is not clear are the differences and similarities between these two terms, religion and spirituality. Spirituality is a person's orientation toward or experiences with the transcendent existential features of life.

An example:

Meaning, direction, purpose, and connectedness are sometimes referred to as the search for the sacred in life. Religion is an external manifestation of Spiritual experience or an organized social entity in which individuals share some basic beliefs and practices.

It is possible, therefore, to be spiritual but not to be religious, or to even be anti-religious.

It is also possible to engage in religious practice but to do so in a no secular, spiritual manner, for example, using prayer to meditate rather than to pray.

Supreme Being.

Spirituality and Health

Although both religion and spirituality have been associated with various health parameters such as blood pressure, religion and spirituality have been used as interventions to improve health and alleviate stress.

Patients with the same illness were divided into groups, and then a group of people who described themselves as religious believers prayed for one group of patients.

Neither group of patients knew whether they were the objects of the believers' prayers, and those praying had no idea for whom they were praying.

Yet the group of patients that were prayed for improved their health to a greater extent than the other group of patients. It is called a double-blind study.

Spirituality or religion-related to lower levels of psychological distress, reduced risk of physical illness, and lower mortality rates. The relationship between spirituality and religion to health is a positive feeling, individuals adopted healthy behaviours in general.

Consequently, spiritual and religious people tend to be healthier.

Spiritual health is more predictive of health–promotion behaviours, than are isolated psycho-social variables such as:

Self-esteem, locus of control, connectedness, and sense of coherence. As regards stress, spiritual health was found significantly related to assuming responsibility to manage one's stress.

How Spirituality and Religion Affect Health

Control Theory

When an individual feels some degree of control over stress, that person's health status will be less affected than someone who perceives little or no control. There are two different approaches to increasing control: primary control and secondary control.

Primary control, like problem-focused copying, refers to attempts to change the situation, whereas secondary control refers to attempts to affect or control oneself. Secondary control can be more helpful in low-control situations. Religion and spirituality can function as either primary control or secondary control.

For example:

Intercessory prayer and prayers for divine intervention is a primary control activity. Re-framing a situation to view it as fate or a force of nature is a secondary control activity.

Other secondary control spiritual activities that lessen emotional reactions to stress include meditation, contemplative prayer, rituals, scripture readings Religious approaches to increasing control as a coping mechanism.


The individual perceives him or herself as responsible for the outcome, although God or nature has provided the resources with the individual needs to be successful.


Individual works together with God or forces of nature to control the situation.


The entire situation is turned over to God or forces of nature, with reliance on external forces of nature to intervene in the situation to resolve it.


The individual begs God or forces of nature to intervene in the situation to resolve it. The self-directing and collaborative approaches are associated with mental health and competence and the deferring approach is associated with lower levels of self-competence.

However, the collaborative or deferring approach may be healthier in situations in which the individual really does have little control for example, when about to have surgery. In this instance, secondary control is facilitated by deferring a collaborative approach.

© Devika Primić

Native to the English language. I have an online appearance and have a writing platform on various topics.

I research article topics and write informative articles.

I write original and quality content daily.

Contact: dprimic@gmail.com


''I believe that writing opens the mind to all kinds of experiences and when you believe you become hopeful in life.''

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