In a study, posted on the Elevated Existence blog, research shows spirituality enhances a person’s health – particularly their mental health:
“In many ways, the results of our study support the idea that spirituality functions as a personality trait,” said Dan Cohen, assistant teaching professor of religious studies at MU and one of the co-authors of the study. “With increased spirituality people reduce their sense of self and feel a greater sense of oneness and connectedness with the rest of the universe. What was interesting was that frequency of participation in religious activities or the perceived degree of congregational support was not found to be significant in the relationships between personality, spirituality, religion and health.” Cohen believes spirituality may help people’s mental health by reducing their self-centeredness and developing their sense of belonging to a larger whole. Many different faith traditions encourage spirituality, though they use different names for the process. A Christian monk wouldn’t say he had attained Nirvana, nor would a Buddhist monk say he had communed with Jesus Christ, but they may well be referring to similar phenomena, according to the study. The benefits of a more spiritual personality may go beyond an individual’s mental health as well. Cohen believes the selflessness that comes with spirituality enhances characteristics important for fostering a global society based on the virtues of peace and cooperation.