Spiritual Health

Spiritual health is often recognized as the fourth domain of health, along with social, mental and physical health (1,2,3,4). Spiritual health has been defined as a state of being where an individual is able to deal with day to day life issues in a manner that leads to the realization of one’s full potential, meaning and purpose of life and fulfilment from within (5). Spiritual health involves an awareness of the sacred qualities of life experiences and can be characterized by a person’s “connections” (1). These can be connections to ourselves, to others , to our environment, and to the “transcendent” (some sense of greater mystery beyond human experience) (2) .

Religion and spirituality are not same. Religion indicates an organized way to relate to the divine, situations, events and people… Spirituality is a personal way of relating to the divine, self, people and the world (5).

While spirituality is an ancient concept, the scientific community has struggled to operationally define spiritual health which has made it difficult to measure (2,5,6,7,8). Evidence from studies that have examined the influence of spiritual practices on health have found positive correlations with lower blood pressure, quicker recovery from depression, and less risk of severe medical illness (1). 

Data on spiritual health in Jefferson County were not identified for the initial publication of this assessment, however this is an area that will be explored in the future. 

Reference List

1. Dhar, N., Chaturvedi, S., Nandan, D. (2013). Spiritual health, the fourth dimension: a public health perspective. WHO South-East Asia J Pub Health, 2, 3–5.

2. Hawks, S., Hull, M., Thalman, R., Richins, P. (1995). Review of spiritual health: definition, role, and intervention strategies in health promotion. Am J Health Promot, 9, 371–378. doi:10.4278/0890-1171-9.5.371.

3. Miller, W., Thoresen, C. (2003). Spirituality, religion, and health: an emerging research field. Am Psychol, 58, 24–35. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.58.1.24.

4. Udermann, B. (2000). The effect of spirituality on health and healing: a critical review for athletic trainers. J Athl Training, 35, 194–197.

5. Michaelson, V., Freeman, J., King, N., Ascough, H., Davison, C., Trothen, T., Pickett, W. (2016). Inequalities in the spiritual health of young Canadians: A national, cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health, 16(1). doi:10.1186/s12889-016-3834-y

6. Dhar, N., Datta, U., Nandan, U. (2008). Importance of Spiritual Health in Public Health System of India. Health and Population: Perspectives and Issues, 31(3), 204-211.

7 Vader, J. (2006). Spiritual health: the next frontier. Eur J Public Health, 15, 457.

8. Chuengsatiansup, K. (2003). Spirituality and health: An initial proposal to incorporate spiritual health in health impact assessment. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 23(1), 3-15. doi:10.1016/s0195-9255(02)00037-9

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Published on July 17, 2018