Definitions of Spiritual Health • Adherence to a religious doctrine • Ability to discover and express one’s purpose in life • Ability to experience love, joy, peace, and fulfillment • Ability to help yourself and others achieve full potential
Religion and Spirituality • Both affect health • They have similarities and differences • Spirituality • Orientation to the transcendent features of life • Religion • Organized entity with basic beliefs and practices
Spirituality and Health • Some researchers have shown evidence that prayer can improve health • Living a spiritual life correlates with healthy behaviors in general • Prayer is the most common form of complementary and alternative medicine • Businesses have begun to recognize the role of spirituality in the health of employees
How Spirituality and Religion Affect Health • Control theory: when someone feels a degree of control over a stressor, the person’s health is less affected by the stressor • Two different approaches • Primary control: attempts to change the situation (problem focused) • Secondary control: attempts to control oneself (emotion focused) • Religion or spirituality can function as either primary or secondary control
USA Weekend Faith and Health Poll • 79% believe spiritual faith can help people recover from illness, injury or disease. • 56% say their faith has helped them recover from illness, injury or disease. • 63 % believe it’s good for doctors to talk to patients about spiritual faith. • Yet only 10% say a doctor has talked to them about their spiritual faith as a factor in physical health.
Making the Most Out of Patient Spirituality • Today, 70 medical schools have classes on spirituality and medicine, compared to 5 schools as of thirty years ago. • 90% of patients who have spiritual beliefs want their doctors to ask about their spiritual beliefs. The focus should be on the ‘whole person.’
Making the Most Out of Patient Spirituality • Spirituality gives people purpose and meaning. This becomes more important when people become ill. It becomes more important than money, job, status, etc. • “We are not destroyed by suffering, but by suffering with no meaning.” – Victor Frankel
Spirituality and Stress Philosophical Stress (Distress or Eustress) • Purpose vs. randomness • Hope vs. despair • Order vs. chaos • Social support • “Servant” mentality (thinking of others) • Helping others • volunteerism • Health impact • Power of prayer (intercessory) • Longevity (life span) • Family stability • Perspective • Forgiveness (benefits)
Forgiveness as a Clinical Intervention • Dr. Richard Tibbits • Teaching people how to forgive to relieve anger/anxiety. Anger correlates to hypertension/heart disease. Short term/long term resentment is reduced by forgiveness.
Forgiveness as a Clinical Intervention • Psychosocial components to forgiveness • Interpersonal • Reconciling with another (relationships) • Bridge building (not every relationship will be reconciled)
Forgiveness as a Clinical Intervention • Psychosocial components to forgiveness • Intrapersonal • Letting go (what goes on inside of the individual) • Learning to let go, or the only one who suffers is me. • Don’t hold onto your ‘grievance’ story, quit recalling ‘the story’ which is physiologically stimulating.
Forgiveness as a Clinical Intervention • Three steps to forgiveness: • Discovering the purpose for the future • My future will not be affected by what you did to me (control). • I will not play the ‘victim’ role because it will control my future. • Forgiveness allows a person to move on with their life. • Nobody gets better by ranting or contemplating about the past.
Relaxation Techniques • Meditation-2 components • Figure- what you are focusing on (breathing) • Ground- everything else blocking out • Autogenic Training- self generated • Daydreaming • Find that “enjoyable “ place • Progressive Relaxation • Biofeedback- instant results, physiological • Prayer- focus on specifics
What Is Meditation? • Meditation requires an object of focus • The object of focus could be a word (mantra), your breathing, or a geometric shape such as a mandala
Approaches to Meditation One of two approaches is used regardless of the type of meditation selected: • Opening up of the attention • Requires nonjudgmental attitude • Allows external/internal stimuli to come in • All stimuli are absorbed • Focusing of the attention • Object of focus is either repetitive or unchanging
“Burning up the Engine” Richard Swenson’s “Margin” • The healthiest lifestyle comes equipped with four gears.
“Burning up the Engine” • The first gear is PARK, for the contemplative times. This gear is used for rest and renewal to recharge our batteries. We sit and think about values and spirituality.
“Burning up the Engine” • The second gear is LOW. The gear is for relationships, for family, for friends. We use this gear to talk with someone, read your kids a story. No hurry here.
“Burning up the Engine” • The third gear is DRIVE. This is our usual gear for work and play. This gear uses lots of energy. The fast speed feels good because it’s productive. It gets us from place to place quickly. This is the gear we mow the lawn or exercise in.
“Burning up the Engine” • The forth gear is OVERDRIVE. This gear is reserved for times that require extra effort. If we have a deadline, we kick into this gear. This is the gear you use during flu season when your schedule is overbooked.
We must be able to downshift. Dr. Richard Swenson