The Role of Spirituality and Service in Mental Health Recovery
A growing number of Americans are turning to spirituality as a way to find a sense of meaning and purpose in life. For many people, spirituality and service is a vital component of their overall wellbeing.
So what does this mean for people in recovery? Discover the important role that spirituality and service can play in supporting your mental health and long-term recovery.
What is Spirituality?
Spirituality is a belief in something beyond yourself. Spirituality looks different for everybody, but generally involves a belief in a higher power or something greater than yourself that connects you to other people and the universe.
Spirituality can help you find a sense of meaning, purpose, and hope. It can also instill feelings of awe and wonder, and connect you with a supportive community of like-minded people. Spiritual practices often explore philosophical topics such as:
- The meaning of life
- What happens after death
- How we should treat each other
- How we are connected to each other
- What it means to be a good person
- How to be happy without material possessions
- How to make the world a better place
Examples of Spiritual Practice
There are many ways to engage in spirituality. Spiritual practice can include:
- Belonging to an established religion such as Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, or Judaism
- Attending church services
- Dream analysis
- Seeking advice from a psychic or clairvoyant
- Some martial arts like Tai Chi and Jujutsu
- Certain philosophies such as stoicism and epicureanism
- Contemplative journaling
- Spending time in nature
What is Service?
Any work you do that benefits others is considered service. It involves helping those in need.
Many spiritual practices incorporate service as a way of:
- Serving a higher power
- Developing empathy
- Making the world a better place
- Spreading feelings of hope
- Showing gratitude for what you have
- Developing humility
Examples of Service
Examples of service include:
- Volunteering for a charity, hospice, or prison
- Donating blood
- Raising money for a good cause
- Donating to a homeless shelter or food pantry
- Making a meal for someone going through hard times
- Random acts of kindness
- Fostering a pet
How Do Spirituality and Service Impact Mental Health During Recovery?
Spirituality and service can play an important role in recovery by supporting lifestyle changes that benefit your mental health. Studies have shown that spiritual people experience lower rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide.
Addiction can be isolating. It often gives you a sense of detachment and pessimism and robs you of hope. In both direct and indirect ways, practicing spirituality and service can help combat those feelings.
Indirect Effects of Spirituality and Service
Spirituality and service have several indirect effects on your mental health. They can promote well-being by:
- Encouraging habitual self-care, such as deep breathing while you meditate or pray.
- Expanding your social support network through attending social events, for instance going to church. This makes you better able to cope with life stressors.
- Discouraging high-risk behaviors like drugs and alcohol.
- Facilitating better diet and nutrition, such as the vegetarian diet of Hinduism.
Direct Effects of Spirituality and Service
Research has also shown that spiritual practice and service has a direct impact on your brain:
- Meditation and prayer activate your frontal lobes and language areas of the brain over the long-term, which has been linked to improved cognition, and a reduction in stress, anxiety, and depression.
- Giving you a sense of meaning, purpose, and optimism.
- Helping you establish and follow a value system.
Find Spirituality and Service at Ethos Recovery
Discovering your sense of spirituality and service can play an important role in your recovery journey. However you choose to explore it, spirituality can have a positive impact on your mental health and support your recovery.
Come explore how spirituality and service can impact your recovery journey at Ethos Recovery. At our all-male sober living community in West Los Angeles, we believe in fostering long-term sobriety through cultivating camaraderie and community. Our environment reinforces positive lifestyle changes through peer feedback, adventure, and constant support.
Contact us to find out more about how we can support your recovery.
Author – Chris Howard
Chris Howard is the Founder and Director of Ethos Recovery. He has a B.A. in Psychology from UCLA and has served as a community advocate/mentor for men and women in recovery since 2010.
- Addiction (58)
- Alcoholism (30)
- Child Addiction (9)
- Family Intervention (8)
- Inspiration (11)
- Law (1)
- Mental Health (49)
- Recovery (48)
- Sober Living (22)
- Spirituality (2)
- Uncategorized (27)