Spirituality and finding a higher purpose are standard parts of healthy aging. For some people, religion is the primary source of spirituality. The spirituality of each person includes the meaning and purpose they find in life and their sense of helping people and contributing to the world.
Spirituality is broad term with many meanings. The most common definitions involve a search for meaning and the development of a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves. It is a generalized feeling of belonging or oneness with something greater than ourselves.
Differences between spirituality and religion include:
- Spirituality does not require an institutional framework.
- Spirituality does not require consensus or agreement with others regarding beliefs.
- Spirituality is personal and subjective.
- A spiritual person is deeply concerned with understanding the relationship of their life to the society, culture, and world.
- A person can be spiritual without a god or divine being.
- Religion is a subset of spirituality, but spirituality does not always involve religion.
One of the fastest-growing areas of spirituality is feeling a deep connection to nature. Nature spirituality, as it is sometimes called, honors the spiritual interconnectedness of life with the planet and universe. Walking or hiking in a park or nature reserve and sitting quietly by a lake while listening and observing all the natural elements are simple ways to enhance spirituality and connection with nature.
Spirituality can be developed and practiced in many ways that do not involve religion. Meditation, yoga, journaling, reading spiritual books, giving and volunteering, and being in nature are some activities that promote spirituality.