It’s been said that a few of the taboo topics to discuss in polite conversation are politics, money, and religion. While the terms religion, faith, and spirituality are sometimes used interchangeably, and all of them deal in a particular way with a person’s connection to beliefs about a force or power that is greater than that of our human existence. Although there is some confusion regarding these topics, even though in essence the benefits they can provide are of a simple and straightforward nature.
There are several reasons to explore these issues deeper, especially as they relate to an improved quality of life. Several sources show how those who have deep sources of faith and spirituality in their lives enjoy an improved quality of life through a variety of ways. Considering the role that this important aspect plays is a crucial component in terms of developing a more faith-based and God-centered life. Here are a few examples of how faith plays a key role in how people report on their quality of life.
Key Traits Foster Positive Interactions
[pullquote]A faith-based life is one that is based on a variety of key traits that tend to enhance personal relationships and social interactions on a daily basis.[/pullquote] For example, Ryan T. Howell, Ph.D., writing about the benefits of spirituality in Psychology Today, cited a variety of these traits, ranging from increased gratitude and optimism to compassion towards others and increased reflection on daily activities in order to build more lasting memories.
It’s clear, then, that cultivating a deep spirituality and spiritual or faith-based practice in your daily life contributes to enhancing character traits and values that lead to behaviors that increase life satisfaction and quality of life. By extending compassion towards others, one learns to have more compassion for oneself. By cultivating a practice of gratitude, one learns to appreciate the little things in life and draw upon those in hard times, recognizing that there is strength in appreciating what one has.
Improved Coping Mechanisms
The American Psychological Association has argued that religion and spirituality play a role in mental health. Kenneth I. Pargament, Ph.D., who the APA refers to as a “leading expert in the psychology of religion and spirituality”, asserts: “People can draw on many religious and spiritual resources that have been tied to better adjustment in times of crisis.”
Given that everyone in life is bound to face a dramatic and difficult challenge sooner or later, the benefits of a faith-based spiritual practice become clear. Rather than rushing to faith in a time of need, it’s those people who actively develop a practice day by day who seem to experience greater relief and increased the ability to cope when difficult times strike.
Fellowship And Social Bonding
Many people who have a strong faith and spiritual practice in their life cite the fact that the fellowship and social interaction linked to their faith are essential benefits and tools that help them to face the various problems they encounter. Meeting other like-minded individuals and being able to share with them in faith is a valuable tool for coming to a greater understanding of life itself as well as for finding ways to handle the challenges that life throws your way.
In today’s digital age, fellowship and information-sharing don’t occur exclusively in person, and online resources can be particularly useful and valuable, especially for people who live in areas where they aren’t able to actively cultivate their faith in a local setting. For example, online resources such as The Way International are hubs for faith-based sharing and gathering of information, where people can read about developing practices such as prayer and sharing God’s word.
A More Abundant Life
[pullquote]Proponents of a faith-based lifestyle often speak about the increased abundance in their lives as a result of their practices.[/pullquote] Abundance in this sense doesn’t necessarily mean increased material wealth, but rather a sense of increased abundance on a spiritual plane, and nurturing of the self in a way that can’t be found in today’s widespread consumer culture.
This comes about not only through fellowship with like-minded believers but also from the intangible benefits that result from living according to a set of spiritual principles that guide every action.
Knowing You’re Not Alone
From the beginning of time, people have gathered in shared faith to enhance their sense of belonging and their belief in a higher power to sustain them in good times and bad. The benefits of faith in improving quality of life are multiple, and the results are seen in people of faith who are living examples of those who practice what they preach. A sense of community and knowing that you’re not alone are essential components to developing a life that you feel satisfied with and proud of living. For many people, faith and spirituality practices can play an essential part in this lifelong journey.
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