A Question of Faith
According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, some people find that religion and spirituality have a positive impact on their physical and mental health. As a person who both provides therapy and receives therapy himself, faith and spirituality have been essential to my personal growth. Four ways in which spirituality nurtures my mental health:
1. Reflection. Faith and spirituality, manifested through many traditions, provide an outlet for pausing and practicing introspection. Whether one prays or meditates, my clients have reported improvement in their well-being when they exercise this part of their religious/spiritual tradition.
2. Grounding. Communities of faith or common spirituality often offer explanations for the complex existential questions that science and peers can’t easily answer. These answers typically provide solace and sometimes purpose.
3. Community. It is common for people who share a faith to practice as a community in a church, synagogue, mosque, or other place of worship. Sharing faith experiences with others in a communal location benefits the individual practitioner and the congregation as a whole whether through corporate worship, listening to teachings, or fellowship at social activities before or after the organized gathering.
4. Altruism. Faith-based communities are conduits for volunteer opportunities. Giving to others through acts of service supports the well-being of both recipient and giver.
Lou Lim is a licensed mental health counselor and registered expressive arts therapist (REAT) with a master's degree in Expressive Therapy and Mental Health Counseling from Lesley University. He is a member of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association and on the committee for REAT credentialing. He has 13 years of experience in counseling and expressive therapy working with children, adolescents, teenagers, adults, and retirees.
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