Spirituality is a connection with something bigger than yourself. It often involves the formation of personal values and the search for meaning in life. Religious beliefs are a common but special case of spirituality where the connection to something bigger (e.g., God or multiple Gods) is supported by religious doctrine. Other forms of spirituality may be more personal in nature or involve other forms of readings or social communion. The realm of spirituality pertains to the spirit or soul as distinguished from the realm of physical objects.
Personal spirituality can influence your choices about daily living and relationships with others. Spiritual beliefs can also influence how you process negative life experiences and the impact they have on your life. Spirituality can play a key role in how you think, feel, and act when coping with your lupus symptoms.
How Can Spirituality Help with Lupus?Back to top
A framework for using spirituality to cope with lupus symptoms. Figure adapted from Unantenne, N., Warren, N., Canaway, R., & Manderson, L. (2013). The strength to cope: Spirituality and faith in chronic disease. Journal of religion and health, 52(4), 1147-1161.
There are many ways that spirituality can benefit you in coping with lupus. For example, your spirituality can help give you:
- Meaning and purpose despite your symptoms
- The ability to accept your lack of control over getting sick, the severity of your symptoms, and the impact of your symptoms on your day-to-day life
- The strength to manage your stress and take life one day at a time
- The self-worth and self-esteem you need to accomplish your goals
- A way to manage your symptoms in combination with other treatments and clinical visits
- Hope in recovery, whether physical recovery or otherwise
- The resilience you need to cope with your diagnosis and the challenges it brings to your daily life
- A way to focus on the positive things in life
- A sense of community with other people who share your faith
- A connection with nature and the earth
- A connection with something bigger than yourself and beyond the physical world
- Access to other resources, like transportation, social support, or food donations through your religious community
- Something to look forward to in the afterlife
It is possible that feelings of guilt or frustration can accompany one's spirituality when managing lupus symptoms. Seeking additional guidance from a spiritual leader or mentor may be helpful. Visit Lupus Guide Reframing and Resilience to learn more.
Use Spirituality in Your Journey with LupusBack to top
- Practice prayer and meditation.
- Explore different types of spirituality.
- Find a community that you can use as support.
- Attending religious gatherings.
- Reading spiritual texts, religious or non-religious.
- Use prayerful meditation to reframe your thoughts.
- Consider trying yoga or Tai Chi. Visit Lupus Guide Yoga and Tai Chi to learn more.
- Be mindful of where you are in the process of dealing with lupus.
- Focus thoughts on something greater than your symptoms, like your purpose and desires in life.
- Consider the deeper meaning of life and your connection to it.
- Try to acknowledge the things in your life that are positive.
- Participate in activities that bring you joy.
- Journal your thoughts related to spirituality and lupus.
Tips for SuccessBack to top
- Understand that spirituality is a journey and things may not change overnight.
- Ask yourself questions about who you are and how you connect to something bigger.
- Try some of the above ways to incorporate spirituality into your journey and try something different if one doesn’t work for you.
- Set goals related to spirituality. Visit Lupus Guide Goal Setting to learn more.
- Combine spirituality with other self-management strategies.
- Dedicate time to incorporating spirituality into your life.
Further Reading & Other ResourcesBack to top
Peer-Reviewed Scientific Publications:
Unantenne, N., Warren, N., Canaway, R., & Manderson, L. (2013). The strength to cope: Spirituality and faith in chronic disease. Journal of religion and health, 52(4), 1147-1161.
Roger, Kerstin Stieber, and Andrew Hatala. "Religion, spirituality & chronic illness: A scoping review and implications for health care practitioners." Journal of Religion & Spirituality in Social Work: Social Thought 37.1 (2018): 24-44.