Spirituality as a Coping Strategy among Practitioners and Non Practitioners
Authors: Palkee Baruah, Dr. Neelam Pandey
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Taking the path less travelled by exploring your spirituality can lead to a clearer life purpose, better personal relationships and enhanced stress management skills. This study explores the role played by spirituality in coping and presents the relationships between spiritual dimensions and coping styles. Spirituality has been considered as an important buffer against stressful events which may help people to overcome their distress and difficulties. Some stress relief tools are very tangible: exercising more, eating healthy foods and talking with friends. A less tangible — but no less useful — way to find stress relief is through spirituality. Spirituality has many definitions, but at its core spirituality helps to give our lives context. It's not necessarily connected to a specific belief system or even religious worship. Instead, it arises from your connection with yourself and with others, the development of your personal value system, and your search for meaning in life. For many, spirituality takes the form of religious observance, prayer, meditation or a belief in a higher power. For others, it can be found in nature, music, art or a secular community. Spirituality is different for everyone. Methods: One hundred individuals completed questionnaires which included the Expressions of Spirituality Inventory Douglas A. MacDonald 1997 and the Coping Strategies Assessment by DJ, 2008. The results suggest that five spiritual dimensions, i.e., Experiential/ Phenomenological Dimensions (EPD), Cognitive Orientation towards Spirituality (COS), Existential Well- Being (EWB), Paranormal Beliefs (PAR), and Religiousness (REL) play an important role in coping processes. The dimensions have a different impact on particular styles depending on their internal structure. Overall spirituality was associated with Task-oriented and Social Diversion coping. It means that people characterized by a high level of spirituality will try to solve problems through efforts aimed at solving the problem and seeking out social support. There was no statistically significant relationship between Religious attitudes and coping styles. Ethical sensitivity was positively connected with using Task-oriented, Avoidance-oriented, and Social Diversion coping. Harmony was associated positively with Task-oriented, but negatively with Avoidance-oriented, coping. The relationships between spirituality dimensions and coping styles confirmed the assumption that people's reactions to stress relate to the configuration of their spiritual qualities. Results and Implications: The study reported that there is significant relationship between spirituality and coping. Individuals high on spirituality have positive coping strategies whereas individuals low on spirituality has negative coping strategies. Also it adds to the already existing data pool with equivocal studies.