A Framework Proposition for Defined Spirituality

Whether you’re rediscovering your spiritual side or starting to explore for the first time, there are many ways to cultivate a sense of connection and wellbeing. It might be through community service or volunteering, prayer or meditation, yoga, music or art, journaling, gardening, eating mindfully, spending more time in nature, or even simply focusing on your breath. It’s also about opening your heart to others and helping them.

You might also find comfort and meaning in relationships, a greater purpose or intention for your life, or a connection to something sacred or higher than yourself (e.g., a faith, an idea, a belief system). This type of spirituality is often linked to religion and is sometimes called “religious spirit” or “nonreligious spirituality.” It can also be associated with concepts like karma, which involves the belief that your actions have an impact on your future happiness.

Spirituality encompasses a variety of different dimensions, and the broadness of its definition makes it difficult to define and measure. We developed a framework proposition that is meant to guide researchers who use the term. It separates spirituality into cognitive or philosophic aspects, the experiential and emotional, and the behavioral. It also includes some validated instruments to assess spirituality. The first axis is related to connections with self, the community, nature and environment, and the transcendent. The second axis is related to feelings of hope, spiritual love and connectedness, and the third axis is about behavior.