Spirituality is a big part of all human life. It can give life meaning and purpose. It can exist whether or not a person has any formal religious background. People who have been faced with breast cancer often have questions and concerns of a spiritual nature. You may ask questions such as: Why me? Why now? Where is God or a higher power in my life? Cancer is more than a health issue—cancer can have an effect on the human spirit, mind, and the body. Having one’s life changed by cancer often raises spiritual and religious concerns, or draws you closer in your faith.
While some feel their spiritual life becomes stronger as a result of their illness, others find that new beliefs and faith keep them going. This Tip Sheet provides you with some thoughts about how to look at your spiritual needs and concerns.
Everyone Has a Spiritual Dimension
Whether or not you attend a church, synagogue, mosque or temple, you are a spiritual person. Everyone holds certain beliefs and values about what makes life worthwhile, and many people have experienced moments when they have felt connected to a deeper meaning or reality.
Spiritual moments can happen at any time – for example, when you feel close to nature, look into the face of a loved one, enter a house of worship or sense a greater power.
Spiritual believes and experiences are nurtured in different ways. For some, participation in a religious tradition is important. Others draw spiritual understanding from philosophy or the arts. Whatever your spiritual beliefs, remember that spirituality is a dimension of your life that can be developed and strengthened.
Tips for Strengthening Your Spirit
- Take time to regularly meditate or pray. This can bring a sense of calm and stability during difficult times.
- Read spiritual writings. These can include the Bhagavad Gita, the Bible, Koran, or other faith-based texts. Delving into sacred texts can put you in touch with ancient traditions of wisdom and give you a sense of connection with a more divine reality. Recently published books on spirituality can also give new insights.
- Seek the help of others. You might begin an ongoing dialogue with your clergy or counselor, or join a group for meditation, prayer and support.
- Retreat to spiritual spaces, natural settings, or concerts and museums. Visiting such places may help you cultivate a sense of peace.
- Keep a journal to express your feelings, thoughts and memories. This can contribute to your process of self-discovery and development.
A Strong Sense of Spirituality Can Help
A sense of meaning, purpose and connection beyond yourself can help you to have a better quality of life during cancer. Some studies show that people with cancer have less anxiety, depression and pain when they feel spiritually connected.
Spirituality can also help you to put your problems in perspective. Practices such as a prayer, meditation and worship can help you to calm and restore yourself. many people also find the support of other members of spiritual communities to be a great source of practical and emotional help.
A diagnosis of cancer can start a process of looking inward for a strong reconnection to what is most meaningful and sacred. Out of the turmoil of the this crisis, you can find strength and deeper meaning in your life.
- Useful Websites:
Breastcancer.org: Spirituality and Prayer