What Is Spirituality?


Spirituality is a dimension of life that strives for inspiration, reverence, awe and meaning, even among people who do not believe in God. It can be a response to stress, illness or death, as well as an internal quest for peace and purpose. It also can take the form of a drive to serve others and promote social good.

Unlike religion, spirituality does not have a set dogma. Almost everyone can identify as spiritual, whether they are religious or not. In fact, about seven-in-ten Americans say that they think of themselves as spiritual, and many also consider themselves to be religious. This overlap makes it difficult to define and measure spirituality systematically, especially when compared with religion.

A key feature of spirituality is the desire to be kind and generous, and it also can include the ability to see beauty and wonder in the everyday world. These qualities can manifest as character strengths, such as kindness/compassion, wisdom and awe/appreciation of beauty.

Other characteristics of spirituality are the capacity to move beyond a purely materialistic worldview, and a sense that life is meaningful and worthwhile. These qualities are associated with improved psychological adjustment to negative life experiences and with a greater sense of meaning in life.