Dr Mazvita Machinga
MOST people know that self-care, eating healthy, exercising appropriately and getting adequate sleep, all contribute to good physical and mental health.
However, another factor, called spirituality, has also been shown to impact our physical and mental health. In my clinical work, I have often encountered people who ask if mental health and spirituality relate in the promotion of human well-being. The answer is yes, they do. Others have asked, can spirituality be part of mental health services. The answer is yes. It is important to mention that spirituality is something that every human being experiences. This is because, the body, the mind and the spirit are connected and are one. Thus, the health of any one of these three may affect the overall well-being of an individual those surrounding them. Spiritual experiences are part of being human.
Being able to explore and express our spirituality is a basic human need and universal human right. Some research shows that such things as positive beliefs, comfort and strength gained from religion, meditation and prayer can contribute to healing and a sense of well-being. You may be asking what I mean by spirituality. Spirituality can help people make sense of what they are experiencing and it plays an important role in helping people maintain good mental health and live with or recover from mental health problems. It has been noticed that spirituality is essential in helping people find meaning and purpose in life.
To families in times of suffering or loss, spirituality can bring a sense of hope and helps people find meaning. When people are in times of emotional stress, and mental stress and in crisis, spirituality becomes an important tool in assisting coping. I am talking about healthy spiritual practices. Healthy spirituality can help people maintain good mental health. Through use of spiritual resources people can cope with everyday stresses. Please note that there are healthy spiritual practices and others that are toxic and disastrous. I am focusing on healthy spiritual practices. People may develop and express their spirituality through:
- religious practices such as worship, prayer and reading religious texts
- coming together as a spiritual community
- activities that develop self-awareness or personal control such as contemplation or yoga
- physical activity
- friendship or voluntary work.
Professionals from these mental health and faith-based need to work together in order to foster holistic recovery and healing.
Dr Mazvita Machinga is a qualified psychotherapist based in Mutare. For help call 0778 83 84 10 or 0771 754 519, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org