Monday, March 29, 2010

Connecting Mind, Body & Spirit

With Easter right around the corner, spirituality is on many people's minds. Whether you practice a religion or not, more and more research is showing that spirituality -- whether in the form of religion, meditation, yoga or another activity that brings a sense of peace -- is beneficial for individuals with mental illness.

BP Magazine published an interesting article by Nicole Peradotto on the connection between mental health and spirituality, citing that spirituality can help a person with mental illness in "profound ways." While the article is very favorable toward spirituality, it also touches upon the negative impact religion may have on a person with mental illness. Here is a caption from the article, entitled "Connecting Mind, Body and Spirit."

“There’s a capacity for excessive self-blame and a feeling of unredeemable sinfulness, especially for people who have depressive symptoms and are prone to depressive patterns,” says Dr. Fallot, editor of Spirituality and Religion in Recovery from Mental Illness (Jossey-Bass, 1998). “They can start ruminating on things that have gone wrong and see them as signs of moral or spiritual weakness.”

Overall, the article concludes that spirituality can play a positive role in treatment and mental health professionals are recognizing that.

"Today, however, studies and educational trends suggest that an increasing number of mental health professionals are understanding better the spiritual factors that can impact a person’s well-being, and are more open to addressing spirituality with their patients."

To read the article in full, click here. For more information on mental illness, visit the NAMI Southwestern Pennsylvania website.