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Spirituality means something different to everyone. Your definition of spirituality may change with your age and life experiences, making it a constantly evolving notion. Many people define spirituality as an awareness of something greater than the individual self, beliefs about the meaning of life, or belief in a higher power. Regardless of how you define it, spirituality can be a source of peace, purpose, support and connectedness to others.
Spirituality also has many forms of expression. For instance, some people may practice spirituality through organized religion, prayer, meditation, silent observation, spending time with nature, creative outlets (i.e., art, music), and/or serving others. Spirituality can be practiced alone, or in a community setting (i.e., a church, temple, mosque, etc); and can depend on an individual's cultural or religious traditions.
It is not uncommon to experience spiritual distress during times of illness, such as cancer. You may question your beliefs or religious values, or suffer a loss of faith and a feeling of hopelessness after being diagnosed. You may wonder why this is happening to you, or doubt that your prayers are being answered. Even still, your feelings may waver from day to day. Aside from the physical and emotional side of cancer, it is also important to address the spiritual dimension of the disease.
Nurturing your spiritual well-being during cancer care may help you cope better with the disease. In response to this need, many medical institutions now include spirituality and prayer as important components of patient care, and offer on-site chapels and pastoral care staff.
During cancer care, spiritual well-being may improve your quality of life in the following ways:
As you undergo cancer treatment, you may draw upon spirituality for understanding, wisdom and strength. Overall, a strong spiritual foundation may help turn despair into hope, fear into courage, loneliness into connectedness, helplessness into power, and brokenness into wholeness.
NOTE: THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR CANCER TREATMENT. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH PROVIDER REGARDING DECISIONS ABOUT YOUR TREATMENT.
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