This Is Your Brain On Spirituality: A Psychiatrist Explains



First thing’s first: Before cultivating a sense of spirituality, you must define what spirituality means to you. It’s a different path for everyone—according to Yusim, “The way that I define it is a connection to something greater than oneself.”

For some, it’s God or religion; for others, it could be nature. Yusim even states that “a sense of interconnectedness, your collective unconscious, or even a set of transcendent values that help to elevate hope, trust, and perseverance” all fall under the umbrella of spirituality. “All of those are different ways of having a spiritual connection, but all equally powerful.” 

The next step, she notes, is to surrender to that higher power—whatever it may be. “At the end of the day, it’s having to sit with difficult emotions,” she explains. Yusim finds meditation helpful—it allows her to connect with that greater force—as well as a journaling practice: She sits with her emotions for 20 minutes, twice a day, and writes about her experience afterwards. “Expression is also, for me, a powerful way of letting go.”

You don’t have to follow that same regimen (whatever works for you, works!), but the kicker here is teaching yourself to be OK with uncertainty—embrace it, even. “Life isn’t always joyful and peaceful. Life is also crazy and full of uncertainty, fear, anxiety, and doubt,” Yusim says. “It’s in looking within and finding that source of strength that we often didn’t know existed and tapping into that stillness—that’s what helps people get through.”

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