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The Happy Wellness Room

The following are symptoms of spiritual distress, according to Crossroads Hospice and Palliative Care (2018):

  • Feelings of anger or hopelessness

  • Feelings of depression and anxiety

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Feeling abandoned by God

  • Questioning the meaning of life or suffering

  • Questioning beliefs or sudden doubt in spiritual or religious beliefs

  • Asking why this situation occurred

  • Seeking spiritual help or guidance

Spiritual Wellness

Spirituality includes religion and our interactions with the people around us: our family, friends, coworkers, customers, neighbors, the guy in last night’s news. It governs how we treat people, and what we value. It includes whether we believe in a higher power and whether we feel connected to a greater purpose. Bozek et al., (2020) wrote that spirituality is directly associated with psychological well-being. McKim (2013) defined spirituality as “how people ought to live, what is important in human life, how we ought to treat others, and what we owe others” (McKim, 2013, para. 1). Yet another definition (APA, 2023) describes a sensitivity to “things of the spirit”, a concern for God, and may or may not include practicing a religion.

In 2018, Luciano Vitorino conducted a study that showed individuals with high levels of spirituality and religiousness were more correlated to better psychological, social relationships, optimism, and happiness than those who had either spirituality or religiousness alone or neither.  He explains that religiousness and spirituality help a person deal with stressful situations such as fear, anguish, sadness, fury, and anger.  Those who practice spirituality and religiousness also have a better quality of life and fewer occurrences of mental health impairment (Vitorino, 2018).  Vitorino also found [the participants] have strong community ties within their church or organization; they are often heavily involved within their community by offering assistance and recreation (Conclusion). 


Spiritual stress occurs when we are conflicted about our beliefs and values. Often, we can experience spiritual conflict after a sudden loss, traumatic news or event, or extended hard times. Spiritual stress can also come in the form of pressure from peers, coworkers, family, and others who have different systems of value and beliefs, especially when those values are forced onto others. Spiritual dysfunction is an extreme disruption in someone’s belief or value system (Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association, 2013). When a person’s spiritual stress grows so much that they are “no longer able to find meaning, peace, comfort, strength, or connection in life”, the stress level has crossed into serious territory that must be handled carefully.

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