SPIRITUALITY AND RELIGIOUS PRACTICES

Spirituality is a big part of all human life.  It can give life meaning and purpose.  It can exist whether or not a person has any formal religious background.  People who have been faced with cancer often have questions and concerns of a spiritual nature.  You may ask questions such as: Why me?  Why now?  Where is God or a higher power in my life?  Cancer is more than a health issue—cancer can have an effect on the human spirit, mind, and the body.   Having one’s life changed by cancer often raises spiritual and religious concerns, or draws you closer in your faith.  While some feel their spiritual life becomes stronger as a result of their illness, others find that new beliefs and faith keep them going.  This Tip Sheet provides you with some thoughts about how to look at your spiritual needs and concerns.

  • Be aware of the spiritual nature of your being.  Spiritual and religious practices such as going to a service, spending time with others who share the same beliefs, and prayer, meditation, and listening or singing songs may provide you with comfort.
  • Seek out someone you trust, a pastor, priest, elder or clergy who can offer support.  Think about your need to have someone listen and care.  Also think about who will help you with advice, prayer, rituals and religious practices.
  • During times when doubt and fear is greatest, the knowing of a higher power or God in your life may be a great comfort.
  • Read religious or spiritual books.  Listen to recordings, music and readings to gain inner meaning and depth in your spiritual life.
  • If you belong to a spiritual or religious group or community, seek activities such as support, fellowship, and community prayer for comfort.

When Do You Need To Seek Help?
Seeking the advice, comfort, and help of a spiritual or religious advisor is your choice.  When you have concerns or feelings that you need help to deal with, that is the time to contact them.

Useful websites:
For healthcare providers: National Cancer Institute: Spirituality in cancer care
About.com: 10 ways to grow your spirit:
Finding comfort in Spirituality
American Cancer Society

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