Tiffany McGee, founder of Nomadrs.com, says even as beliefs shift, faith is still a strong cornerstone of society:
“Spirituality can be tricky to describe, and can significantly overlap with religion.
“Whilst religion has a more organized set of beliefs and practices, spirituality is more of a personal and individual practice.
“What’s certain is that the overwhelming majority of the world does have some form of faith in a higher power.”
Statistics point to spirituality being on the rise, with the increase of spirituality potentially coming at the expense of organized religion.
From 2012 to 2017 research shows there was an 8% increase in people in the US who say they are spiritual. Over the same period of time, the number of U.S. adults who identify as religious dropped by 11%.
Spirituality seems to be more popular in the US (where 75% identify as spiritual) in comparison to Western Europe (where only 35% do).
However, as Tiffany McGee explains, there is evidence some of those differences being down to how one defines it:
“Interestingly, even within countries where many people do not identify as either religious or spiritual — such as Norway, Finland, Belgium, Denmark, and the Netherlands — the vast majority of people do still believe they have a soul (on average, 65% of people).”
“It seems to suggest that even if people do not consider themselves as spiritual, they still have some beliefs that could be certainly classed as spiritual. For example, even though only 21% of Norwegians say they are spiritual, 70% still said they believe they have a soul.”
Other notable key findings include:
• Canada, Italy, and India are the three most spiritual countries in the world
• 75% of Americans are spiritual and Americans are becoming more spiritual over time
• 28% of Americans claim the pandemic has boosted their religious faith, compared to 14% of people worldwide
• 58% of people worldwide are interested in living a more spiritual life
The health benefits of being spiritual
The benefits of embracing spirituality have been clearly documented by science.
“Analysis of 42 independent studies reported that religious involvement is linked to living longer. Spirituality has also been scientifically linked to lower instances of depression, lower blood pressure, and higher levels of psychological resilience and positive emotions.”
Ultimately research suggests that an individual’s spiritual practices can influence physical as well as mental wellbeing.