The Intersection of Psychology and Spirituality

What is Mental Health?

Mental health appears at times to be a controversial subject matter. I feel that people are stuck between societies expectations and their own psyches expectations of themselves.

In Current concepts of positive mental health by Marie Jahoda, I read that it is not proper to speak of a ‘sick society’ or ‘sick community’. Even as the social environment and culture may contribute to sickness or health, the characteristics produced by the person belongs only to the person.

That is to say, mental health is uniquely individual and personal as it deals with a humans own mind. Unless you are telepathic, which I’m sure some of us are. Of course, you don’t need to be telepathic to have an influence on people. None of us is immune to propaganda.

That being said, of course, I am not here to preach about my own understandings of mental health, rather, I wish to express my knowledge, understanding, and learning.

To me, mental health is the state and condition of my mind, whether good or bad, dependent upon how it affects my everyday life. Depression would be an example of a negative impact if I am bedridden. I think I need to learn more about positive mental health.

What is Spirituality?

Reach Out has a great article about spirituality and how it is different from religion. Religion is an organised practise. Spirituality is individual and negates freedom to the person to develop their own peace and purpose through their chosen means.

I am not anti-religion, but religion does not work for me. I believe in the Universe, and sometimes when I talk to it, I call it God. That is more so because of my Catholic upbringing. It seems strange to call it anything else when I am talking to a higher power. I am sure, if I were to have been raised with Islam or Buddhism, I would refer to the higher power appropriately. I wonder if anyone else does the same?

When I first began to dive into spirituality, it was at a time where I needed a different outlet. I had been seeing my psychologist for four years and had felt I was kind of at a roadblock. It seemed no matter how much I tried to progress with my therapy, I was not able to confide in her anymore.

For some time, our sessions ceased, and I developed an interest in Tarot Cards. I do not read them for others, I don’t think I am talented or gifted enough, but I have found sincere comfort in their messages I have interpreted for myself.

To me, spirituality is my connection with my soul and how I am able to soothe my mind with love I have from my spiritual practices of meditation, journaling, crystal work and my conversations with the Universe.

What's the Connection?

positive soul eastern body

In Eastern Body, Western Mind by Judith Anodea, it connected to me that I was getting in my own way. Since mental health is an individual journey, I was only looking at my mental health as a roadblock. I couldn’t get any further with my mental health because it seemed to me that I had apparently dealt with everything I needed too.

Taken from the Goodreads description, “In Eastern Body, Western Mind, chakra authority Anodea Judith brought a fresh approach to the yoga-based Eastern chakra system, adapting it to the Western framework of Jungian psychology, somatic therapy, childhood developmental theory, and metaphysics… Each chapter focuses on a single chakra, starting with a description of its characteristics, then exploring its particular childhood developmental patterns, traumas and abuses, and how to heal and maintain balance.”

Before I read the book, I was sure there was no connection to mental health other than my working on it. It turns out, I just wasn’t paying attention. I had been so busy paying attention to what was missing, I was ignoring all that I still had to work on. For me, psychology had been tearing down the old house of myself, but I had no idea how to begin to build it again.

My psychologist, I call her my best friend, not to her face, of course. It’s an inside joke between my friends and me, who are not my best friends. Just kidding, just kidding.

While reading the book, I was confronted with all the issues that I still needed to overcome from my childhood. I had done a terrific job of working through triggers and present-day issues, but when confronted with my past, I reverted back to my wounded child and became angry and defensive.

After reading the book, I have a newfound understanding and rejuvenation to my mental health and spiritual journey. To me, it makes sense that the two are incorporated. We live in a conditional world (mental health), but our souls do not (spirituality).

What do you think? 

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