What does spirituality even mean?
When you hear the word spirituality, the concepts of church, meditation, and prayer may come to mind. But this post takes a broader view of spirituality because there are as many ways to define it as there are to practice it.
Surprisingly, there is no widely agreed-upon definition of spirituality. The Oxford English Dictionary says it is “the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.” Meanwhile, Merriam-Webster frames it as “something that in ecclesiastical law belongs to the church or to a cleric as such.”
When trying to explain something so complex and nuanced, it can be helpful to look at a word’s origins. The word spirit comes from the Old French word espirit meaning “animating or vital principle in man and animals.” Espirit, in turn, comes from the Latin word spiritus, which is related to the word spirare (to breathe).
These related ideas and definitions might conjure up the idea of “animating breath,” and because breath is vital to human life, so too is spirituality. At its core, spirituality is about generating an awareness of the universe and our to something bigger than ourselves. But as a person with acromegaly, you may find connection itself a big challenge. You may feel like withdrawing from your old life or friends and family to hide your symptoms or avoid uncomfortable questions. However, shrinking your life can make you feel lonely and decrease your overall wellbeing, or how satisfied you are with your life—an important overall health metric according to the CDC. The practice of cultivating spirituality can nourish your body, mind, and soul, re-establish that missing sense of connection, and enhance your wellbeing. This is especially important for people dealing with a rare or chronic disease, who are more prone to anxiety and depression.