Spirituality and Survivorship

Spirituality means different things to different people. For some, spirituality is linked to a religious faith. For other people, spirituality is about the personal beliefs that bring comfort, meaning, and purpose to their lives.

However you define spirituality, studies show that it can play an important role in coping with the recovery and healing process from cancer treatment and its after effects.

Spirituality can be expressed in many ways: in a traditional house of worship, out in nature, or through involvement in the arts or community events, for example. And there are many activities that can help you nurture your spiritual side, such as prayer, meditation, and reflection.

It is not uncommon for people diagnosed with cancer to question why the illness happened to them and to search for meaning in the experience. Reading spiritual texts, writing in a journal, blogging about your experiences can be ways to explore your questions and beliefs about meaning and faith. If you do not feel the need to seek answers or find special meaning in your experience, that is okay, too.

Like any serious illness, cancer can challenge the foundations of a survivor’s religious faith or spirituality. If that is the case for you, you may find it helpful to speak about your feelings with a clergy person of your faith. Or you may wish to talk with someone at an interfaith center if you would rather speak with someone outside your own tradition. Many faiths also have written materials available on how to cope with a spiritual crisis.