The spirituality of an aging generation (Baby Boomers) is increasingly acknowledged and has been throughout history. Many of this generation’s spirituality is based upon religious creed association or personal relationships with their own spiritual source. They constitute a multitude of philosophical ideologies that either agree or disagree with each other about the characteristics of spiritual health, wellness, and illness. There are dimensions and holistic flow approach of Spiritual Wellness proving acceptable in some groups and inappropriate for groups with different values. Measuring and assessing Spiritual Wellness is also beginning to be explored. Spiritual Wellness is one aspect of health that has been overlooked during our national debate about healthcare; but it is an integral part of leading a balanced life.
Spirituality has become a prominent subject in the media and various professions and disciplines, including psychology, sociology, education, health care, social work, and corrections. Many efforts to evaluate and measure components like Spiritual Wellness and spiritual maturity have accompanied its growing popularity (Moberg, 2002).
Despite its growing popularity, the concept of spirituality is muddied by the broad range of definitions that are related to and linked with it in popular parlance, including widespread use of the noun “spirit” and the adjective “spiritual” to denote an ever increasing expansion of expressions. Winning a sports event, enjoying nature, seeing a sunset, eating “heavenly food,” and euphoric experiences of happiness, beauty, altruism, eroticism, and other feelings are labeled “spiritual.” There also is “sheer— and exponentially exploding— panoply of various regimes, techniques, spiritual therapies, and groups available in any large or middle sized American city” (Coleman, 1997, p. 9.).
There has been an increase in interest regarding spirituality in both the general and religious cultures of the United States for the past three decades. Some have even described this period as the Fourth Great Awakening in our history. Not surprising, over the past several years there have been several calls from scholars to integrate religious and/or spiritual education into the university curriculum at the national level.
The upsurge in societal interest in spiritual matters possible reflects a desire to being balance and harmony to a culture that has placed too much emphasis on material empiricism and consumerism – to the detriment of body, mind, and spirit. As spiritual health definition, theory, and practice become more firmly established, health educators will be in a good position to help restore that balance in such a way that “the outward and inward man [may] be at one (Socrates, Phaedrus 379)” (Hawks, Hull, Thalman, & Richin, 1995).
Coleman, J. A. (1997). Exploding spiritualities: Their social causes, social location and social divide. Christian Spirituality Bulletin, 5(1), 9–15.
Hawks, S. R., Hull, M. L., Thalman, R. L., & Richin, P. M. (1995, May-June 9). Review of spiritual health: definition, role, and intervention strategies in health promotion. American Journal Health Promotion, (5), 371-8.
Moberg, D. O. (2002, January). Assessing and measuring spirituality: Confronting dilemmas of universal and particular evaluative criteria. Special issue: Spirituality and adult development. Journal of Adult Development, 9(1), 47-60.
Series 2 of 8, Part 1
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