Sample Religious Studies Paper on Resilience and Spirituality

Introduction

Imagine you are out on a hiking trip up the hill. Your map indicates that you will encounter an unavoidable rocky path infested by poisonous snakes and other unfriendly animals along the way. How to make sure that you cross the dangerous part of the journey is a question that can be stressful, and answering it shall determine the success of the trip. Maybe you would enlist the support of a more experienced hiker or even a guide, or you would probably rely on the company of your trusted friends as you plan the trip. Or maybe you would wear safety boots that cover your foot and legs adequately and carry along snake repellant gel. With these tools in place and trusted support, one thing is eventual; you will not only have a successful hike through the dangers of the terrain but also emerge as an experienced, confident, and courageous hiker. Life will not always have a map. It will present itself with dangerous turns and twists from daily challenges to traumatic encounters with long-lasting effects such as loss of loved ones, loss of jobs, financial instability, life-changing accidents, or even life-threatening ailments. Each of these has a different impact on different people bringing strong emotions and uncertainty. However, people have generally adapted well with time to these dire situations, attributed to resilience. Therefore, resilience is the ability to adapt and bounce back from life’s dreadful conditions such as adversity, trauma, depression, tragedy, or any other source of stress (Newell, 2017). On the other hand, Mario Beauregard defines spirituality as, “Any experience that is thought to bring the experiencer into contact with the meaningful divine experience.” It is crucial, therefore, to note that spirituality may incorporate some rudiments of religion only that it narrows down to where one finds meaning, feeling of connection, and how to live life. This paper shall focus on spirituality and resilience, giving details on their interrelations and factors relevant to their success.

Stages of Resilience

Psychologists argue that building resilience is a deliberate and intentional process that individuals must explore to realize a change of status. Leaving it to chance only spells that things might move from worse to worst. This section will highlight five stages of resilience within the dictates of the thesis statement.

Awareness

When you’re dealing with a difficulty in life, for example, stress, trauma, et cetera, you must appreciate that a change is necessary. You find it within yourself that something has to change, and you convince yourself that a difference is essential, not for anyone but to you. This will influence your approach to the problem that one is dealing with and subsequently, a positive change in consciousness. This phase is significant because it sets the stage for the rest and the entire resilience process (Manning, 2013).

Commitment

After becoming aware of the situations and appreciate that a change is necessary, you must decide to make things happen, and that is where commitment comes in. However, many people fail in this phase because after becoming aware of the problem and finding it necessary to change, they try to forget the situation and enter into denial instead of taking action to improve. Others assume that they have nothing to do in their lives make the changes happen. This assumption makes such individuals think that there is no action to take; thus, commitment to change is entirely unnecessary and won’t achieve anything. But the truth is, awareness alone is not enough to make the change. One has to commit to change to move to the next stage (Manning, 2013).

Action

Once one is aware of the situation and is committed to making the change, there is a call for action to realize the changes that one needs. In this phase, there are also several setbacks that people face. That is to say; you find that an individual knows the problem; he or she is committed to making the changes but is just not ready to take action to make those changes. This is usually attributed to uncertainty about the particular action to take, fear, and confusion. But one thing is definite that without effort, we cannot achieve resilience. It is the action we decide to take that brings the changes we want to see in our lives (Newell, 2017).

Acclimation

This is one of the hardest phases in the resilience process because letting go of the past is never easy. Once one has taken action to see the changes he or she wants in life, there Is the importance of letting go of the past that are associated with the situation at hand, accepting and adopting new things. During this stage, people develop an awareness of the old patterns and beliefs that must be let go in favor of the latest trends that brings the changes in our lives. This phase is characterized by uncertainty and doubt that often determines the time taken in it. It always brings a state of dilemma when an individual is caught between the old and the new (Newell, 2017).

 

Realization

This marks the final phase of resilience after the adoption of the new patterns of behavior. At this point, the confusion, dilemma, and uncertainty disappear. Individuals can then enjoy the fruits of their actions and the changes made in the previous phases. A new mindset and enough momentum has been built, and so the individual no longer lives in the past full of denial but the healed present with new ways and patterns. To create the patterns of resilience, namely, Clarifying, Connecting, Creating, and Coping, we must be deliberate and intentional in the change process (Manning, 2013).

Spirituality

Different people hold a different understanding of spirituality. For some, it is a belief in God and actively participating in religion. Others understand it as non-religious experiences that assist one to get connected to their spiritual selves through private prayers, meditation, and time in nature, et cetera (Foy et al., 2011). Psychological researchers have found that who are consistent in spirituality and religion are often in better shape in terms of physical and mental health. Such includes compassion, healthy relationships, and improved self-esteem. Spiritual lives are always connected to better health practices. These include fewer drug and substance abuse, increased ability to deal with stress and depression, and generally successful approaches to life’s problems (Foy et al., 2011)

Relationship between resilience and spirituality

Having discussed spirituality and resilience, we shall now discuss how these two terms interrelate. In this section, we shall be examining how resilience and spirituality interrelate within the dictates of the thesis statement.

Individuals who have gone through painful experiences of psychological breakdown and emerge more definite are said to be resilient. Such people emerge from such situations more spiritual than they were before. This is always informed by the fact that it could be the divine assistance that pulls them through from the bondage of such dire life situations. Therefore, it is safe to admit that in one way or another, resilience builds spirituality. In such cases, these individuals will testify that without God, they would not have made it through (Manning, 2013).

On the other hand, others may acknowledge the power of God during difficult times. They often say that even though things are tough, but God will make them better. And so this contributes to their successful resilience process (Yeung & Martin 2013).

In other situations, individuals may be faced with uncertainty and dilemma. Spirituality helps one to realize that his or her life has a more excellent value and purpose that the common difficulty and risk. With the recognition of life’s value and meaning, one is likely to overcome the fears, dilemmas, and uncertainty discussed in the phases of resilience with the belief in divine powers. As a result, one will be able to take action, let go of the past, embrace new patterns, and achieve the realization stage (Yeung & Martin 2013).

People who have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder are vulnerable members of our society. Such individuals need proper care and healing process. This disorder may be as a result of the inability to recover from witnessing or facing a terrifying event. The symptoms may include trauma, anxiety, self-denial, depression, et cetera. The treatment of this condition is psychotherapy, which may consist of induced resilience to assist victims in accepting their situation and engaging in the healing process. In other instances, doctors are encouraged to promote forgiveness rather than retaliation. At this point, spirituality comes in to provide hope, purpose to life, peace, comfort, and self-forgiveness (Troy & Mauss 2011).

Conclusion

Spirituality and resilience are core practices not only to the trauma victims but to every individual who dares to live a purposeful life. Life is a mystery, with twists and turns that bring unforeseen challenges. Such challenges are part and parcel of this life. As the study has revealed, people with high resilience live better lives, for they can take action and change what needs to be changed, cope with what is unchangeable for the sake of their happiness. Spirituality comes in to strengthen an individual during the journey of resilience. It gives meaning and reason for being reliable and soldiering on – As the serenity prayer states, God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

 

 

 

 

 

References

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Manning, L. K. (2013). Navigating Hardships in Old Age: Exploring the Relationship Between

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https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732312471730

Newell, J. M. (2017). Cultivating professional resilience in direct practice: A guide for human service professionals. Columbia University Press.

Troy, A., & Mauss., I. (2011). Resilience in the face of stress: Emotion regulation as a protective

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Yeung, D., & Martin, M. (2013). Spiritual Fitness and Resilience: A Review of Relevant

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2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/j.ctt5hhv6n