Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Spirituality and Happiness: A Correlated Study

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Spirituality and Happiness: A Correlated Study

Article excerpt

Spirituality is one of the most important source of strength and direction in people's lives. It is a human phenomenon, which exists in almost all people. The term spirituality generally used to denote certain positive inward qualities and perception while avoiding implications of narrow, dogmatic belief and obligatory religions observances (Wulf, 1996). Spirituality is a united quality of mind, heart and soul. It is spirituality concerned with individual subjective experiences, sometimes shared with others. Mitroff (1999) defines spirituality as the "basic feeling of being connected with one's complete self, others and the entire universe.

In 2000, Hill et al defined spirituality as "the feelings, thoughts and behavior that arise from a search for the scared." (That which is set apart from the ordinary and worthy of veneration). This search for the sacred can happen anywhere, anytime because, like flow and mindfulness, spirituality is a state of mind and it is universally accessible. Paigament and Mahoney (2002) also defined spirituality "as a search for the scared " and elaborated "People can take a virtually limitless number of pathways in their attempts to discover and conserve the scared...Pathways involves system of belief that those of traditional organized religions (e.g. Protestant, Roman Catholic, Jewish, Hindus, Budhist, Muslim), new spirituality movements and more individualized world view."

Psychology researches agree with the forgoing definitions of spirituality and there is general support for the belief that spirituality is a positive state of mind, experiences by most of people. Peterron and Seligman (2004) contend that spirituality is a universal strength of transcendence, stating "Although the specific content of spiritual beliefs varies, all cultures have a concept of an ultimate, transcendent, scared and divine force." These pathways to the scared also may be described as spiritual striving, which included personal goals associated with the ultimate concern of purpose, ethics and recognition of transcedents (Emmons, Cheung & Tehrani, 1998). Spirituality is traditionally associated with religion, deities, the supernatural and an after Ufe. It may include existentialism and introspection, and the development of an individual's inner life through practices such as meditation, prayer and contemplation.


In western history, the Greeks are said to have views happiness as the ability "to exercise powers in pursuit of excellence in a life free from constraints (Nisbett, 2003, pp 2-3). In Eastern philosophy, happiness is described as having the "Satisfaction of a plain country life, shared with a harmonious social network" (Nisbett, p 5-6). In Buddhist teaching, when people reach a state of nirvana, they have reached a peacefulness entailing" Complete harmony, balance and equilibrium" (Sangharakshita, 1991). Aristotle believed that euidamonia (human flourishing associated with living a life of virtue), or happiness based on a lifelong pursuit of meaningful development goals, was the key to the good life. America's founders reasoned that the pursuit of happiness just as important as our inalienable rights of life and liberty.

These age old definitions of happiness have had clear influences on the views of 21st century researchers. As a scientific enterprise, positive psychology focuses on understanding and explaining happiness. Happiness is a positive or pleasant emotional state and it is subjectively defined by each person. Happiness refer to both positive feelings such as joy or serenity and to positive states such as those involving flow or absorption. Modem psychology has focused primarily on a post materialistic view of happiness (Diener, et al. 2002) that emphasizes pleasure, satisfaction and life meaning. Seligman (2002) suggests that a pleasant and meaningful life can be built on the happiness that results from us ing our psychological strengths.

Theories ofHappiness

The theories of happiness have been divided into three types:-

* Need/Goal Satisfaction Theory: psychoanalytic and humanistic theorists suggested that the reduction oftension or the satisfaction of needs lead to happiness. …

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