January 23, 2020
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Difference Between Religion & Spirituality, with Dr. Patty Van Cappellen

And so you mentioned the practices you
know so we have religious practices and we might also have a spirituality
spiritual practices. Is there a difference between one and the other? So
I think well spiritual practices it’s kind of more fuzzy term because it’s
hard to know exactly what spiritual but not religious people would do. I think
many people who would call themselves spiritual might practice meditation
although I wouldn’t say on the other hand that meditation is a spiritual
practice but I think many people who are spiritual do practice meditation. So
there are some differences between religious practices like going to church
and then meditation which might have to do with just a social support the
community that’s present so I think there are some differences. But in my
work I’ve been mostly interested in what’s similar between the two and how
the two kind of help people find meaning be connected to people directly around
us but also in meditation can be to a larger circle and and to also experience
positive emotion. So there have been a lot of research showing that going to
church increased social support increase meaning but there hadn’t been a lot of
research on positive emotion which was kind of surprising to me because I think
for many people going to church is also a source of joy and we know that
positive emotion you know builds health and well-being. And is it true that
religious seem to have a higher level of happiness than non-religious folks?
Yeah yeah there is some research showing that religious people are happier they
live longer they’re more satisfied with their life so obviously researchers have started wondering why is that why is that? Yes why is that? That’s why you teased a part the question of religion versus spirituality because spirituality is that kind of that bigger
amorphis thing that’s even hard to get your arms wrapped around. Yeah one specific
research we did was to investigate people who go to church every Sunday and so we asked them to but to report how they felt while attending church and
report their positive emotions how connected they fell to you know their
fellow church members and how how much meaning they derived from going to the
church service and what we found is that above and beyond social supporting
meaning feeling more positive emotion during the church service predicted
greater well-being. So it is an important component and ingredient of religious
practices. But also we did something very similar among meditation practitioner
and we found that this relation between spirituality and well-being also is
explained through more positive emotions derived from meditation. So really the positive emotion that one can derive from their religious or
spiritual practice is really helping them in increasing well-being.

Jean Kelley