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Spirituality, Beliefs, and Values

Woman sitting in a yoga pose
Credit: iStock

Spirituality is how you view the world and define your place in it. It’s a sense of connection to something bigger than yourself. Being spiritual is deeply personal and can mean different things to different people.

A brain or spine tumor diagnosis may make you reflect on your spirituality and purpose in life. Understanding your beliefs and values and meditating are ways that can help you find a deeper connection and purpose.

Your Beliefs and Values

A belief is having trust, faith, or confidence in something. Values are long-lasting beliefs.

Knowing your beliefs and values can help give you direction on the person you want to be and the choices you make. This allows you to determine how you want to live your life.

A brain or spine tumor diagnosis can distract or deter you from your beliefs and values. You may be too busy with appointments to think about them or you may be discouraged by your diagnosis. But focusing on your beliefs and values may help you maintain your spirituality and achieve your life’s purpose.

Tips to Focus on Your Values and Beliefs

  • Ask yourself these questions:
    • What do I believe in?
    • What do I want to do with my life?
    • How do I want to treat myself and others?
  • Find activities that reflect your values. For example, volunteer, spend time with your loved ones, or practice your faith.
  • Try to simplify your schedule. Remove unnecessary tasks to give you time to reflect and prioritize your values.
  • Take a time-out from things that negatively influence the way you think and feel. Negative thinking can deter you from your purpose.
  • Make a vision board to display pictures that represent whatever you want to be, do, or have in your life.
  • Try to set clear, firm boundaries with people or in situations that don’t align with your values.

If you had a personal mission statement that included your values, think about what it would be. You could even write it in a journal or somewhere where you see it often. Your lifestyle should be driven by your beliefs and values. This can help you live life with purpose and be happy.

I try not to let myself get caught up in the little things or the everyday worries, I do my best to try and see the bigger picture every day.

Jered, Oligodendroglioma Survivor

Resources

Meditation

Spirituality can be expressed through meditation. Meditation is a mind–body practice in which you focus your attention on something, such as an object, word, phrase, or breathing, to help you find comfort and meaning. Meditation can rewire your brain to help increase positive outlook, improve calmness and relaxation, and enhance self-awareness. It can also benefit your overall health.

Meditation Tips

  • Talk with your doctor or physical therapist about what types of meditation you can do.
  • Start with two to three minutes of meditation when you feel negative or stressed. Try longer sessions as you get comfortable.  
  • Set a goal for how many times a week you would like to meditate. Maybe start with one or two times each week. Skip days you feel physically unwell. Be mindful of what your body needs, which could be rest.
  • Find a quiet location to sit and lie comfortably. Close your eyes, clear your mind, and breathe naturally.
    • Focus your attention on your breathing and how the body moves when you inhale and exhale without controlling the pace or intensity. If your mind wanders, return your focus back to your breath.
  • Learn new techniques from a trained specialist, or educational video or app.

Examples of Ways You Can Meditate

Here are some examples of easy meditation exercises to get you started. There are other ways to meditate and these are just some of them.

  • Yoga meditation: Engages both the mind and body. It works your primary muscle groups while you focus on breathing techniques.
  • If you like yoga, start with the yoga poses you’re comfortable with, holding each pose for a few slow breaths before moving to the next one. This helps you be aware of your body and to be present in the moment.  
  • Tree meditation: Helps you become grounded and changes your perspective or alters how you’re feeling.
    • Imagine your feet growing roots into the ground, your abdomen is the trunk held up by your legs and branches are growing from your upper body and arms.
  • Tension release meditation: Helps you relax every muscle in your body.
    • Start with your feet and scan up your body, slowly tensing each body part for three to five seconds before relaxing it.

Making time regularly for meditation can help maximize its benefits for your health and wellness.

Resources

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