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What is Spiritual Thinking & How Does It Help?

Updated: Jul 30, 2023

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year, 1 in 20 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year, and 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24. Fortunately, mental health treatments—therapy, medication, self-care—have a profound impact on a person’s ability to cope and live with mental illness.

At Pathfinders Pastoral Care Ministries, our Christian counselors specialize in helping individuals prioritize and improve their mental wellbeing, and one of the ways we do this is by helping them think Spiritually. But, what does that mean?

In order for Spiritual thinking to be impactful, it’s important to understand what it is and how it helps.

Understanding Spiritual Thinking

Our typical way of thinking is often negative, humanistic, and selfish. In turn, these negative thoughts can contribute to mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, stress, and low self-esteem.

The key to changing this negative thought pattern is to recognize how you think (and the problems that result), and use strategies to change these thoughts. Spiritual thinking is one of these strategies which harnesses the power of God in our lives.

Spiritual thinking approaches thinking in a different way than we have been conditioned to do. It takes God’s Word to a deeper level; you’re not just reading it, you’re unlocking its meaning and applying it to your life.

The Impact of Spiritual Thinking

The connection between spirituality and better health outcomes is not a new discovery. “In fact, many studies associate spirituality with increased quality of life. A meta-analysis performed by the American Cancer Society’s Study of Cancer Survivors found that spirituality was an independent predictor of a better quality of life and emotional well-being. A separate analysis of this same data found that faith contributed a significant amount to cancer survivors’ functional quality of life—with nearly 70% of participants reporting that religion and spirituality helped them through their cancer experience (Harvard Medical School).

In addition, other studies based on brain scans showed spiritual thoughts activated parts of the brain associated with greater blood flow, lower stress hormones, and emotional responses like bonding with others.

How to Think Spiritually

Spiritual thinking, like any habit, needs to be established and practiced. If you are notorious for negative thinking, adjusting this thought process will take time, so start small. This can be as simple as spending 5-10 minutes every morning or evening reading Scripture.

Spiritually thinking also requires commitment and practice. You will not replace negative thoughts and moments of frustration with spirituality over night. You must commit mindful attention to your thoughts, emotions, and behavior to find experiences in spirituality.

“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” - Romans 8:5-63

Over time, individuals who practice Spiritual thinking build deeper relationships - with themselves, those around them, and God. In addition, it “can help [people] deal with stress by giving [them] a sense of peace, purpose, and forgiveness. It often becomes more important in times of emotional stress or illness (WebMD).”

We invite you to contact Pathfinders Pastoral Care Ministries if you or someone you love is ready to embrace Spiritual thinking and overcome negative thoughts and habits.


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