Monday, May 29, 2023
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Spirituality Can Increase Hope and Optimism

Some people refer to themselves as religious while others prefer to call themselves spiritual and that got me thinking—what’s the difference?

Religion typically refers to a set of beliefs that involves worship of a God or higher power, while spirituality can be thought of as a set of values which a person a person chooses to live up to. It’s often defined as a sense of peace or purpose, as well as beliefs about the meaning of life. Historically, organized religions have regarded spirituality as a vital aspect of their beliefs and teachings. While religion and spirituality and essentially go hand in hand, you do not need to belong to a particular religion in order to be spiritual.

It’s not unusual for women living with a serious illness or chronic condition to find themselves questioning their religious beliefs or having mixed feelings about their spirituality. I definitely went through the whole, “Why me?” phase when I began having seizures and was eventually told I have temporal lobe epilepsy.

Aim for a Positive Attitude

Other women take the opposite approach: Their faith and beliefs help improve their outlook on life. Whether you consider yourself religious, spiritual or neither of the two, a positive attitude about the hand you’ve been dealt can work wonders. Spiritual and religious well-being can help decrease anxiety and feelings of isolation and can increase positive feelings such as hope and optimism.

It seemed next to impossible at first, but I’ve started to realize that optimism can help me get through rough patches in my life. One of my grandmothers passed away in 2005 and I began having seizures later that year. My other grandmother passed away in early 2006 but I did not travel to her funeral because of my fear of being away from home while my seizures were not yet controlled. My brother was deployed to Iraq immediately afterward, and he was killed in action in 2007.

Just when it seemed like things could not get any worse, I learned that I was finally going to have my baby girl. She has given me so much joy, and helped me realize that “this too shall pass.” I hope you can also have a healthy outlook on life, whatever you’re dealing with at the moment.


The informational content of this article is intended to convey general educational
information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

This article is intended to convey general educational information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.


  1. Brigitte Estelle Gaudreault

    Dear Melissa,
    How are you and how are things going today ?
    With that said , I can imagine how much you love life, your daughter and love every second you have to experience!
    I know that you wrote this in 2010, but I am hoping that you do talk to others and write to reach out to everyone and anyone because you have a gift for thinking and writing so peacefully, positively and it is awesome !
    Keep writing Melissa we need more ♥ HEROES ♥ like you !!

    With love from Canada,
    Brigitte Estelle xxx
    I would be so honored if you could take a moment to write to my sister Diane Gaudreault in the Non Hodgkins Lymphoma section under Brigitte Estelle fights like a girl for her sister!
    Keep fighting like a girl Melissa!

    • Lois

      Full of salient points. Don’t stop beinevlig or writing!

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