What is spiritual distress?

Spiritual distress is an outcome of spiritual struggle, which is defined as having high spiritual needs and low spiritual resources with which to address those needs. Spiritual distress occurs when a person is experiencing the following:
  • struggling with such issues as the meaning of life, death, or their belief system
  • feeling angry towards God, a higher power, or the universe
  • dealing with questions about pain and suffering 
  • feeling as though one is being punished by or abandoned in the midst of their illness or pain

Spiritual distress may come from not being able to participate in spiritual or religious activities that have been important to you. You may not feel comfortable with the changes that your chronic pain has brought to your life.

Chronic pain is an experience not just of your body but also your mind and spirit; the three work together. By focusing on all three areas you will be able to find the best ways to manage your pain.

If you are experiencing spiritual distress, remember that it can be an absolutely normal feeling for someone who is living with chronic pain. It is important that you find support and resources that will help you to manage and reduce your distress. If you have a spiritual or religious leader, he or she might be the person you feel most comfortable with in discussing these feelings.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.