Religion is a social system in which members of a group follow a common set of beliefs and practices. Often these beliefs have practical implications that guide members’ daily lives. For example, a group may follow a particular dress code or moral code. Members may also perform certain actions mandated by a supernatural being.
The goal of spirituality is to promote love and goodwill in the world. Whether it is through a faith or personal convictions, spiritual people choose to act with integrity and do what is right. In contrast to religion, which often threatens punishment for breaking its rules, spirituality does not threaten punishment. Its doctrines often include the principle of karma, or cause and effect. Having good intentions will lead to happiness in the future, while bad intentions will result in suffering.
Spirituality can be defined as the search for meaning and purpose in life, as well as a personal connection to a transcendent reality. For some, this experience is a religious one, while others may seek to connect to nature or God. In either case, the goal is the same: to create a peaceful world and eliminate suffering.
A growing body of research examines the role of religion and spirituality in a person’s well-being. The results of these studies show that religious practices have positive effects on many psychosocial and health outcomes.