Wednesday, July 13, 2016

July 13, 2016 Spirituality & Quality of Life Chat

We were pleased to welcome Meredith Gould (@MeredithGould), writer, sociologist, digital strategist and co-founder and co-moderator of the #hlthsp (Health and Spirituality) chat as our guest for this month's chat on Spirituality & Quality of Life. Our chat had over 1.9 million impressions and 36 participants. You can find the complete analytics here.

Below you will find the questions we used to guide our discussion along with a sample of some of the responses. You can read the complete transcript here. At the end of this post you will find resources shared during the chat as well as other information gathered for the chat.

T1: To frame our discussion: What does spirituality mean to you? How might it differ from religion?
  • Spirituality for me is an understanding that we're part of something bigger than ourselves & connected in ways we can't "see"
  • #spirituality for me is a sense of inner purpose AND feeling connected to the 'universe' at the same time. :)
  • Spirituality is the connection to something greater, religion may help us achieve this
  • @ASCO -“Spirituality is aspect of humanity that refers to way individuals seek & express meaning & purpose &the way they experience connectedness to the moment,to self,to others,to nature, &to the significant or sacred” 
  • Spirituality gets defined in multiple ways but typically refers to realization/awareness of something greater than self. 
T2: How do you personally define "quality of life"? What role does spiritual life or practices play for you?
  • QOL covers a number of different aspects of life - symptom burden, pain, able to perform activities, able to enjoy life!
  • QOL for me = doing/participating in things which bring value to my existence. Gardening, playing w grandkids, just being still
  • QoL for me: Being able to manage gracefully despite health impediments.
  • The greater my spiritual awareness, the better my QoL under all (crappy) conditions.
  • such a great point - our spirituality can help our coping mechanism and ultimately, our quality of life
  • Quality of life is how I feel, what I'm able to do and contribute, being able to be myself, and be a part of the world
T3: What connections have you experienced btwn spirituality and your overall quality of life? Your mental health? Physical health?
  • And so to reverse engineer it: if I'm feeling off mentally/emotionally, I check my spiritual condition
  • When I am in touch w spiritual practices, I am more focused, centered and feel healthier. I can deal with a lot of BS
  • Spirituality, QoL, health all intertwined. Doing my best, then accepting where I fall short.
  • Seems like spirituality gets left out of the healthcare convo but for many patients it is a big part of their life
  • I zoom in on these spiritual practices of being: willingness, curiosity, empathy, generosity, delight 
T4a: What impact has receiving/living with a critical diagnosis had on your spirituality? How about your spiritual practices?
T4b: What impact has your spirituality and spiritual practices had on your experience with a critical diagnosis and treatment?
  • The impact of truly appreciating its inevitable presence and importance in my life. Yes, made me believe in miracles too
  • Relative to chronic illness/pain, I find curiosity is a fabulously helpful useful spiritual practice.
  • I would say my spirituality got stronger in light of my dx. My wonder at ordinary things - flowers, rain, mountains, oceans
  • That's when I started my love for seeing the sun rise and set
  • Well, having spiritual awareness and knowing how to enhance spirituality certainly helps when poop hits the fan o' life.

T5: How/who/what supports your spiritual awareness? What are some helpful digital/social media resources for spiritual support?
  • Lots of valuable groups (some private) on FB that provide communities of spiritual support.
  • Seriously, the best thing was having my first grandchild 3 years ago. Seeing the wonder of life through her eyes.
  • I had a good meditations workshop you could make fit with your own spirituality. Art and music are great spiritual practice
  • Our #hlthsp group isn't super chatty (on purpose) but a nice place to find resources:
  • There are lots of good articles and resources on Mindfulness. Good place to start. 
  • Those free Oprah meditations or the app Calm can be a good starting place

The next #hlthsp chat is Wednesday, July 20th and will be a continuation of the Spirituality and Quality of Life discussion started here. We hope you will join us.

Can't wait until the 20th or want to comment on tonight's discussion? We are on Smart Patients at

The next #gyncsm chat will be on Wednesday, August 10th at 9pm ET when we will discuss Shared Decision Making / Patient-Centered Care with the Patient Empowerment Network  ( See you then.

Co-moderator #gyncsm chat


Desperately Seeking Spirituality by Meredith Gould
The Light Within by Lois Ramondetta, MD and Deborah Sills

Other resources not mentioned during the chat:
ASCO 2016
Spirituality, symptom distress and quality of life of Latin American patients with advanced cancer (LAAdCa): A multicenter study.

Survey of spiritual quality of life among survivorship and distress guidelines.

Just what are spiritual needs of cancer patients? An empirical study in a diverse population.

Spirituality and Palliative Care

ASCO Palliative Care meeting 2015Effect of a spiritual care training program on patient quality of life and spiritual well-being.

Cancer Today Magazine A New Look at Spirituality

How religious and spiritual beliefs relate to cancer patients:physical, mental and social well-being

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