Spirituality a source of flourishing for most Australians

But levels of happiness fall

Most Australians believe there is a connection between spirituality and wellbeing, and that using spiritual practices during tough times is important, findings of NCLS Research show.

Nearly seven in ten Australians thought spiritual practices were important during the recent national crises of COVID and the devastating bushfires, according to the latest Australian Community Survey (ACS) conducted by NCLS Research.

“Late last year we learned that around half of Australians were drawing on spiritual practices,” NCLS Research’s Director Ruth Powell said.

“I imagine the devastating March floods would have seen people relying on spiritual resources in similar ways.”

The three most appealing spiritual practices chosen from a suggested list of options were spending time in nature or outdoors, listening to uplifting music, and expressions of prayer, meditation or mindfulness.

However, around a quarter of Australians said they either had no one to call on for support when they needed it or were unsure about who to call.

“Stress levels generally were higher in November 2021 than 12 months earlier,” Dr Powell said.

“COVID-19 might not be a new phenomenon but stress levels have climbed. According to our findings, more than half of Australians are moderately stressed.”

Conversely, in late 2020, 86 percent scored at least 5 out of 10 for being generally happy with their lives. But one year later that figure dropped to 79 percent.

The ACS compares the attitudes of church attenders and the wider community on a range of social issues, tracks religiosity, and evaluates how the Australian community views churches in society.

NCLS operates the largest and longest-running survey of local churches in the world and has tracked the life of the Australian church and its attenders for more than 30 years. Its latest NCLS survey is taking submissions until 31 March.