People’s spiritual awareness varies throughout the day, rather than being constant, a new study has found.
Researchers from the University of Connecticut found that people had the highest levels of spiritual awareness in the morning and while engaged in activities such as praying, worship, and meditation.
Spiritual awareness also was high when people listened to music, read, or exercised. It was low while people were doing work-related activities or playing video games.
Being at work reduced spiritual awareness, which the authors measured as self-reported awareness of God, a higher power, or larger ideal.
Those who worked the most appeared to have the lowest awareness. The study also found that the kind of people who watched the news had higher overall spiritual awareness than those who did not; however, the act of watching the news lowered awareness for everyone.
“What surprised us is how much people vary in awareness of God across the day and across activities,” said co-author Bradley R E Wright, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut.
“There is a complex interplay between spiritual awareness and the situation,” Wright said.
“Sometimes the situation you are in affects your spiritual awareness. Other times your spiritual awareness affects the situation you’re in,” Wright said.
This study analyses data from the larger SoulPulse study, which collects data using participants’ smartphones. This experience sampling method allowed researchers to track spiritual awareness in real time during study participants’ normal daily activities.
A total of 2,439 people in the US took two SoulPulse surveys each day for two weeks between November 2013 and May 2015. Wright and his collaborators used that data for their study.
Each daily survey included 15 to 25 randomly selected questions from a larger pool of 120 daily questions.
Although the participants of the study were socially and geographically diverse, the study group is not a representative sample of US because it was limited to people who owned a smartphone and who self-selected into the study, researchers said.
The study will be presented at the 110th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association in Chicago.