We all know that spirituality is good for the soul, but what about the mind? According to a study published in the Journal of Religion and Heath, it turns out that spirituality benefits the mind as much as the soul.
Researchers at the University of Missouri conducted a study based on people from various religious groups, including Buddhists, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and Protestants.
They were asked questions about their perceived level of spirituality, and they had inquiries about their personality, their mental and physical health.
Overall, the study found that among all the beliefs studied, a higher degree of spirituality resulted in better mental health. Trends towards emotional imbalance, anxiety, and other neuroses were much weaker in these spiritually oriented groups.
Spiritual people also had higher levels of extraversion and social behavior.
Trends towards emotional imbalance, anxiety, and other neuroses were much lower among spiritual-minded groups.
Spirituality promotes mental health because it helps people to distance themselves from themselves and their personal problems. Essentially, spirituality helps to fight egocentrism and to inspire consideration for others. Spiritually oriented people also have a greater sense of community and kinship with others and the whole Universe.
Despite the different beliefs and religious practices, all subjects claimed a connection with the divine or higher power. Although a Buddhist and a Christian can approach it differently, this “consciousness of unity” is always sought and appreciated.
Dan Cohen, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at MU University and co-author of the study:
“In many ways, the results of our study support the idea that spirituality acts as a personality trait. In fact, it goes beyond religious beliefs and moral practice and becomes truly an integral part of a person’s character.”
Dan Cohen also stated that the study revealed that the links between spirituality, religion, health, and personality were not directly affected by the frequency of church attendance or participation in religious activities. And neither by the feeling of involvement or support of the congregation.
Dan Cohen also noted that previous studies have revealed a link between a patient’s mental health and recovery based on their spiritual beliefs. People with serious health problems, such as brain injury, stroke, or cancer, functioned better mentally if they had strong positive spiritual beliefs. In this case, however, a prayer booklet and prayer itself have had a noticeable effect on the mental health of patients.
In addition, Dan Cohen discusses the relationship between spirituality and stress. Based on these studies, it seems that a person’s beliefs can help him emotionally. Faith is often used as a ‘coping mechanism’ to enable people to overcome stressful situations, such as a traumatic experience or a serious illness.
Be that as it may, there is quantifiable evidence that spirituality has a positive impact on a person’s mental health. Evidence of the power that faith can have over a person’s life, which humans have experienced for centuries, is finally emerging in the context of theoretical studies.
Understanding that spirituality can improve mental health can even go beyond the results of research studies.
This information could help therapists and rehabilitation centers personalize their programs by including spiritual methods. Being aware of a patient’s spiritual beliefs could help facilitate healing.
The introduction of such concepts encourages a more global vision of body, mind, and soul.