Religion and Mental health
The relationship between religion and mental health has not always been clear. Interestingly, there are tons of research which have been conducted to examine the exact link between the two. Most of these studies revealed a positive relationship between positive religious beliefs and mental health. However other studies also indicate that negative religious beliefs can have damaging effects on an individual’s mental health.
Positive impacts of Religion on Mental health
Religion provides an environment where people have something to believe and associate with. It also gives one a sense of purpose and meaning in life which helps them to cope better with stress. According to Koenig, religion gives one a community of people who subscribe to similar beliefs who are ready to help and encourage you through ant stressful times. This gives one a feeling of assurance.
Studies also show that religion can help in reducing tension and anxiety. Research has associated most religious people with being calm and less reactionary. Through mediation, particularly meditative prayers that involve repeating certain words is believed to activate certain parts of the brain. This minimizes negative tendencies such as self-blame and anxiety. Religious mediation is also believed to enhance a positive internal locus of control which helps an individual to develop a more stable and beneficial approach towards problems.
In addition, most religious teachings advocate for abstinence from unhealthy behaviors. Acts such as prostitution, smoking, and alcoholism. Abstaining from these vices have a positive impact on mental wellbeing.
Lastly, research has also tied religious people to have a better and stable brain function. Most religious beliefs also advocate for compassion and forgiveness. These actions and practices get integrated into one’s brains and ultimately becomes their way of life.
Negative impacts of religious devotion
Religion also have negative impacts on mental health. For instance, there are religions that advocate hate and isolation towards nonbelievers. Eventually, Such beliefs will be integrated into the brain. The brain of such a person will always think about hate. This can ultimately stimulate the brain to release stress and anxiety hormones which can be detrimental to mental health.
Some people believe that certain health conditions like addiction and disability are a punishment from God. Such people also believe that certain situations mean that God has abandoned them. They might begin to question him rather than taking a positive approach towards improving themselves.
So basically, the impacts depend on the nature of religious beliefs and practices. However, it remains unknown as to why and how people endorse positive or negative religious views.
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