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Faith and Health: Health Benefits of Religion

  1. Whether you are religious or not, many people have wondered at one time or another how faith in God, or a lack of faith in God, affects health. Some people intuitively assume that belief is healthy, while others assume that it does a person more harm than good. Research suggests that there is a relationship between a person's religious beliefs and the feelings that accompany them, and their physical and mental well-being. This may be due to other lifestyle choices, for example. For example, those who never go to church are three times more likely to smoke than those who attend church every week. In short, there are some fascinating findings about the relationship between religion / faith and health.

Relationship between faith and health

  1. Research suggests that there is a relationship between a person's religious beliefs and the feelings that accompany them, and his or her physical and mental well-being. Professor Andrew Sims says: “The positive effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best kept secrets of psychiatry and general medicine. demonstrated, if religion had been discovered to be harmful to mental health, it would have made the front page of all national newspapers. "[!2]

Religion, healthy behavior and well-being

  1. Overall well-being From a huge Gallup poll of more than 676,000 Americans (who were surveyed by phone on a variety of topics), Jews and Mormons came out on top in terms of their well-being. [!3] The questions could be divided into six categories:

Healthy behavior

  1. The most substantial differences between the highly religious and non-religious groups can be found in the 'healthy behavior' category. The major difference between those who are religious and non-religious on the healthy behavior index is largely due to differences in smoking habits and to a lesser extent to healthy eating habits. There are a number of factors that can contribute to the healthier lifestyle choices of highly religious Americans. Some of these factors are likely the direct result of religious doctrines, including rules regarding smoking and drug use. For example, Seventh Day Adventists strictly adhere to a vegetarian lifestyle that is free of alcohol and smoking, while Orthodox Mormons and Muslims do not drink alcohol. In some Christian denominations gluttony and laziness are considered two of the seven deadly sins, and many gospel denominations frown upon drinking alcohol and smoking. The Bible indicates that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. These views can help understand the relationship between religious orthodox doctrines and lifestyle choices. [!5]

Religious thoughts can reduce stress in believers

  1. A study published in the journal Psychological Science in August 2010 used brainwaves to detect stress among the respondents and investigated whether the level of stress was influenced by religious thoughts. [!6] A group of participants were given an exercise that put God-related thoughts in their heads, and there was a control group.

Belief in a Caring God Can Help Treat Depression

  1. Believing in a caring God can have a positive effect on the treatment of depression, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology in 2010. [!7] Of the 136 adults who were diagnosed with major depression or bipolar disorder, those with strong beliefs about a merciful God were more likely to recover when prescribed antidepressants. The positive response to the medication had little to do with the sense of hope often associated with faith. The good results came from the belief in a caring Supreme Being.

Religion can have a positive influence in rehabilitation traumatic brain injury

  1. A 2011 study published in Rehabilitation Psychology measured the level of religious well-being (believing in a higher power), the level of existential well-being (believing that life has a purpose, separate from religion) and the degree of involvement in public religious activities, of a total of 88 patients with traumatic brain injury (= brain injury caused by a cause outside the body). [!8]

Spirituality is associated with better mental health

  1. Spirituality can offer a number of benefits to people in terms of their mental health. A 2012 University of Missouri study published in the Journal of Religion and Health showed the link between participants' mental and physical health, a number of personality factors, and spirituality. [!9]

Belief often has a positive effect on a person's health

  1. Research has shown that belief often has a positive effect on a person's health. Dr. Joke van Saane, together with the Amsterdam sociologist of religion, Prof. H. C. Stoffels, conducted research among the supporters of the Evangelische Omroep (EO) into the influence of faith on health. She says of her findings: "Those who are religious are statistically less likely to have heart problems, less risk of tuberculosis, less risk of lung cancer, and less likely to commit suicide. Religious people also smoke less than non-religious people, they use less drugs and drink less. less alcohol. And, to top it all off, religious people live longer on average. " [!10]

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