Mental Health and Religion
Religion is a broad and diverse collection of beliefs and practices. Its most basic definition is that it refers to the recognition of man’s dependence upon and hope for Divine help. This recognition is necessary for all forms of religion. Hence, it is said that the damned are incapable of religion because they lack this recognition.
Religion can also include a set of rituals or routines that are practiced regularly and often with a group of people who share the same religious beliefs. This aspect of religion is important because it creates a sense of communion with others, and studies suggest that this can contribute to better mental wellbeing.
In addition, many of the world’s religions teach a core set of values that are shared by all followers, and this is also thought to have benefits for mental health. For example, religious faiths typically have teachings that encourage compassion towards other people. These teachings, combined with the rituals that are often involved in being religious, can also lead to improved levels of coping with life’s stresses and a greater sense of meaning in one’s life.
Scientists are currently investigating whether being religious has any health benefits. If these are proven, the findings could have far-reaching implications and even transform the way we live as a society. However, researchers are clear that the benefits being seen do not necessarily result from a’religious miracle’, but rather come from other sources. These may include social connection, a belief in a higher purpose in life and the ability to cope with difficult times.