5 Mental Health Benefits of Religion and Spirituality

Our emotional and mental wellbeing is integral for becoming a contributing member of our community. With the constant challenges and trials we encounter in life, one can easily lose their focus and get caught up in negative thoughts and emotions. 

What is Spirituality?

Dr. Maya Spencer of the Royal College of Psychiatrists defines it as: “Spirituality involves the recognition of a feeling or sense or belief that there is something greater than myself, something more to being human than sensory experience, and that the greater whole of which we are part is cosmic or divine in nature.” 

It can involve religious traditions which focus on the belief in supreme authority, or it involves the realization of an individual connection to others and the whole universe. Spirituality involves the belief of existence after death where one will be responsible for their actions, and it includes finding the meaning of this life, how people are interconnected, and the mysteries of the existence of the universe.

Spirituality and religious activity both help a person to cope with the stresses and difficulties they face during their lifetime. Research has shown that those who depend on religion and spirituality can cope with various challenges and find mental health benefits. Below are mentioned 5 mental health benefits.

1. Instills the Feeling of Gratitude

An important lesson spirituality teaches is the art of gratefulness. It includes the act of feeling and showing thankfulness for the blessings we have, which include loved ones and friends, for the situations one is going through, and material belongings. 

Through this act, one’s present feels better as it helps them realize the abundance of blessings and removes the feeling of deprivation. So, it boosts hopefulness and reduces the feeling of tiredness. 

Developing the behavior of thankfulness can minimize mental health issues like stress, depression, including substance abuse disorders. Gratitude has been associated with a shortened lifetime risk of suicide, shown by an article released in Psychological Assessment. 

Here are a few ways you can practice gratitude and improve your mental wellbeing.

  • Keep a diary and note down all the good events that occurred in your day before bedtime. 
  • Show appreciation by saying ‘thank you’ to those who have helped you in any way.
  • Take some time with your loved ones at the dinner table to appreciate the blessings.

2. Lowers Stress and Anxiety Levels

Everyone has their own set of responsibilities to look after, keeping them busy throughout the day. With an ongoing list of worries on your mind, stress can bring negative impacts on both your physical and mental health. Especially, overthinking can lead us many times into excess negative thinking, leading to severe depression or anxiety. 

By practicing spirituality, one can gain refuge from overthinking by using meditation techniques during break periods or can offer prayers to release their stresses. By observing what’s around you and appreciating the blessings, one can co-exist with the present, allowing them to step out of their over-occupied minds. Similarly, various religions have practices that help in alleviating negative thoughts from the mind. 

3. Instills Patience and Tolerance

Many of us are guilty of losing our temper when something occurs below our expectations. We consider ourselves to be perfectionists, even though we know that we’re not perfect either. 

Whether it’s getting stuck in traffic or running late for a lecture or meeting, life requires one to be patient. If one makes a mistake, patience through spirituality teaches one to let go of the hatred and anger. 

Patience is a key ability to go through life’s uncertainties. When various difficulties appear, it’s good to do breathing exercises, one of the fundamental elements of spirituality. It allows you to de-stress your mind and bring serenity to your heart. This helps to analyze your situation and think properly to find the right solution. 

Patience is also required when one is going through hardships. Through the practicing of spirituality, one gains an understanding that good and bad conditions aren’t under their control. This will enable a person to focus on trying their best to achieve good outcomes in their tasks.

4. Able to Properly Manage Your Time

Many religious and spiritual practices require to be done at a specific period. This helps a person to set a proper schedule for fulfilling all of their daily goals. Through religion and spirituality, one becomes aware of the actions which provide benefit and those which provide harm. 

So, one will spend their time wisely in completing their duties and responsibilities. As spirituality enables a person to find out their purpose and beliefs, it helps them to prioritize their time accordingly for doing spiritual practices and duties.

For example, Muslims pray at the mosque on the prescribed prayer timings 5 times daily, allowing them to practice time punctuality. Similarly, the deadlines given for completing work tasks teach people the importance of punctuality and time management. Through spirituality and religion, one can align their mind, body, and heart to finish their tasks without any distractions. 

5. Improves Psychological Well-Being

Developing a sense of harmony between religion and spirituality boosts your psychological wellbeing. This is because practicing both can help a person to refresh their mind and hearts and filter out negativity. 

It starts from inhibiting the negative thoughts and ends with an increase in positivity and mindfulness. Ultimately, it comes down to tapping into your inner self and being able to control your emotions and flow of thoughts. 

Regularly following spiritual practices will lead to increased productivity and reduce symptoms of depression. You’ll get a positive outlook on life and learn to accept everything with its share of easy and difficult moments. Religion and spirituality enable a person to work on themselves and purify their minds, so their emotional and mental wellbeing is strengthened.

Wrapping Up

Our emotional and mental wellbeing is integral for becoming a contributing member of our community. With the constant challenges and trials we encounter in life, one can easily lose their focus and get caught up in negative thoughts and emotions. 

To overcome the challenges of life, one must be in tune with their inner self. Through spiritual exercises, you can overcome negativity and instill positivity in your life.

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