What Role Do Religion and Spirituality Play In Mental Health?
Last Updated: 06/28/2021 at 5:17pm
Penny Dahlen, Ed.D., LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor
I am committed to helping you find your passion, heal old wounds, and flow smoother in all aspects of your life path! I use a compassionate listening approach.
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Actively maintaining faith in a higher power as part of your life is a highly personal choice. Many people find that it helps them to keep peace of mind in their own lives. Attending regular church meetings can be a way to be involved with a community of people with whom you share something in common, outside of your workplace, and can be a good way to socialize In a somewhat relaxed environment; faith in a God who loves you for simply existing tends to build and reaffirm personal and intrinsic worth for many people, faith that said god is totally in control can lead to a healthy personal boundary system in which a person takes ownership of what they can control, with an at-the-ready way to acknowledge and let go of whatever is not within their own control, and optimistically so; Prayer and gratitude practices can help people maintain a state of peace whole focusing on the positive, even in the midst of personal chaos; faith can act as a light at the end of a tunnel, or light within the darkness. There also exist ways in which faith can play rather the opposite role and become a menace rather than a comfort: chiefly that for many, it can become a source of guilt, when we are all terribe awful sinners, or lead to resentment and anger when a god who is completely in control is supposed to reward faith and fervent prayer with cured sickesses absent a doctor, or with serendipitously found solutions to ongoing personal problems. In summation, the role that faith or spirituality or religion or whichever you most closy identify with, plays in mental health is directly connected to the role it plays in a person's life.
It may tarnish it, Religion teaches you to be obedient, to accept claims without evidence, to use faith as a pathway to truth, in doing so it set's you up for you to accept other things in the same way and that may lead to very poor decisions. Reason and evidence, that is the cure for what religion teaches.
Religion and spirituality can play a different role in mental health for each person, and each has the capacity to both harm and heal. Religion/spirituality may seem stifling and confusing at times, especially when viewed as a rigid set of rules. However, religion and spirituality can also bring great comfort and peace. Consider that following a religion is a purely personal choice and there is a lot of personal freedom within it.
They both play an important role to help the soul gain back its comfort and contentment by connecting to God and reflecting on your soul , turning your life into an open book only to yourself to understand how it works and how can you react to it in way that won’t bring harm .. ofcourse you won’t get to figure everything out , coz it’s impossible we are not perfect , but you can maintain a good mentality and balance emotions trough understanding religion and sipituality .
I am an atheist. I think religion and spirituality just help you to distinguish between right and wrong and help you find purpose in life - finding contentment in life through the most noble act - helping other people , by which you help yourself too and attain peace. An atheist can often get lost in this journey. But a staunch believer in a religion may not, if he has absorbed its idea clearly, it's not about propagating or enforcing your beliefs on somebody. It's a key to self discipline and attaining peace. And thereby avoiding the circumstances where one may get lost.
Religion, or the people who follow the religion, can sometimes harm someone. But the faith, the personal connection you have with the higher being you believe in, can be extremely helpful when you are healing. For example, when I was looking for my purpose in life, after not being able to find it within me, I turned to spirituality. In one of my favorite spiritual podcasts, they mentioned that the purpose of our soul was to grow while it is in our bodies. This really resonated with me because I truly believe that we can always be better versions of ourselves. Since then, I always can turn to this purpose to keep me going. Mindfulness is also a really big part of many spiritualities and religions. It is about being in the moment and being able to observe our thoughts without judgment. Mindfulness has also helped a lot with my recovery.
Religion and spirituality can play a huge part in your mental health, especially if you were raised with it or it has become a central part of your daily life. It can help you see the beauty and wonder of life, feel better about yourself, help you understand and connect to existence...but it can also harm you sometimes, especially if other people involved in your circle are making you feel bad because of THEIR interpretations or experiences. Spirituality and worship is what you make of it. If someone/something makes your soul feel uneasy, there's a reason. Best of luck!
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