Spiritual beliefs may impact physical and mental health

Spiritual beliefs may impact physical and mental health

The power of positive thinking is well known, and a recent study found that it can also help one’s physical and mental well-being.

Patients who blame karma for their deteriorating health reported having more pain and worse health outcomes, according to researchers from the University of Missouri.

“In general, the more religious or spiritual you are, the healthier you are, which makes sense,” said Brick Johnstone, a neuropsychologist and professor of health psychology at University of Missouri, in a news release. “But for some individuals, even if they have the smallest degree of negative spirituality — basically, when individuals believe they’re ill because they’ve done something wrong and God is punishing them — their health is worse.”

The study interviewed about 200 people and asked them about their spiritual beliefs and overall health. Participants answered questions not only on their beliefs, but their physical pain from chronic issues, cancer or traumatic brain injury.

People who felt they were punished or left abandoned by a higher power reported an increase of pain, according to the study. Those who did not feel rebuked or reprimanded by God appeared to have better mental health.

“God has an important part in many of our lives in many ways,” says Gloria Brown, chaplain at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago. “When you have a strong spiritual base, people tell you that God has uplifted their spirits and helped them on the ways they handle life, especially when things are not going the way you want.”

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4 Comments

  1. Laura Brown Parker September 28, 2015 at 8:48 pm · Reply

    I agree with this article. I believe in a loving God, and that has helped me get through times when I’m physically ill. And Rev. Brown was a positive presence in my room when she visited me when I was a patient at Trinity. Thanks, Sister Brown.

  2. Arzrow Staten Jr. September 29, 2015 at 9:06 am · Reply

    Great Read!!

  3. I am in support of this study. God created EVERY THING in this world for himself. Who else can one turn to in time of trouble, but God. He has the manual of everyone in his hands. For example, if I bought a new camera and didn’t read the manual on how to operate it, it will be of no use to me, so also if I am not feeling fine, I consult the manual of my life, God. Thank you for sharing your findings.

  4. Interesting read. One must of course be wary of pushing one’s personal beliefs onto the healthcare of those they are serving, ie. the patient. The MANTRA study and The STEP project were both rigorous studies of prayer on patients and outcomes and the findings there were worrying with one of the studies showing that those knowingly receiving prayers actually fared worse clinically. Having resources available for care and compassion for the body and mind is important irregardless if its coming from a human or supernatural source, but we must take our cues from those we are caring for and which they prefer to relay on.

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health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care sites, also including freelance or intern writers.

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