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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