Prayer and Mental Health

Is Prayer Good for Your Mental Health?

In early years of psychology, particularly during the era of Freud, prayer and other spiritual disciplines were viewed negatively and were largely scoffed at by those in the field of mental health.

Freud, in her well known work, The way forward for an Illusion, described religion as a «universal obsessional neurosis» as well as a «psychopathologic phenomena.» However, within the last decade on the internet a plethora of studies that have proved Freud wrong; these studies show that spiritual disciplines are not liabilities but assets where emotional welbeing is concerned.

In this study In 2008, Claire Hollywell and Jan Walker critically analyzed 26 published studies on use of personal prayer, and came for the following positive conclusions about prayer:

1. «Prayer, measured by frequency, is usually associated with lower levels of depression and anxiety.»

The study showed men and women who prayed and had existing faith in God, tended to eat lower varieties of depression and anxiety as opposed to runners who did not make associated with prayer.

2. «Prayer is a coping action that mediates between religious faith and welbeing.»

Researchers found that prayer was an effective coping mechanism and that religious that used prayer when along with adversity for failing health, coped much better those who did not make use of prayer.

3. «Prayer takes different forms, some beneficial, others possibly never.

(a) Devotional prayers that take the form of an intimate dialogue along with a supportive God are using improved optimism, welbeing and function.

(b) Prayers that involve only pleas for help in extremis may, in the lack of a pre-existing faith, be associated with an increase of distress and possibly poorer function.»

The study found that prayers which are devotional, and involved intimate conversations with God about one’s circumstances, seemed to lead to improved wellbeing and much better coping.However researchers also determined that people who did canrrrt you create preexisting faith in God, and used prayer as being a plea when highly stressful events entered their lives, did not benefit from prayer and tended currently being even more distressed.

From the above scientific research by Hollywell and Walker, one can conclude that devotional prayer is an effective coping mechanism when used by those with «pre-existing faith» towards God, and there’s strong evidence that devotional prayer can and ought to used by people of faith when faced with the challenges of everyday.

Hollywell, Claire and Walker, Jan.(2008). Private Prayer as the Suitable Intervention for Hospitalized Patient: A fundamental Review of your Literature. Journal of Clinical Nursing. Vol. 18, 635-651.

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