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Positive and Negative Spirituality and Effects on Mental Health

spirituality and mental health

Studies show that spirituality and religion can have a significant impact on mental health. But what about when one's spirituality is negative, i.e. believing that pain and suffering are punishments from a higher power? According to a study by University of Missouri researchers, people who blame divinity for their misfortune tend to have worse physical and mental health.

"In general, the more religious or spiritual you are, the healthier you are," said Brick Johnstone, a neuropsychologist. This is all good from a positive standpoint. But it can be quite harmful if your spirituality dwells on the belief that whenever you suffer any ill health or ill fate, it's because you're abandoned or punished by God for doing something wrong.

In the study, the researchers grouped the participants into two groups, one with positive spiritual beliefs and the other with negative spiritual beliefs, to see how spiritual beliefs affect mental health. Both groups comprised individuals with diverse health conditions like cancer, chronic pain, etc. as well as healthy individuals.

The participants with negative spiritual beliefs reported worse pain and worse mental health while those with positive spiritual beliefs reported better mental health.

But why is this significant?

Your beliefs matter. Where you focus your thoughts can affect how you feel. A study found that people usually relapse into depression because they focus on negativity even after recovery. On the other hand, people who have a positive attitude towards life and practice gratitude have more enviable health and well-being.

What's more, feelings of sadness and hopelessness can lead one into depression. When someone believes that God has abandoned them and they're helpless to their fate, it's not hard to see why they'll feel worse than people who believe God loves and cares for them

And that probably contributes to why cognitive behavioral therapy is usually effective as it helps you uncover and address your negative thoughts.

As you can see, if you're spiritual, you can enjoy better mental health and well-being. But you can only do so if your spiritual beliefs are positive.

So, where do you stand? Are you looking to start practicing spirituality so you can experience a better life and well-being? Or are you constantly haunted by negative beliefs about your relationship with God?

We can help you.

At Hope Mental Health, we respect whichever higher power our clients believe in. So, whatever your religion, we can help you combat your negative spiritual beliefs and promote positivity so you can experience the joy, peace, and better mental health spirituality has to offer.

Get in touch now.

Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Hope Mental Health, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.  Ms. Woodland with her background in nursing, prefers a holistic and integrative approach to mental health care that addresses the mind and body together. While Ms. Woodland provides medication management services in all her patients, she believes in long-lasting solutions that include a number of psychotherapies, namely cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy, attention to lifestyle, evidenced based alternative psychiatric care and spirituality. If you’d like to gain control over your mental health issues, call Hope Mental Health at 208-918-0958, or use the online scheduling tool to set up an initial consultation.

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