Gleaned from the Annals of Counseling Psychology
It has long been believed that having faith is key to getting through some of life’s greatest challenges. A spiritual practice can often give people the strength and confidence to push through obstacles and make positive changes.
But can faith have a positive effect on depression and anxiety? My clients in Cary have said so and according to new research, it can.
Your Brain on Spirituality
According to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry, meditation or any other form of regular spiritual practice (such as prayer or religious contemplation) has been linked to a thickening of the brain cortex. The study, which was the first to investigate whether there is any physical evidence in the brain linked to the protective effects of faith against depression, looked at 103 adults at either high or low risk of depression, based on family history.
At the end of the study, magnetic resonance was used to view participants’ brains, and the images clearly showed thicker cortices in those participants who placed a high importance on religion or spirituality than those who did not.
But even more significant was the fact that the thicker cortex was found in exactly the same regions of the brain that had shown thinning in people with a high risk for depression.
3 Ways Faith Can Help You Fight Depression and Anxiety
Every individual requires treatment methods unique to them to combat their symptoms of depression. While psychological therapy and medications work well for many people, they may also be helped by embracing a spiritual practice.
If you are suffering with depression or anxiety, there are three reasons why a spiritual practice may help:
1. Spiritual Practice Provides Hope
A belief in a loving power greater than ourselves can help us feel hopeful, even in our darkest hours. Faith turns wishful thinking into great expectations. And when we start to expect goodness in our lives, we naturally feel hopeful for our future.
2. Behavior Evolves
Faith-filled people tend to experience positive changes in their attitudes and behaviors. Where once you may have had a knee-jerk emotional reaction to a situation, an ability to center yourself instead and face situations with calmness and clarity may result.
3. Your Perception Changes
Faith helps us to see ourselves and our lives differently. Problems turn into opportunities, enemies into friends, and impossibilities into possibilities.
While it may take some time before you feel relief from your depression or anxiety, by embracing faith, you will be better able to cope with the symptoms.
If you or a loved one live near Cary and are suffering from depression or anxiety and would like to explore treatment options, please reach out. I would be happy to discuss how I may be able to help-847 275 8236