The relationship between religion and mental health has been one that causes a lot of confusions and misinterpretations. Looking back into my own personal experience I felt that not having a spiritual connection through religion has affected my mental health negatively
There are many studies done to determine the relationship between religion and mental health, and one thing that kept coming up was the idea that religions that focus on punitive gods tend to impact one’s mental state negatively. There are three types of religious deities: punitive gods, benign gods, detached gods.
Out of the three, religions that have punitive gods tend to create the most emotional distress for people. Those with these types of deities can suffer with anxieties, intense fear, and obsessive thinking. Of course the correlation between angry gods and mental health does not equate to causation but it’s interesting to explore this relationship.
One the other hand, religion can have such a positive role in one’s mental health. In times of grief, trauma, or just stressful moments in general having a religious connection can help fill that void that is experienced. Religion can produce a source of strength. Faith can take someone a long way throughout the good and bad of life. Religion is also a coping mechanism. Prayer is the number one ritual performed in times of high distress. Religion can also guide us by providing us with morals and values to take on everyday life.
The connection between religion and mental illness is still blurred but one thing is for certain having something to turn to when things get hard can be really helpful. Even if you are atheist, it is important to figure out what is that one thing that is going to help you get through life when it seems pointless.
Listen to Episode 9 of my Podcast Anxious Ramblings!
For this episode I am going to talk about my personal experience with religion as well as share some research I found on the relationship between religion and mental health. The guest for this episode is Emmah. She will talk about how coming out to her religious parents as a bisexual female and being a college student impacted her mental health. The question for this episode is how has religion played a role in your mental health?
Julia Cardoso is the Mental Health Staff Writer with a focus
on Anxiety Disorders. She is a graduate of Emmanuel College with a BA in Sociology and is on her second year MSW program at Simmons College. Julia is passionate about Mental Health and eliminating the stigma.