Everybody is conversing about mental health and the state of mind but what exactly is Mental health? Mental health is one’s emotional and psychological well- being. Having a good mental health is important as it helps you to lead a happy and healthy life. It further helps in making you resilient and gives you the ability to cope up in the face of life’s diversities. Mental health is influenced by several factors including genes, life events and other factors like religion and spirituality. Religion and spirituality are both quite important pillars which help to understand the meaning of life. Both of these terms are similar in foundation but they are very much different in practice. Religion is a community-based system of beliefs practiced by an individual whereas spirituality lives or resides within that individual according to what they believe personally. A very meaningful saying by an individual who practices both religion & spirituality, the idea of religion and spirituality is like a rectangle versus that to a square. Within religion lies spirituality, but if you have spirituality, it isn’t necessary to have a religion. Religion and spirituality both have a positive impact on mental health. Both religion and spirituality help an individual to tolerate stress by producing peace, purpose and forgiveness. Although they provide a similar impact but the benefits generally vary between the two due to their different nature.
Now, let’s know the mental health benefits of religion:
- Religion provides people something to believe and have faith in. It develops a sense of structure and offers a group of people to connect over similar beliefs which has a great impact on mental health. It has been suggested that religion reduce suicide rates, alcoholism and drug use.
- Religion helps in initiating social connections with other members which has a positive impact on mental health. It creates a sense of belonging to the group and offers trustworthy and safe social engagement.
- It helps to cope with difficult situations in life by providing structure, regularity and predictability.
- It further teaches the importance of right things by helping to differentiate between good and bad. It helps you learn compassion, forgiveness and gratitude.
On the other hand, spirituality helps a person look within and make them understand their interpretation of the meaning of life. It further inculcates healthy practices for the mind and body, which positively influences mental health and emotional wellbeing. Following are the benefits:
- It helps in enhancing an individual’s sense of self and empowerment by making them focus on individual connection to what they believe in and their own personal growth.
- It helps in generating mindfulness by encouraging meditation and self-reflection
- It further helps in leading a meaningful life philosophy by establishing a feeling of connection towards nature or art. It intensifies expression in any form such as art, poetry, myth or religious practice.
- It helps in building a sense of unity. Spirituality helps in renewing a sense of belonging in the world and inspires appreciation and awareness of a person’s interaction with the physical environment
Over to you:
It is important to note that these mental health benefits are not only limited to their respective categories. For instance, individuality isn’t exclusive to religion, just like spirituality can include a sense of community in some ways. Religion and spirituality in a supported way can help to improve mental health and promote recovery.