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Spirituality linked to lower depression risk


Posted on Tuesday, 31 December, 2013 | Comment icon 44 comments

Spiritual belief can help stave off depression. Image Credit: sxc.hu
Scientists have discovered that religion and spirituality can have a beneficial effect on the brain.
Religious belief has long been thought to offer psychological benefits, but now researchers have discovered that spirituality can also offer protection for individuals with a high risk of depression.

The study involved comparing the brains of people for whom spirituality was important with those who did not hold any spiritual beliefs. The results indicated that the brain's outer layer, the cortex, was thicker in high risk patients who subscribed to spiritual beliefs than it was in those who didn't.

"Our beliefs and our moods are reflected in our brain and with new imaging techniques we can begin to see this," said psychiatry and epidemiology professor Myrna Weissman. "The brain is an extraordinary organ. It not only controls, but is controlled by our moods."

While the research does not indicate that the thicker brain region produces a higher tendency to hold religious beliefs, it does suggest that holding such beliefs can provide a physical, measurable resilience against depressive illness.

Source: Yahoo! News | Comments (44)

Tags: Religion, Spirituality, Brain

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #35 Posted by Mr Walker on 4 January, 2014, 2:32
Well of course, when one holds the delusion that they're going to be ok even if they're not, how can they not be less depressed. Simple psychology. True and a good reason to believe. But also, believing you are going to get better is better for your physical health than believing you will not get better.
Comment icon #36 Posted by PinkIsMyFavoriteColor89 on 9 January, 2014, 0:03
or keep them bogged down in it and keep them from overcoming their depression.. Either way, one's religious or spiritual beliefs plays a very significant role. I agree in that sense too. I think one of the big reasons I don't believe is because of the things I've gone through, seen, etc..
Comment icon #37 Posted by The Cycle Of Life on 16 February, 2014, 19:11
This study is with in this subjects first steps so to speak. Once they differ between emotion & feeling they will understand the difference between having belief & having faith. Its not a belief in something that gives purpose but having faith in something, its not knowing about something rather than the understanding of why that something is. This will rusult in the religious & anthioust showing that they have the same purpose of life from their seperate beliefs.
Comment icon #38 Posted by regeneratia on 19 February, 2014, 19:02
Oh wow, spirituality can helo you but vitamins can't, right?
Comment icon #39 Posted by regeneratia on 19 February, 2014, 19:05
http://ca.news.yahoo...-191414460.html Very interesting. Another reason that Spirituality and Religion are not bad for you. I don't know what you mean about thicker brains. Our brains flex and flow in the interstitial regions, which is how they eliminate brain function metabolities. Stands to reason, that thickness measured while the interstial spaces are not accounted for leads to faulty impressions.
Comment icon #40 Posted by Mr Walker on 19 February, 2014, 22:57
Oh wow, spirituality can helo you but vitamins can't, right? There is more scientific evidence that belief can help a person, than there is that taking vitamin supplements can. In reality we need both natural vitamins and natural spirituality to live healthy and happy lives.
Comment icon #41 Posted by LostSouls7 on 20 February, 2014, 2:06
I used to be depressed because I cared what society and the church thought of me... I used to think finding love was all there was to life... I'm a bit older and wiser. I don't like organized religion. But I like harnessing my own energy to get things my way. I also love nature. I am a lot happier now. Now I get paid to be creative and be the real me. I've made real friends, who care about me for who I really am. But holding back who you are.. to try to please society and the church.. I can tell you that is a cause for depression. I have no master. So I have betrayed no one! thank you
Comment icon #42 Posted by Marcus Aurelius on 20 February, 2014, 4:14
I enjoyed reading this article and the subsequent posts. I appreciate all the different perspectives, especially those who have had personal experience with depression. Speaking for myself, I too have had a lot of experience with depression. In fact, I just recently had to undergo a full blown psyche evaluation and had to meet with a psychologist as part of my ordination process for the ministry. I came in as a high depressive. I ranked JUST below what they would consider to be a clinical depressive. Had I been just slightly higher they would have recommended me for further therapy and perhaps... [More]
Comment icon #43 Posted by freeman88 on 20 February, 2014, 7:20
Ugh this article is blown out of proportion. Of course people who have religion in their lives are going to be less depressive. You have this invisible entity for the most part that you believe controls every aspect of your life. People who do wrong to you will be punished, and you will go to heaven or some form of afterlife where all your desires will be fulfilled. I mean the catholic church all you have to do is confess your sins and they are forgotten. A life without regret and the certainty that you will one day be immortal in a sense i assume can make you feel pretty damn good about yours... [More]
Comment icon #44 Posted by DieChecker on 24 February, 2014, 21:34
Oh wow, spirituality can helo you but vitamins can't, right? I've read that a lot of mineral vitamins are actually mostly useless. Natural suppliments are actually much better, but in many cases Americans get the vitamins they need from their food... if they are eating the right food. I don't know what you mean about thicker brains. Our brains flex and flow in the interstitial regions, which is how they eliminate brain function metabolities. Stands to reason, that thickness measured while the interstial spaces are not accounted for leads to faulty impressions. Can you post a resource to the fa... [More]


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