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Published On: Wed, Nov 28th, 2018

Raising Kids with Religion or Spirituality May Protect Their Mental Health, Study Shows

The latest study from the Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health in children evolution shows that the kids who are raised with spiritual or religious beliefs will maintain a good mental health when they will reach adulthood. Not only their mental health will be more stable, compared with the one of the persons who do not have a spiritual belief, but also their general health. The study shows that having a spiritual belief does not limit you to having a strong faith in a religion; you can have a spiritual belief even if you meditate and pray on a regular basis. If you grow your spirit, and you do your best to maintain your inner peace, you will be able to maintain your balance in life and you will stay away from substance abuse.

photo Beth Rankin via Flickr
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The children who grow under the education of a religion have lower chances to develop depression when they become adults.

This study relies on the data it received. The persons, who meditated, prayed or attended religious service regularly when they were children state that they were happy with their life when they reached their 20s. Also, a great number of people who had similar activities when they were kids state that they did not record depression symptoms, and they are able to deal with post-traumatic stress better than other people. During the study, there were interviewed 5000 people. The authors of the study asked them how often they meditated, prayed and attended religious service.

Another interesting fact about the persons who have a religious life is that they are not as predisposed to get involved in harmful activities like using drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and unprotected sex. They consider that their spiritual beliefs are not compatible with these habits and they protect their body.

How is your mental health influenced by religion?

Dr. Tyler J. VanderWeele is the senior author of this study, and he stated that after he did research and he discussed with numerous persons, he can draw the conclusion that religious people have a better mental health because they have a shared experience with other people who share the same believes as they do. They are members of a community and this brings them multiple benefits. The study shows that the children who attended religious service are about 18% happier when they become adults than the ones who did not do it. Also, they enjoy doing volunteer work and they have chosen to stay away from drugs.

The children who are part of a religious community have the possibility to find mentors and roles models there, others than their parents.

The persons who are not part of a religious community, but who have the habit to meditate and pray also have mental health benefits, because they have the needed transcendence to understand that risky sexual behaviours and drug abuse are something bad for their health. They are in search for something more, something that can elevate their spirit.

When people establish a connection with their spiritual beliefs, and they do it from a young age, they will be more other-oriented when they will become adults. They will find easier to forgive, to offer themselves volunteers, to establish what their mission in life will be. When they have these purposes in life, they find easier to fight depression and to be happy.

People know that adolescence is one of the most critical parts of a person’s life, and if teens have established since their childhood some practices, they will maintain them even during adolescence and they will continue to stay loyal to them even during their adulthood.

Can our spiritual beliefs help us maintain our health?

When we have a strong belief, we become part of a community and something amazing happens to us. When a member of the community suffers, all the members suffer, because spirituality teaches people that it is important for people to respect their physical bodies and their life. The feeling of belonging and that of connection have a great role in our well-being. The persons with strong spiritual beliefs have the tendency to follow their mentor, and in the majority of cases, it is a practitioner, who offers them information on what path they should follow.

For children especially, the feeling of belonging is very important, because they often feel that the society is not the right place for them. They need close connections with their community and they need a larger perspective to understand how they can adapt to the needs of the society they live in. For some people it is helpful to attend religious service, for others it is helpful to meditate. The parents have the role to guide their children to a path that will help them elevate their spirit, and build faith in religion and spirituality. Even the adolescents who do not attend religious service regularly, but pray and meditate often will have great mental health benefits.

Many children get greater benefits from meditation and prayer than from attending religious service, because they can understand themselves better and they can find inner peace. The specialists who have organised and conducted this study state that meditation is important in the present society because it helps people calm down and get rid of the daily stress they experience. When having a strong spiritual belief they feel connected to something greater than they are and they know that there is a force that will help them solve all the problems they are dealing with.

The purpose of this study is to show parents that there is an easy way to help their children have a great mental health and a healthy life. The children who are raised with having a strong religious or spiritual belief will be able to improve their well-being when they will become adults and they will face difficulties. Multiple studies have led to the same conclusion, the persons who have a strong belief or who guide themselves according to a religion are happier throughout their life and they tend to be more creative. Even spending time in silence can improve our happiness, so it is worth guiding our children on a spiritual path.

Author: Cynthia Madison

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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