Posts Tagged ‘religion and health’

Studies: How clergy can help believers die a 'good death'

Two new studies find that many clergy are both ill-prepared and reluctant to fully engage in end-of-life conversations with terminally ill congregation members and their families. The result, the studies suggest, is that more believers may be spending their final days enduring painful treatments with little chance of success.

[Read Full Column...]

Science affirms how black lives matter in the black church - a source of hope and strength in troubled times

Science is providing greater insight into how black faith and the black church have been sources of enduring hope and strength in troubled times. Several new studies build on past research in revealing how this special faith continues to be associated with positive outcomes for black Americans amid the realities of discrimination and economic, political and social inequality.

[Read Full Column...]

When believing in miracles may be harmful to your health

Are there times when too much control can be ceded to God? When it comes to health, the answer in many cases may be yes. Placing too much control in divine hands may lessen efforts to seek treatment or take preventive measures such as quitting smoking or following a healthy diet, a new study indicates.

[Read Full Column...]

How faith can help young women - and men - take their body image higher

Faith may be a strong antidote to the pop culture worship of ultra-thin body types, new research indicates. But not just any kind of faith. Individuals who believe in a judgmental God often feel worse about themselves as they engage in activities such as binging or excessive exercise to win approval from a distant, demanding divinity. However, young people who have faith in a God who loves them as they are have much healthier body images, according to several studies.

[Read Full Column...]

Older worshippers find it’s never too late to switch

Religious switching is not limited to the young. Nearly three in 10 older adults made a major change in spiritual homes within just an 11-year period, according to a study. The findings and related research indicate both why it is important for older adults to be in a supportive congregation and why leaving a long-established spiritual community late in life could jeopardize the individual’s well-being.

[Read Full Column...]

Why faith matters in battling global smoking epidemic

In addition to legal and social activism, there is another potential powerful tool in addressing a global smoking epidemic: Faith. New studies are adding to a growing body of evidence that religion may help deter smoking, particularly among marginalized groups that have the greatest health risks.

[Read Full Column...]

How religion matters in the face of death

Religion can be a critical resource in reducing death anxiety, according to a developing body of research. Not all will benefit equally, and some may suffer greater worries if they believe they will be found wanting by a judgmental divinity. But the research opens windows of understanding for caregivers, family and friends seeking to help support others in their journey through the shadows of the valley of death.

[Read Full Column...]

Cultivating gratitude: Being thankful with some help from religious friends

Having trouble being thankful? New research suggests one possible solution: Keep your friends close, and your religious friends closer. A national study of worshipers found that individuals who had more friends in their congregations were more likely to be grateful to God and ultimately report better health and fewer symptoms of depression.

[Read Full Column...]

Faith 101: Supporting college freshmen through times of spiritual questioning

College freshmen undergoing spiritual struggles may be at risk for addictive behaviors, a study indicates. The finding is consistent with a developing body of research revealing the complex nature of religion and mental health. The assurance of a loving God concerned with their welfare helps many people deal with life’s stresses, but individuals with a less secure attachment to the divine may face greater problems with anxiety and depression.

[Read Full Column...]

Forgiveness in its own time: How faith communities can help trauma survivors heal

Forgiveness is linked to better mental and physical health. And religious traditions generally uphold the practice as a great virtue. But forgiveness is also a deeply personal act, one that can harm trauma survivors if it is coerced or demanded before they are able to come to terms with their pain and suffering, experts note. “The first thing is to surround the people with care and compassion,” one researcher says.

[Read Full Column...]