A new study done by Case Western Reserve University mentions that people who put away existential questions and don’t face them end up with lower mental health. Questions that challenge their beliefs, religion, existence as well as lack of tolerance of people of other faiths and backgrounds when not confronted is linked to poorer mental health, that includes higher levels of depression, anxiety and even difficulty regulating emotions.
Julie Exline, professor of psychological sciences at Case Western Reserve and co-author of the research, said, “Religious and spiritual struggles, conflicts with God or religious people, tough questions about faith, morality, and the meaning of life. These are often taboo topics, and the temptation to push them away is strong. When people avoid these struggles, anxiety and depression tend to be more intense than if they faced these struggles head-on.”
The study, which had 307 adult participants, found that people who were unwilling to take on spiritual struggles could end up contributing to social ills by not interacting with people from different faiths and backgrounds, more so they could also find them threatening.
“This avoidance may lead to the rejection of whole groups of people based on their religious differences or perceived incongruence between, for example, their sexuality or gender-based identity and religious teachings,” Exline said.
While the avoidance of asking spiritual questions is not really the problem, but it leads to behavioral changes that can be hostile. The main issue stems from the rigid thought pattern, which changes the way the “overly religious” or anyone with a rigid belief system perceive and interact with the outside world.
According to Exline, people who are emotionally healthy seem to be able to accept troubling thoughts. “Looking at spiritual doubts in an objective way seems to help. You may or may not work through them, but at least you can tolerate having them,” she added.
Another very interesting research is the fact that most religions have either a Devil, Rakshas or Dajjal. Believing in the existence of a demon with superpowers has the worst effects on mental health as compared to any other religious belief. While the fact that there could be an after life has a comforting feeling on the mind.
So for less depression and better mental health, stop believing in evil super powers, question your belief systems, confront your fears, talk to people from other religions or backgrounds and start dismantling the cultural barriers that have been set up by society conditioning.
“Culture is not your friend. Culture is for other peoples’ convenience and the convenience of various institutions, churches, companies, tax collection schemes, what have you. It is not your friend. It insults you. It disempowers you. It uses and abuses you. None of us are well-treated by culture.” ~ Terrence McKenna