Increasing research highlights the link between spirituality and in particular religious practice and well-being. Religion has been found supportive to a number of people in helping them to self-discipline and experience a sense of belonging and safety around common goals and values. Researchs show that people who practice a religion experience less depression, participate in less teenage risks such as smoking, alcohol use, drug use sex and generally live longer (Casey, 2009). Religion has also been used as an excuse to dominate and humiliate other people. Often we hold a mixture of healthy beliefs which encourage us and give purpose to our life, and unhealthy beliefs which throw us into a state of defensiveness, depression or aggression. Healthy beliefs connect us in love and respect to other people while unhealthy beliefs isolate us and bring about division and discomfort.
WHAT WE BELIEVE BECOMES REALITY FOR US
When somebody believes that God or the Creator is in love with all that He/She has created, life obviously is viewed in a very optimistic light. People who see God as a loving, compassionate and responsive figure have been shown to 'operate' at a higher level of well-being than those who have no faith or believe in a punishing, revengeful Creator (Kirkpatrick & Shaver, 1992).
SEEING GOD/THE CREATOR AS A PARTNER
People who see God/The Creator/The Higher Power as a partner in the problem-solving process have been observed to have better Mental Health than those who passively wait for God (or someone) to solve their problem. George Vaillant has observed that spirituality/beliefs are at their best when there is a strong relationship between:
Positive Emotions & the 'Thinking' part of the Brain
POSITIVE RELIGION AND BELIEFS are held in place by
DISCERNING HELPFUL AND UNHELPFUL BELIEFS
We may have been handed down beliefs which we have blindly accepted or aggressively rejected. To mature as a person in our own right it is important to reflect on which beliefs are helpful and which are destructive to one's spirit. One man's food is another man's poison. It can be helpful to discuss one's beliefs with trusted friends in order to discover which are the nourishing and mature beliefs worth holding on to and which are the childish restricting beliefs which we need to let go.
BLOCKS TO BELIEFS AND SPIRITUALITY
Children are naturally spiritual but feel uncomfortable sharing their faith for fear of being ridiculed. It is as if there is a cultural taboo around spirituality. Many people may have experience a repressing spirituality or 'God' which have made them take a cynical view of religion. However, many people who have heroically fought for a cause have been nourished by a deep and living faith in a Creator of Love and Compassion, slow to anger and rich in forgiveness.