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Feeling God: Can Religion Help With Depression?

Mental health concerns like depression and anxiety are far more commonplace in the modern world. And while many people are learning to meditate, it might be where the meditation is actually derived from that could provide a key to dealing with depressive symptoms. While religion is not for everyone, there is a lot to be said about how religion can help with depression.

Up until the early 19th century, psychiatry and religion were closely connected, as religious institutions were responsible for those who were “mentally ill.” So is religion a tool that can help with depression? Here are some supporting points.

The Protective Nature of Spirituality

It’s easier than ever to become more concerned with the modern material world, which is why potentially spiritual or religious beliefs can provide a buffer of sorts. Christian retreat centers provide a metaphorical comfort blanket to anyone that comes in, which is naturally going to help people who are in need of some form of support. 

Spirituality itself, and by proxy, blind faith, is something that can help people through their darkest moments. So many people talk about how their faith has seen them through. The problem occurs when atheists try to question this. 

A little blind faith might not be too much to ask, especially for those people who are feeling like there is nothing left for them.

Spiritual Practices and Their Impact on Depression

There are many benefits to meditation or mindfulness, and essentially these are different forms of prayer. Anyone that has stepped foot in a church or had some form of upbringing in Christianity still feels themselves in awe of the surroundings. 

But while depression is a disorder of the brain with chemical imbalances, spiritual practices may increase serotonin levels. This could be to do with the sense of resilience the individual feels. Feeling that God is on their side, whoever their god may be, gives them the feeling they are not alone. Meditation has been shown to reduce a lot of the symptoms associated with depression and anxiety, but only when conducted as part of a regular practice. 

Prayer is built into religious practices, which may explain why people with bona fide faith feel more resilient. 

Is Religion Key to Conquering Depression? 

The treatment infrastructure in many organizations talks about giving reverence to a higher power, most notably the 12-step program. And while the modern world may certainly be at odds with giving themselves over to a god, religion might be the protective surface that many individuals need. No matter everything that goes wrong, they will still have their faith. 

Whether it is blind or not, there are things that we cannot explain, and while depression and anxiety can certainly stand from real-world issues, chemical imbalances, and the unknown, this is why sometimes, the inbuilt resilience that unwittingly tricks our subconscious is a critical tool. The brain cannot always tell between what is real and what is imagined, and this is why, if you were to completely imagine an orange in your mind’s eye and bring your senses into play, you may start to salivate. 

In terms of religion and spirituality, there is a lot that we cannot understand, but religion and faith may pose some clues to help people with depressive symptoms.

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