Spirituality offers comfort in times of suffering and provides a message of hope that gives those who rely on it an extraordinary buffer against depression and other emotional upheavals.
In a study of 4,000 older Americans (age 65 to 102), researchers at Duke University School of Medicine found that those who attended church at least once a week were half as likely to be depressed as those who attended religious services less frequently. Other studies have shown that religiously inclined people over 60 are healthier and lived longer than those who are less spiritual.
In particular, the Christian and Jewish faiths are therapeutic because these religions offer stellar examples of overcoming adversity and emotional suffering. The Bible is an excellent "mental health guide." It doesn't cover the issues of mental health and depression. Bible shows that several persons, like King David, Elijah, and Jeremiah, were extremely depressed and yet could proceed with their lives.
According to Dr. Walter Weston, author of "PrayWell: A Holistic Guide to Health & Renewal," depression can be faced by accepting it as a normal human reaction to shock and loss, appropriately expressing your anger at the illness and taking responsibility for your own life. It is helpful to go through the motions of seeking happiness and satisfaction. You can also use prayer to cope with depression. An example is found in our collection of special prayers.
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