Study: Meditation, prayer can lead to less stress, anxiety

Posted at 1:05 PM, Sep 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-27 14:05:21-04

By: Ryan Ordmandy

EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - A recent study from Harvard says that if you want less stress and anxiety in your life, simply slow down.

The study, which was featured on last week, says taking the time to meditate or pray every day can also be beneficial.

“When you’re in the practice of either prayer with your children or personally, or meditating, this study showed that those areas in your brain that are the ‘me’ area, they’re less active,” said Tami Anderson, a professional counselor at Samaritan Counseling Center of East Texas.

“So, what that might mean is you have less worry or less dysfunctional thoughts,” she said.

SCCET specializes in providing faith-informed mental health services to those with religious beliefs and those without.

“What you believe can be very instrumental in helping you journey through anything that’s difficult,” Anderson said.

But it isn’t just weekly service attendance. The study showed that simply taking time to pray or reflect could have positive effects. According to Lance Bolay, Director of Spiritual Integration at SCCET, just taking a few moments of silence, taking walks, or connecting with nature can be helpful.

The study doesn’t single out a specific religion. Rather, it says religious practices, in general, are helpful.

Anwar Khalifa, a spokesperson at the Tyler Islamic Center, says religious practices can teach you to be grateful and thankful for what you have.

“There’s a lot in religion if we just do will help our mental state and our mental health,” Khalifa said.

Wes Crawford, the preaching minister at Glenwood Church of Christ in Tyler, also said quiet reflection can be helpful in this fast-paced, chaotic world.

“I think it’s very important for people to slow down, first of all, and just take a breath. Be quiet, spend time in meditation, spend time in prayer, and I think that’s good for overall well-being," Crawford said.

According to Forbes, one drawback of the study was that most people in the study were white, female, and came from a higher social and economic status. The study would need to be repeated in a more diverse population to see if the findings are the same for other demographics.

To read the article from Forbes, click here.

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