Tuesday, March 2, 2010 8:12 AM
The "Big Man Upstairs" is getting accolades from mental health specialists who say they are finding that a belief in God plays a positive role in the treatment of anxiety and depression.
University of Toronto psychologists reported last year that "believing in God can help block anxiety and minimize stress," their research showcasing "distinct brain differences" between believers and nonbelievers.
A new study by Rush University Medical Center in Chicago takes the idea a step further.
In patients diagnosed with clinical depression, "belief in a concerned God can improve response to medical treatment," said the new research, which has been published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology.
The operative term here is "caring," the researchers said. "The study found that those with strong beliefs in a personal and concerned God were more likely to experience an improvement.
The researchers compared the levels of melancholy or hopelessness in 136 adults diagnosed with major depression or bipolar depression with their sense of "religious well-being." They found participants who scored in the top third of a scale charting a sense of religious well-being were 75 percent more likely to get better with medical treatment for clinical depression.
"In our study, the positive response to medication had little to do with the feeling of hope that typically accompanies spiritual belief," said study director Patricia Murphy, a chaplain at Rush and an assistant professor of religion, health, and human values.
"It was tied specifically to the belief that a Supreme Being cared," she said.
"For people diagnosed with clinical depression, medication certainly plays an important role in reducing symptoms," Murphy added. "But when treating persons diagnosed with depression, clinicians need to be aware of the role of religion in their patients' lives. It is an important resource in planning their care."
Public opinion polls - from Gallup to the Pew Research Center - reveal that large majorities of Americans believe in God. It is a factor among the researchers as well.
Data released last year by sociologists from the University of California at Berkeley, in fact, revealed that 93 percent of the nation believes in God, a finding that has remained unchanged since 1988.
The Canadian researchers who found that belief in God lowers anxiety and stress also based their conclusions on measurements - monitoring the brain activities of believers and nonbelievers charged with some challenging tasks.
"We found that religious people or even people who simply believe in the existence of God show significantly less brain activity in relation to their own errors," said Michael Inzlicht, assistant psychology professor at the University of Toronto, who led the research.
"They're much less anxious and feel less stressed when they have made an error," he said.
So here goes......
My Family, my gift.
I have basically disappeared from the online world because my life did not feel balance, it felt empty, and yes very very lonely.
I, like so many others share your feelings across the board. I needed to be validated I needed to feel like I have touched lives and did something important with the outside world.
I have pushed aside my husband, children, my extended family, even my pets and home for what I thought was important to me.
What I didn't realize was that this had a long going effect on me. I realized when reading your blog post, how I have also been selfish.
When we do things for ourselves and not through God we actually lose happiness, peace, and relationships instead of gaining validation. It feels so empty and unfulfilled.
Think about it, what means more to you? Validation from your close family members or a stranger online?
Thank you Jenn, for exposing yourself to the world as a fake. I say this in the kindest way for I am a fake as well. I have been a fake to God, my family, and myself.
Thank you Jenn for having the courage to pour your heart out here. You have again been validated here while not trying to be. You have helped one more person steer back to God's way and to put more time, love, into my family where it belongs and is needed.
I say goodbye to putting anything online first. I say goodbye to putting myself first and to reaching out to my children and husband again.
Life is way too short, I know this better than most. It's time to make lasting impressions, strong ties, and put caring committed time back to the relationships that matter to God and to me most.
My time will come when my children have grown. We can do with out luxuries, we can do without a vacation if needed. We can not however do without our family.
I thank God for last night he put me in the hearts of other people again. He surrounded me with people I can connect with in real life. He steered me to read this post this morning to show me that what i have been feeling all along has been right on target and has been him talking to be and weighing on my conscious to wake up and smell the roses he planted for us. I am grateful.
GOD Said NO
This is an excellent list with very good resources. Please read through it and the other postings on planning an escape. Use common sense and be discreet. Your future and happiness depend on it.
Thank you for allowing us to borrow this list. The original article can be found by clicking the title.
If you face violence in your relationship please get help immediately. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for immediate, confidential advice from a professional: 800-799-SAFE (7233) or 800-787-3224/TDD.
To safely and successfully leave an abusive relationship a plan is essential. If you are in an abusive relationship but your physical safety isn’t being imminently threatened, develop a safe exit strategy before leaving your marriage. Include in your strategy the applicable action items listed below and any others your lawyer or domestic violence counselor recommends.
If you aren’t sure yours is an abusive relationship, read Identifying Domestic Violence, visit Womenslaw.org for more information about domestic violence, or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline to discuss your relationship. Ultimately, you know your situation and if you're being abused professionals will help you recognize the abuse and help end it. Abuse has many faces; don’t' be fooled into thinking it's okay. Action Items:
- Find a family lawyer experienced in domestic violence. Ask him or her for advice about the safest way to leave your husband. If you don't have financial resources most states offer legal aid and many lawyers offer pro bono (free of charge) representation or advice. Women in domestic violence situations can almost always find a lawyer to represent them or get legal advice for free or greatly reduced costs. Don't let finances stop you from leaving an abusive marriage. (See Finding Free Legal Advice)
- If appropriate, get a civil temporary restraining order and/or criminal restraining order. The lawyer or domestic violence counselor you contact can assist you with this as well as the local police department. Protect yourself today.
- Find a woman’s shelter, a friend’s home, or a new home of your own. Safely time your move and keep your new address from your husband. Search our State Resources to find shelters and services in your community to assist you with your move. There are numerous resources available for women seeking to leave abusive situations.
- Gather the following information and have it ready to take with you when you leave your husband:
- Important documents, including your birth certificate, driver’s license, passport, green card, work permits, social security card, health insurance card, automobile title and a copy of your property deed
- Copies of all restraining orders in force against your husband
- Money, checkbooks and credit cards
- Bank cards and statements
- Clothing, jewelry and personal effects
- Your children’s clothing, favorite blankets, and stuffed animals
- Copies of unpaid bills
- Get a cell phone. Don’t give the number to your husband. Block your number so it isn’t available to people you call. Only give your number to trustworthy family and friends. If you can't get credit or afford a plan, get a pre-paid phone available without credit and for reasonable prices.
- If you’re moving into a new home by yourself, install exterior security lighting and an alarm system. Get to know the neighborhood and be watchful for unusual activity.
- Get a new post office box and forward your mail to your new address before you leave. Don’t forward your mail to your new home. Keep the post office box for a period of time even beyond a cooling off point. Make sure the post office won't give the P.O. Box address to your husband.
- File copies of your restraining orders with your children’s schools. Talk to school counselors to assist you in helping your children during this transition.
- Talk with your employer about the situation to prevent the inadvertent disclosure of personal information to your husband. Express the need to keep the information confidential, disclosing it only to those who would potentially have contact with your husband.
The awareness of domestic violence has grown dramatically in the past few years. As a result there are many resources, both government and private, to help a woman trying to leave an abusive marriage. Centers such as The National Domestic Violence Hotline often have lawyers, counselors, and financial advisors on staff or volunteering who will give you the information and support you need. They can put you in touch with resources in your local area that will help you get out.
Change is never easy; especially if you've been mentally and physically beaten down, you may not believe you can do it. Look to stories of women who've made it out for inspiration, call centers staffed with people to help you, make a plan, and take action when the time is right. Don't wait, call now; help and support are there for you! You can do it!
This article is not legal advice. You should consult an attorney if you have legal questions that relate to your specific divorce.
I received an email to finally have an appointment/interview with our local women's shelter here in York County. I am very excited to get in and work hands on with women and their children. I pray that I find the courage, strength, and wisdom through God to help these women and impact their life in a positive way.
What do I get out of this? Satisfaction of serving God's will in helping others. Watching women who have been destroyed mentally, emotionally, and physically find faith, spirit, courage, and self confidence again to live the life they want.
A part of me is nervous. Can I do this? Can I really help those who are lost and humiliated? Can I help them understand they are worth their weight in Gold and they are lovable? I believe I can or I would not be on this path.
I feel with a few years experience in this mission I will then in turn have the inside knowledge to open my own shelter to help even more women in my area. Yes, to some it may be a tall order. They may feel why would you want to do this? Why would you even get into something that will be so difficult to get into place? Simply, I have too. I feel this is where my calling is in life. This is where I am supposed to go. I am not sure where my journey will lead me but for now I believe I am in the right direction.
I have discovered in me lately, the need to be hands on. I absolutely do not have the desire to run a business online. I am supposed to be working with real people in a life setting, in person.
Wish me prayers and luck that the future leads me to help other women be empowered and come to the realization that they can have an awesome life, filled with respect, love, strength, and faith.