1. Research supports the value of prayer for improving mental health and relieving emotional stress.
2. 75% of Americans say they pray on at least a weekly basis.
3. They mostly pray to handle hard situations like illness, sadness and anger.
Shane Sharp, a University of Wisconsin Madison sociology graduate student completed in depth interviews with 62 victims of violent relationships ages 19 to 72. These victims reported that prayer relieved the anger and stress of abuse because:
* God acts as a powerful, loving and caring support system that is available whenever and wherever needed without fear of reprisal.
A recent study on the role of prayer in cancer survival found:
* That prayer helped survivors put on an optimistic or positive spin on the disease giving them energy and motivation to work hard on their own behalf in collaboration with their health team.
* The positive view created is a real mental event, not a placebo.
* Those who prayed also had better lung function and lived on average 2 to 3 years longer than those who did not.
As far as I know, prayer is a universal practice in all religions, and thus the optimistic benefits of prayer have the potential to benefit anyone regardless of religious affiliation.
In a recent prior post, I cited scientific research supporting the optimistic benefits of giving back to others, both physical and mental. Now, imagine the optimism benefits of combining giving back with prayer. I do not know of any research studies on this topic and will not speculate on whether the effect is additive, multiplicative, or cumulative. However, it might be an interesting idea to consider.
If you want to do your own personal experiment/research try praying for one or more of these give backs during the holidays, consider praying for the:
1. health of another
2. willingness to make the sacrifice to actually give to the food bank
3. energy to go to the grocery store, buy some food items, and deliver them to a charitable group doing a food drive
4. energy to volunteer at a soup kitchen that is feeding the homeless
5. the employment of someone you know who is unemployed
6. ability of financially needy family to focus on appreciating the joy of their togetherness
7. needy child to get help from a mentor or benefactor
8. your children to learn to see that the Spirit of the holidays is about giving and not receiving
9. all those who feel less fortunate to find the positive element of their circumstance and to be able to give thanks for that
10. wisdom and guidance to continue to find the positive attitude and joy of giving back
For more Moment to Moment Optimism go to: http://www.drrussbuss.com
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