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a well wisher  
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 10 December 2012 at 8:36am

Religion, health, and personality

Each month new studies emerge about how religious belief affects well-being: belief in a loving, forgiving God is linked to slower progression of HIV; pro-religious people have better heart health. Each new study explores different facets of spirituality and religiosity, and different types of health. But what if this correlation is just a side effect of another, deeper connection? Corinna Loeckenhoff, a psychologist from Cornell, argues that personality may be that deeper factor, and her research backs her up.

Personality was measured with the Five Factor Model mentioned above. Spirituality and Religiosity was measured by the Ironson-Wood Spirituality/Religious Index, or IWSRI. And mental health was measured by five different scales

It may be off-putting to think about measuring Spirituality and Religiosity (S/R), but the IWSRI is more descriptive than evaluative. While each of these measures is individually intriguing, the truly remarkable part of this research comes from studying the relationship between them all. The simple two-way relationships that past research had found were again confirmed. Agreeableness and Conscientiousness were related to Religiosity. Openness was related to Spirituality.

In the relationship between personality and S/R, some more detailed connections emerged with the specific facets of each trait. For example, the relationship between openness and spirituality is driven primarily by two facets of openness: aesthetics and ideas. So not just everyone who is open to new experiences is likely to be spiritual, but instead specifically those who have a deep appreciation of beauty and intellectual curiosity are likely to be spiritual.

For one, they suggest that personality is more strongly associated with mental health than spirituality or religiosity are. Further, personality is related to health in ways that S/R doesn’t account for. The strongest claim that this study makes is that “personality traits fully account for the association of S/R with mental health.”

That statement probably needs some caveats and definitely deserves further study, but Loeckenhoff and crew are strong in their assertion. And not without cause, since the data points in this direction. Furthermore, this claim fits the understanding that spirituality and religiosity develop as basic personality traits are shaped and molded by culture, environment, and experience.

If Loeckenhoff is correct, what do we do with the studies linking a positive view of God with slower progression of HIV or intrinsic religiosity with better heart health? Perhaps more crucially, does understanding spirituality and religiosity as products of personality undermine their “specialness?”

At first glance this conclusion may seem to do just that. But this understanding of belief also points towards a more empathic understanding of others. This empathic understanding can help mend the rifts in our communities and, in doing so, lead towards a deeper understanding of what we are each calling sacred from our many different perspectives.

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 14 December 2012 at 12:45pm

The religious may fare better when the going gets tough

There’s no shortage of research on religion and health. Most of it suggests that the religious not only live longer, but are also likely to live better. Yet in spite of this abundance of research there’s still little to explain precisely why religion is related to health. Ferreting out the cause is a difficult task, but new research out of this field suggests that self-regulation may be an important piece of the reason.

Self-regulation is what most of us would call self-control. The ability to self-regulate has to do with setting goals, monitoring progress towards those goals, and adjusting behavior accordingly. So, having self-control means you’re able to keep moving towards a goal despite difficulties and setbacks. When you decide to diet, you’re still enticed by that tasty Boston crème donut, but you don’t give in....

Watterson and Giesler used the strength model of self-regulation to design a more nuanced study of religiosity and self-regulation. This model of self-regulation was made popular by psychologist Roy Baumeister and writer John Teirney’s book Willpower. They suggest that self-regulation acts very much like a muscle. So, if you go all day turning down donuts you may exhaust this muscle to the point that you aren’t able to follow through on that workout you had planned after work. This may also explain why the kitchen sink always seems to become messier during exam week.

The strength model carries two important implications for any research in self-regulation. First, it suggests that we can build our self-regulatory ability. If regular weight training builds muscle, then practicing self-control builds our capacity to self-regulate. This analogy is not just theoretical: one study found that after two weeks of a self-control exercise, like actively trying to have good posture, participants showed dramatic improvement in self-regulation. So, self-regulation can flag or grow.

Secondly, the increased capacity for self-regulation would only be observable under “heavy lifting.” Everyone has enough self-regulation for the common tasks we face each day. High levels of self-regulation may only become apparent when people are facing uncommonly difficult tasks.

 
 
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 19 December 2012 at 11:33am
Dr.Katja Sündermann: Islamic thought and Spiritual Healing
 

(About 12 mins)
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 20 December 2012 at 7:14am
D=S-M (Despair = Suffering-Meaning)
 
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

―Dr. Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning
 
Dr.Viktor Frankl on Religion & Ultimate Meaning
 
(About 4 mins)

Finding meaning in difficult times (Interview with Dr. Viktor Frankl)

(About 29 mins)
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 30 December 2012 at 3:14pm

Spirituality Key to Chinese Medicine Success: Study Explores Why Chinese Medicine Has Stood the Test of Time

Are the longevity and vitality of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) due to its holistic approach? Indeed, Chinese medicine is not simply about treating illness, but rather about taking care of the whole person -- body, mind, and spirit. According to an analysis of TCM's origins and development by Lin Shi from Beijing Normal University and Chenguang Zhang from Southwest Minzu University in China, traditional Chinese medicine is profoundly influenced by Chinese philosophy and religion. To date, modern science has been unable to explain the mechanisms behind TCM's effects.

The essence of TCM lies in its foundation in spirituality, religion, and philosophy, making it quite different from Western medicine and leading it to be viewed by some as magical and mysterious.
 

This analysis shows, among other things, that the underlying premise of Chinese medicine is that the mind and body of a person are inseparable. To be in good health, a person must have good spirit and pay attention to cultivating their spirit. Chinese doctors see "people" not "diseases" and equate "curing diseases" with "curing people."

According to the authors: "Good health and longevity are what we pursue. More and more people are concerned about ways to prevent disease and strengthen their bodies, which is the emphasis of traditional Chinese medicine. It pays attention to physical pains, and at the same time is also concerned with spiritual suffering. Therefore, TCM can teach people to be indifferent towards having or not having, to exist with few desires and feel at ease, to keep the body healthy and the mind quiet, and to achieve harmony between the body and the mind and then to achieve harmony with the world and nature."

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 02 February 2013 at 7:01am

EEG spectral analysis on Muslim prayers

However, the mean RP(α) showed higher alpha amplitude during the prostration position of the Dhuha prayer and acted condition at the parietal and occipital regions in comparison to the resting condition.
 
Findings were similar to other studies documenting increased alpha amplitude in parietal and occipital regions during meditation and mental concentration. The incidence of increased alpha amplitude suggested parasympathetic activation, thus indicating a state of relaxation.
 
Subsequent studies are needed to delineate the role of mental concentration, and eye focus, on alpha wave amplitude while performing worshipping acts.
 
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 07 March 2013 at 8:33am

Paging God in Health Care

National surveys show that close to 75% of Americans believe God can cure people who have been given no chance of survival by medical science. Seventy percent regularly pray for their own health or the health of family members.

Despite these numbers, a growing body of research shows that health care organizations are not as responsive to religion and spirituality as they might be. In my recently released book, Paging God: Religion in the Halls of Medicine, I find that physicians, nurses and chaplains in large academic hospitals conceive of religion and spirituality in a host of ways that make communication and interdisciplinary care that includes attention to religion and spirituality difficult. While nurses generally make room for patients’ religious and spiritual backgrounds, many physicians are less prepared to offer spiritual support in their own or other faith traditions. Surveys reinforce these findings showing that close to three-quarters of advanced cancer patients do not receive the spiritual or religious support they need from health care organizations and close to half do not receive it even from religious groups.

Why?

Despite their missions to care, many health care organizations don’t see providing religious and spiritual support to patients and families as central to what they do. The 2012 Joint Commission’s Comprehensive Accreditation Manuel for Hospitals requires health care organizations to “respect the patient’s cultural and personal values, beliefs and perspectives,” and to “accommodate the patient’s right to religious and other spiritual services” among other things. The Commission allows health care organizations to do this as they see fit. The real financial strains many hospitals face frequently make hiring a professionally trained chaplain to provide this care a low priority.

Second, many health care providers receive little to no professional training in religion and spirituality. Historically nurses learned more about religion, as part of good bedside care, than did doctors but many are still not sure how to approach patients and families about these issues. It was in end of life situations, in my research in intensive care units, that providers were most likely to bring up religion or spirituality but even then many were uncomfortable. Many health care educators are attempting to address this problem but work remains to be done.

While palliative care professionals are increasingly paying attention to religion and spirituality, health care providers across specialties need to be more aware of these issues. Spiritual and religious concerns are not optional for many patients and families in their care, but core to how patients experience themselves, their illnesses and their care. Creating ways for health care organizations to be more aware and responsive to religion and spirituality will not make health care more efficient or less expensive but will make it more compassionate.
 
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote botak Replybullet Posted: 13 March 2013 at 11:23am
Have there been many actual scientific studies on the effects of faith/positive thinking on the curing of serious physical diseases?

There is anecdotal evidence but that is often subjective and misleading.

I'm far from an expert on medical matters, but I remember reading this once:

"The spontaneous remission rate of all cancers, lumped together, is estimated to be something between one in ten thousand and one in a hundred thousand. If no more than 5 percent of those who come to Lourdes were there to treat their cancers, there should have been something between 50 and 500 'miraculous' cures of cancer alone [it is estimated that 200 million people have visited Lourdes since 1860]. Since only three of the attested 65 cures [accepted by the R C Church as miraculous cures] are of cancer, the rate of spontaneous remission at Lourdes seems to be lower than if the victims had just stayed at home."
—From Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World p. 221.

also:

"There's no scientific proof that a positive attitude gives you an advantage in cancer treatment or improves your chance of being cured.

What a positive attitude can do is improve the quality of your life during cancer treatment and beyond. You may be more likely to stay active, maintain ties to family and friends, and continue social activities. In turn, this may enhance your feeling of well-being and help you find the strength to deal with your cancer."

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cancer/HO00033

I can understand that faith can bring many benefits to a seriously ill person in terms of spiritual well being and also quality of life, but is there any real scientific evidence that it improves your chances of surviving a serious illness?

[However, in terms of psychological and emotional issues, I can see that faith could potentially bring many health benefits though, including helping someone to completely overcome these issues.]
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 20 March 2013 at 4:18pm
Originally posted by botak

Have there been many actual scientific studies on the effects of faith/positive thinking on the curing of serious physical diseases?
 
 
 
Not many but as a physician ,I believe , that the secret of the care of the patient  is is in caring for the patient....To cure sometimes , to relieve often, to comfort always...this is the nature of our work....so I am personally interested in exploring this territory:)
 
http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/Healing-and-Faith

Originally posted by botak


There is anecdotal evidence but that is often subjective and misleading.
 
 
Well I would respectfully disagree botak.It is not misleading but a step in a better direction...Imo, as Kant mentioned, science divorced from philosophical guidance is blind.
 
For example, check out this article...
 
 
 
I am not suggesting that our culture should now erect an aesthetic monument. But rather I believe that the nation -- wealthy, at peace, and stable -- provides a similar world historical opportunity. We can choose to create a scientific monument -- a science that takes as its primary task the understanding of what makes life worth living. Such an endeavor will move the whole of the social science away from its negative bias. The prevailing social sciences tend to view the authentic forces governing human behavior to be self-interest, aggressiveness, territoriality, class conflict and the like. Such a science, even at its best, is by necessity incomplete. Even if utopianly successful, it would then have to proceed to ask how humanity can achieve what is best in life.I predict that Positive Psychology in this new century will come to understand and build those factors that allow individuals, communities, and societies to flourish. Such a science will not need to start afresh. It requires for the most part just a refocusing of scientific energy. In the fifty years since psychology and psychiatry became healing disciplines, they developed a highly useful and transferable science of mental illness. They developed a taxonomy as well as reliable and valid ways of measuring such fuzzy concepts as schizophrenia, anger, and depression. They developed sophisticated methods ---both experimental and longitudinal -- for understanding the causal pathways that lead to such undesirable outcomes. And most importantly they developed pharmacological and psychological interventions which have moved many of the mental disorders from "untreatable" to "highly treatable" and in a couple of cases, "curable." These same methods, and in many cases the same laboratories and the next two generations of scientists, with a slight shift of emphasis and funding, will be used to measure, understand, and build those characteristics that make life most worth living. As a side effect of studying positive human traits, science will learn how to better treat and prevent mental, as well as some physical, illnesses. As a main effect, we will learn how to build the qualities that help individuals and communities not just endure and survive, but also flourish.
 
http://www.ppc.sas.upenn.edu/ppsnyderchapter.htm
 
 
Originally posted by botak



[However, in terms of psychological and emotional issues, I can see that faith could potentially bring many health benefits though, including helping someone to completely overcome these issues.]
 
 
Exactly.Isn't it emotional and not physical pain that is the center of the euthanasia debate?
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 08 April 2013 at 3:48pm

If you've never had to make an end-of-life decision for a loved one, you probably will one day. Eighty percent of hospital deaths now involve an explicit decision to stop some form of treatment. When you make this decision, your stress level will be the equivalent of someone whose house just burned down. And if you've never actually talked to your loved one about how they want you to make that decision, your chances of correctly guessing what they want is only two out of three.

Startling facts such as these roll off the tongue of Dr. Daniel Sulmasy, O.F.M. as casually as another doc might say, "Take two aspirin and call me in the morning." One of the nation's premiere bioethicists, Sulmasy wears a number of hats in his work at the University of Chicago: Along with being a physician who sees patients and an ethics professor, he teaches in the divinity school, and he's a Franciscan friar.

Known for tackling tough ethical issues, Sulmasy specializes in decisions at the end of life as well as the spiritual dimensions of practicing medicine. Not surprisingly, he thinks those two are inextricably linked.


Lest anyone think that dealing with life-and-death medical issues all day would be a downer, here's what Sulmasy told the Chicago Tribune on his appointment to the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues: "I have to say not many people have it as good as I do."

Why should health care providers be a part of the conversation about the spiritual care of the dying?

Because medicine is inherently spiritual. The first healers, the shamans, were both priests and doctors. There's something very significant about the interaction between a healer and a patient that raises the big questions, although physicians sometimes don't allow people to ask them: Why me, or why my child? Why am I suffering? What's the meaning of this?

If we're committed to healing patients as whole persons but don't address those kinds of questions, then we're negligent in our work as physicians. If all I'm doing is giving chemotherapy, I'm missing 99 percent of the picture...

 
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 27 May 2013 at 3:49pm
There Shall Be Physicians for the Spirit: USC Institute for Genetic Medicine Art Gallery

(About 29 mins)

 
 
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 29 May 2013 at 5:23pm
It is not true that if we had true faith we would not be sad.
 
Prophets (as), and righteous people experienced a great deal of sadness. The Quran is full of stories in which the central theme is sadness. Sadness is a reality of life. The Quran is not there to eliminate sadness, but to navigate it.
 
Sadness is one of the tests of life, just as happiness, and anger are tests.
 

Nouman Ali Khan-“The Quran’s Remedy for Sadness”
 
 

It’s easy to minimize a person’s hurt without understanding the nature of pain. People often like to categorize how much a person should or shouldn’t hurt about things. For example, when someone is upset about something, they say, “At least you’re not paralyzed, or starving in Africa.” While it’s imperative to be grateful for what we have, I think people often mistaken the nature of pain, when they ‘categorize’ in this way. A relationship break up can hurt more than struggling with cancer (true story). The criteria for how much something hurts is not dependent on the thing itself. It is dependent on 2 things:

1. The strength of the attachment.

2. The level of Divine help.

Therefore to minimize the devastation of pain:

1. Don’t be attached to (dependent on) temporary things.

2. Seek Divine help.

And don’t assign judgement for people’s pain.

Yasmin Mogahed

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 31 May 2013 at 4:50pm

Let The Healing Begin

Imam Zaid Shakir

H-E-A-L to heal: to make sound or whole (heal a wound); to restore to health; to cause an undesirable condition to be overcome; to mend; to patch up (a breach or division); to restore to original purity or integrity.

H is for Hearts  In the aftermath of the tragic events in Boston, we should understand that meaningful and lasting healing will not start until we begin to strengthen and cleanse our hearts. This is the place where real religion dwells. In terrestrial terms, the revelation began in the heart of our Prophet, peace and blessings of Almighty God upon him.

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 23 June 2013 at 8:56am
“We are all of us exposed to grief: the people we love die, as we shall ourselves in due course; expectations are disappointed and ambitions are thwarted by circumstance. Finally, there are some who insist upon feeling guilty over the ill they have done or simply on account of the ugliness which they perceive in their own souls. A solution of a kind has been found to this problem in the form of sedatives and anti-depressant drugs, so that many human experiences which used to be accepted as an integral part of human life are now defined and dealt with as medical problems. The widow who grieves for a beloved husband becomes a 'case', as does the man saddened by the recollection of the napalm or high explosives he has dropped on civilian populations. One had thought that guilt was a way, however indirect, in which we might perceive the nature of reality and the laws which govern our human experience; but it is now an illness that can be cured.
 

Death however, remains incurable. Though we might be embarrassed by Victorian death-bed scenes or the practices of mourning among people less sophisticated than ourselves, the fact of death tells us so much about the realities of our condition that to ignore it or try to forget it is to be unaware of the most important thing we need to know about our situation as living creatures.
 
Equally, to witness and participate in the dying of our fellow men and women is to learn what we are and, if we have any wisdom at all, to draw conclusions which must in their way affect our every thought and our every act.”
 

Charles Le Gai Eaton, King of the Castle: Choice and Responsibility in the Modern World
 
 
 
 
Doctor and Patient Dialogue:Spirituality at the End of Life

http://www.einstein.yu.edu - Q & A session of the inaugural Humanism and Ethics Night themed "The Role of the Physician in Addressing Patients' Spiritual and Religious Needs in End of Life Decision Making." Panelists are Ingrid Mattson, director, Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, The Hartford Seminary; Rabbi Edward Reichman, M.D., associate professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Reverend Allan Lokos, Interfaith Minister and Founder of the Community Meditation Center; and Daniel P. Sulmasy, M.D., Ph.D., Kilbride-Clinton Professor of Medicine and Ethics at The University of Chicago. (December 8, 2011)
 
 
 
 
(14 mins)
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