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Pursue spiritual and existential questions for your mental health

Harold Mandel's picture
Seeking spiritual awareness

In our high tech era there are many people who feel that dealing with concepts like spiritual awareness and existential questions are not relevant to your well being.


It appears in the best interest of your mental health vital concepts dealing with spiritual awareness and existential dilemmas should not be placed aside. If you confront these difficult issues you may have a greater chance to be mentally healthy.

Failing to confront the really big questions about life has been associated with mental health issues

Case Western Reserve University
reports that it appears there is poorer mental health in people who avoid spiritual struggles. When someone allows the fear of dealing with the tensions and conflicts which are often associated with existential concerns to get the best of them there is often poorer mental health. Failing to confront the really big questions about life has been linked to higher levels of anxiety, depression, and problems regulating emotion according to researchers from Case Western Reserve University.

Julie Exline, who is a professor of psychological sciences at Case Western Reserve and a co-author of this research, says it is often seen as being taboo to confront religious and spiritual struggles. Difficult questions dealing with morality, faith, and the meaning of life are therefore often avoided. Exine says anxiety and depression are generally more intense when people avoid these conflicts instead of confronting them head on.

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The bottom line is people report on better mental health when they fully confront the difficult struggles and fundamental beliefs associated with spiritual and existential issues. A refusal to accept and deal with spiritual struggles could contribute to major social problems. There could be lost opportunities to actively engage with people of various beliefs and backgrounds who may instead be viewed as threatening.

People generally appear to be emotionally healthier when they can accept thoughts which are troubling

Exine says that people generally appear to be emotionally healthier when they can accept thoughts which are troubling. It seems to help to view spiritual doubts in an objective manner. Even if you choose not to work them through it's significant if you can at least tolerate having them.

It's not the avoidance itself which creates problems. It is instead the development of behavior which can become problematic which can be harmful. Such a person may become rigid in dealing with the world due to escapist behaviors which run contrary to personal goals.

There may be a serious problem working toward experiencing the qualities which seem to give life a sense of purpose when there is a regular avoidance of spiritual issues according to Exine. There may be strains on emotional well being due to an avoidance of such challenging issues.

This study has been published in the Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science. There has been an association observed between adverse symptoms and experiential avoidance and spiritual struggles. Spiritual struggles should be directly addressed by therapists. People should be encouraged to feel comfortable searching for spiritual awareness and confronting existential questions.