I’ve known it for a long time. Hopefully you have too. An Ivy League researcher knows it as well. Spirituality is good for our mental health.
Lisa Miller, a professor in the Clinical Psychology Program at Teachers College, Columbia University, has dedicated most of her career to the study of neuroscience and spirituality. Her life's work has been to understand the place of spirituality in renewal, in recovery, in resilience, and to put this in the language of science.
She found that . . .
- you can literally see that the brain will respond to spiritual stimuli
- holding spiritual beliefs can decrease our rates of anxiety and depression and generally make us most likely to lead happier lives
- the protective benefit of personal spirituality, meaning someone who says their personal spirituality is very important, is 80% against addiction
- when we cultivate our spirituality, we’re 82% less likely to take our lives
If you and I have skeptical family members and friends who are very left-brained and skeptical, sharing scientifically-base information might lead them to consider the value of exploring their spiritual lives.
In Acts 17, Paul was having a conversation with skeptics who thought faith in Jesus sounded strange. Paul recognized that they were extremely religious (though they may not have perceived themselves that way.) He observed the objects that they worshiped (whatever we worship is what our religion is whether we wish to admit that or not.)
Paul declared that God is not far from each one of us spiritually—for in Him we live and move and have our being. Whether we’re more scientifically inclined or not, the question is—will we seek God or not. Well?