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August 2019 (Vol. 4 Issue 6)

Tackling the big questions makes you less depressed
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

Tackling the big questions makes you less depressed image

Is there a God? Does life have a purpose? The big questions—and if we’re prepared to tackle them, we’re less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety, and we’re better able to cope with our emotions.

People who avoid the problems raised by religion and philosophy are likely to suffer from worse depression and anxiety, say researchers from the Case Western Reserve University.

They based their findings on a survey of 307 people about their recent life experiences, and found that those who wouldn't engage in the big questions of life suffered "more intense" bouts of depression and anxiety.

"People seem to be more emotionally healthy if they're able to accept troubling insights. Looking at spiritual doubts in an objective way seems to help. You may or may not work through them, but you can at least tolerate having them," said lead researcher Julie Exline.

Ignoring the big questions could be symptomatic of a more general problem of avoidance and escapism, which can be harmful or even self-defeating in achieving personal goals. It could also indicate a rigid outlook to life and the way we respond to experiences.


References

(Source: Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, 2016; 5: 258)

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