The Creativity Cure

A do-it-yourself prescription for happiness

11 Reasons to "Get a Religion"

Creativity, spirituality and wellness

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Somee research shows that people with spirituality or faith are happier.   Why might that be ?

 

  • Because when it feels as if it is not all up to you, it is a relief 
  • When it is about accepting things rather than controlling things, there is a greater chance for inner peace
  • There is an innate need to ponder mystery
  • Imagery, metaphors, parables and stories can sometimes move you more than intellectual understanding
  • You do not have to understand everything and not everything can be understood.  You can just “let”
  • With a spirituality, you may feel less alone
  • You may learn to like solitude
  • You may connect to others in meaningful ways
  • A sense of purpose comes from identifying with a being that represents your higher values, your better self
  • Sitting in a quiet space and hearing about how others managed challenges might instill hope
  • When you identify with a higher power and try to live up to what that power might hope or expect from you, you will probably do some good in this world.  Virtue, generosity and altruism lead to a better mood and a better atmosphere for all concerned. Everyone benefits.

 

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 I believe it was the psychologist, Dr. Martin Seligman, author of Authentic Happiness, who said, if you want to be happier, “Get a religion.” While these states can certainly be attained without "religion," others find faith helpful for triggering them.  

 

A Higher Power can be as you experience him, her or it in your own way. However it shows itself, as a human form or as a vague presence does not matter. See it in the way that suits your being. If an omen or a trinket helps you connect, then wear one or get one.  If visiting houses of worship takes you there then go and sit a while. 

 

Some people are secretive about their faith for fear of judgment. And yet in private, their unique sense of spirituality gets them though some seriously taxing situations.  A woman artist I know says, “No one wants to hear about it, but it saved me when my husband left me. “

 

Others seek faith and can’t follow through because something about it seems foreign, fake, not them. Perhaps it feels too connected to an oppressive thought process from the past.  Maybe they associate faith with cruelty in the name of righteousness.    Or they are so busy that the commitment to a worship ritual feels impossible.  The perspective provided by faith helps one manage these internal challenges.

 

How can one find a faith that feels authentic?   Just as in creativity, start a spiritual practice by just going to your place of peace on a regular basis.  Show up whether it is by a tree, on a rock, in a chapel, or near the water.  Get to some quiet space that speaks to you, wait and listen. See what you can discover.  See what comes or what you can imagine. Note where you are led or where your mind goes. When we are in touch with our core in still moments something higher inhabits our being and feels good.

 

 

 

Carrie Barron, M.D., is a psychiatrist and co-author of The Creativity Cure: A Do-It Yourself Prescription for Happiness, which she wrote with her husband, Alton Barron.

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