Claim that spiritual people are less stressed - How do you respond?

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mdeepm's picture
Claim that spiritual people are less stressed - How do you respond?

I was recently sent an article that appeared in the newspaper by a relative of mine. The article was titled "Are Spiritual People Less Stressed?". Under this guise the article went on to say that religiosity is good for mental health and companies should foster "workplace spirituality". The article cited the research conducted by Dr. Roxane Gervais that was published in the British Psychological Society ( My initial reaction was that of disgust and did not feel like responding to the person. But then I couldn't contain my urge to respond. But before that I did some research on the topic and the paper and did not get much credible details on the actual research done and the methods used. Below is the response I sent this person:

"It is no wonder that religion is the opium of the masses. Taking studies like these at face value and coming up with opinions is a mark of a stupid and closed mind. If you need to really be open minded, then you should really read the actual research that was conducted by Dr. Gervais who states that religious people are happy in the workplace and also read other papers that talk about how religious beliefs and practices are linked to hysteria, neurosis and psychotic delusions. If you are stating that religiosity and spirituality makes the mind impervious to sadness or anxiety etc, then yes it might be true given that it makes the mind dull and deluded. You could as well recommend a person having an anxiety attack to use drugs to pacify him. If you are really open minded enough why don't you recommend and send articles on using drugs to counter anxiety and depression. One needs to be open minded, but not so open minded that their brains fall out. I'm afraid that is what has happened to many people - their brains have fallen out! At the end of the day all this religiosity and spirituality (in the name of religion) is just falsehood, irrational and dangerous. Here are some references and critic on the study by Dr. Grevais. Dr.Grevais did the study with just 34 people (mostly women) employed in the Caribbean,. I could easily gather 34 people and publish a study that says the exact opposite. It is sad that people don't know how to evaluate an information for whether it is true, valid and meaningful. They just seem to believe whatever the newspaper prints. Before forwarding any information, check to see if it is valid, true and meaningful."

I'd much happy to hear your views on this topic and possibly how you would have responded.

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Nyarlathotep's picture
As far as I can tell it isn't

As far as I can tell it isn't even peer reviewed.

Spewer's picture
I'd scream GOD DAMN IT, slug

I'd scream GOD DAMN IT, slug whoever said it, then say "Hey, you know, I DO feel better. Thanks!"

Capt.Bobfm's picture
The British Psychological

The British Psychological Society should be ashamed of itself !
34 people in the Caribbean ?; Really?
How about a study with 34000 people who work and live in major cities in large countries.
I've been to the Caribbean many times and I can tell you from first hand experience that the people there , although very pleasant and nice, have a terrible work ethic.
They live in paradise and don't really need to work (at jobs) to survive.
Whatever jobs that are available are readily snatched up by north Americans and Europeans but the foreign holders of these jobs must give them up if a local person wants the job.
If the local job holder decides that he doesn't want to work any more he just quits, knowing that if he needs money, he can always demand a job that some foreigner has any time he wants.
Where is the stress in the workplace for them ?

watchman's picture
"Are Spiritual People Less

"Are Spiritual People Less Stressed?"

puts me in mind of a quote I heard ......

"If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, .....................

it's just possible you haven't grasped the situation."

Jean Kerr

Travis Hedglin's picture
I would respond with three

I would respond with three points:

1. The study is nowhere near as comprehensive as it actually needs to be in order to support the claim it asserts. When establishing things such as stress levels in a specific group, you need a intercultural and multioccupational study. You cannot take a random and small cross-sampling of the population in a single isolated area, and then extrapolate it to infinity.

2. This study really doesn't take into consideration nonoccupational stressors, like people talking down to you, or harassing you to convert. Nor does it take into account the natural social stress of being the minority in just about every room.

3. It is, to put it quite bluntly, an appeal to consequences. Even if the study were valid, would that diminish the validity of atheism in any way? No. A reasonable argument remains such despite how it makes one feel, and no amount of stress can turn a truth into a lie.

AntigoneRisen's picture
I don't know whether or not

I don't know whether or not religious people are less stressed. Considering all the rules and threats of punishment they have to consider, I'd really need to see some strong evidence to support that claim. In very basic (undergraduate) psychology classes, I learned that stress is normal. It's distress that psychologists use to described what we call simply "stress." In psychological terms, stress is merely the presence of a stimulus.

What I will say is that whether religious or "spiritual" people are less stressed is no more to the point than whether or not a drunken person is less stressed. Even if they find comfort and experience less stress than I, I am not a candidate for finding comfort and relaxation through religious or spiritual beliefs. I can no more find comfort in turning my problems over to a deity than I can in turning them over to Santa, the Easter Bunny, or my cat. In fact, I'd find more comfort in turning my problems over to my cat. At least my cat exists.

CyberLN's picture
I'm with you, I frequently

I'm with you, I frequently turn my problems over to my cat. She handles then far more efficiently than I.

Travis Hedglin's picture
My cat considers my problems

My cat considers my problems too meager for her vast intellect...

ThePragmatic's picture
Darnit... now I wish I had a

Darnit... now I wish I had a cat.

Travis Hedglin's picture
If ever you wanted a roommate

If ever you wanted a roommate that completely ignored you until you were cooking or using the bathroom, then yes, you should get a cat...

CyberLN's picture
My cat doesn't ignore me.

My cat doesn't ignore me. She insists on regular meal times with a wild variety of foods, new and frequent toys, princess beds all over the house, stroking and head boops according to her schedule, 3 cat boxes (always scooped), warmth, cat nip on demand, NO BATHING, no disruption when making bread dough on you, and absolutely no competition for your attention...but only when she is interested in it.

AntigoneRisen's picture
When my cat purrs, I feel

When my cat purrs, I feel better. :)

mysticrose's picture
Spirituality is not just

Spirituality is not just about religion or god. Spirituality can be practice by simply being quite, having a still mind, doing yoga, meditative breathing and loving self. Doing such things can really make us feel more relaxed and free from stress.

Capt.Bobfm's picture
You know, cats were revered

You know, cats were revered as gods in ancient Egypt.
Cats have not forgotten this.

Travis Hedglin's picture
No, they surely haven't. To

No, they surely haven't. To be fair, though, I think my cat would make a better god than most of the ones found in the major religions. At least she has the decency to ignore you until she wants something or you piss her off, she doesn't require constant praise and worship, her self-esteem is better than that...

CyberLN's picture
The difference between cats

The difference between cats and dogs:

It's a cold, rainy night and a dog shows up to your door. You bring her in, dry her off, and feed her. She will think you're a gawd.

It's a cold, rainy night and a cat shows up to your door. You bring her in, dry her off, and feed her. She will think SHE is a gawd.

cmallen's picture
All meow the great and mighty

All meow the great and mighty Rumpleteazer!

CyberLN's picture
Oh, mdeepm, it was all the

Oh, mdeepm, it was all the fault of the cats for the hijack of your OP....apologies on their behalf! ;-)

mdeepm's picture
I actually enjoyed the cat

I actually enjoyed the cat conversations :-)

mysticrose's picture
In fairness to cats, they are

In fairness to cats, they are more intuitive and sensitive than most human beings.

teomatiz's picture
I love your post

Learning to control your emotions is very important, and I think it's worth trying a good therapy with a psychologist. I found and turned to them with depression syndromes. Fortunately, I was stressed and we were able to treat it in time. I recommend this counseling for Australians, it's worth taking care of your mental health.


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Kreston's picture
In fact, stress is a very

In fact, stress is a very unpleasant condition that can develop into serious depression.

Kreston's picture
In fact, stress is a very


demik's picture
Surely many people know about

Surely many people know about the high effectiveness of cannabis for treating various nervous disorders. And if you feel anxious or unreasonably afraid, you should go here to buy cannabis edibles. The natural and thoughtful composition of these products will help you relieve nervous tension and thanks to a course of such therapy you will gain real resistance to stress.

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