In this age of technical advancement, people are facing such problems more and more.
Depression is a common mental disorder.
Globally, more than 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression.
Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
Depression is a major contributor to the global burden of disease.
It is a known fact that antidepressant medication or psychotherapy can only provide a temporary relief from the problem. Some people turn to drugs and liquor, but we know that it will do more harm than good. At its most severe, depression can lead to suicide and according to a research report published by BioMed Central depression is responsible for 850,000 deaths every year.
It is an interesting fact to note that nowadays people are turning towards meditation instead of medication to fight such problems. According to a new study prayer is found to be the most effective way to fight off depression and keep other illnesses away.
What is Prayer?
A prayer is often a chant of repetitive, rhyming words (mantra or scripture) or a song (bhajan). Recent scientific researches and studies reveal the benefits of praying:
Reduces chances of depression and anxiety
According to a new study, spiritual / religious practice may fight off depression - mostly in people who are predisposed to it - by thickening of the brain cortex. The study conducted by Prof. Lisa Miller of Clinical Psychology at the Spirituality Mind Body Institute at Teachers College, Columbia University which included 103 people who were at a great risk of depression. On mapping their brain activity using an MRI, she found that people who regularly prayed had thicker cortices when compared to those who did not. The thinning of the cortices in some areas of the brain is an indicator of approaching ill health, particularly because of depression. Thicker cortices indicate a smaller chance of suffering from depression, suggesting that prayer does yield some benefits to the human brain.
Helps one live longer
In 2011, Dr. Howard Friedman (psychiatrist at University of California) shared some insights from his research - does prayer lead to better health and extended life? His answer is - prayer does enhance the health and longevity of a person. Numerous studies have found a positive link between praying and physiological responses.
Keeps away most stress related disorders:
Chronic ailments like heart diseases, diabetes, hypertension, etc., are all considered to be a result of excessive stress. According to Ayurveda, stress is the number one reason for the build-up of toxins in the body, which lead to chronic conditions like diabetes and certain cancers.
Makes one happier:
A study conducted by Dr Newberg, Dept. of Psychiatry at University of Pennsylvania, found that praying can boost the level of dopamine or the €happy hormone' in one's brain thereby making one happier and more peaceful.
Hastens up post-surgical recovery:
Other studies have concluded that praying helps in the quicker healing of surgical scars. This is because when one's body is out of sync and stressed, it focuses on equalizing itself and thereby offering less resources to the healing process.
In summary, for ideal health, along with healthy food, exercise and sleep, start the day with a prayer: chant.
The scriptures recommend the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra, the great chant of deliverance (taraka mantra) for the people of this age. The mantra has 16 syllables: hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare / hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare and can be chanted repeatedly (japa) or sung in various tunes (kirtana).
About the Author
This author of the article belongs to ISKCON Bangalore Religious Temple. ISKCON Bangalore is a charitable society with the objective of propagating Krishna Consciousness all over the world, as explained by Srila Prabhupada, whose teachings are based on Bhagavad-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. The society was registered in the year 1978 under the Karnataka Societies Registration Act, 1960. Donations are accepted in order to uphold this mission of Srila Prabhupada.