Wracked with Fear? Then Find a Tribe, Says Study
The spectres of insecurity, addictions and anxiety plague modern society, yet research is increasingly showing that one cure for such maladies isn’t medication or therapy, but becoming part of a community with goals, values and authentic sharing.
Anxiety disorders are now the most common type of psychiatric illness, with addictions and suicide on the rise, especially amongst men.
In a recent University of Toronto study, research showed that 72% of study respondents were able to achieve complete freedom from mental health issues for one calendar year after engaging with a meaningful group or trusted individual.
The study went as far as to say that 40% were in a state of “excellent mental health” and almost 60% had no issues at all, meaning zero addiction issues, suicidal thoughts, substance dependence, or depression.
The definition of excellent mental health sets a very high bar.
To be defined in excellent mental health, respondents had to achieve three things:
- Almost daily happiness or life satisfaction in the past month
- High levels of social and psychological well-being in the past month
- Freedom from generalized anxiety disorder and depressive disorders, suicidal thoughts and substance dependence for at least the preceding full year
Esme Fuller-Thomson, lead author of the study, said: “This research provides a very hopeful message for individuals struggling with anxiety, their families and health professionals.
“Our findings suggest that full recovery is possible, even among those who have suffered for many years with the disorder.”
The researchers added that individuals who had at least one person in their lives who provided them with a sense of trust, security and wellbeing were three times more likely to be in excellent mental health than those without a confidant.
“For those with anxiety disorders, the social support that extends from a confidant can foster a sense of belonging and self-worth which may promote recovery” the researchers added.
Spiritual Beliefs Also Key
In addition, those who turned to their religious or spiritual beliefs to cope with everyday difficulties had 36% higher odds of excellent mental health than those who did not use spiritual coping, according to the study.
“Other researchers have also found a strong link between recovery from mental illness and belief in a higher power,” added the researchers.
For those interested in an introduction to spiritual rest, check out the below video
The researchers also found that poor physical health, functional limitations, insomnia and a history of depression were impediments to excellent mental health in the sample.
“Health professionals who are treating individuals with anxiety disorders need to consider their patients’ physical health problems and social isolation in their treatment plans,” concluded the study.
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