Whether or not you're religious, the holiday season does inevitably bring to mind questions surrounding faith and spirituality. It's common—especially among company—to avoid too much talk of these subjects, which are often agreed to be taboo in certain settings. Our instinct to separate ourselves from thoughts and discussions of spirituality might actually have the opposite consequence to what we intend.
A recent study finds that being more open on topics of religion, or at least spirituality, can have positive effects on one's mental health. The study, conducted by Case Western Reserve University and published in the Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, finds that avoiding existential concerns and the "big questions" in life is linked with poorer mental health, including anxiety and even depression.
It turns out that embracing the struggle of spirituality—through tough questions about faith, morality, and the meaning of life—can actually reduce one's stress. This is because avoidance of these topics—especially when the teachings of one's religion or the religion within which they were raised, goes against what they perceive to be right or acceptable—actually creates more tension within their day-to-day existence and interactions with others. Addressing your spiritual questions and doubts head on and accepting religion's contradictions will provide you with a clearer moral understanding than struggling to keep your spiritual self and your everyday self separate.
Head to the comments to share how you integrate spirituality into your life, and how you plan on spending this holiday season.