Spiritual Experiences Can Improve Long-Term Mental Health

In a new study of countless individuals who reported an individual experience with “supreme truth” or God, a majority state the experience led to lasting positive adjustments in their mental wellness, life satisfaction, purpose as well as meaning even decades after the initial encounter.

The research study, carried out by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, is the first to systematically and rigorously contrast records of spontaneous God experience experiences, including those militarized by psychedelic compounds, such as magic mushrooms or ayahuasca.

” Experiences that individuals refer to as experiences with God or an agent of God have been reported for thousands of years, as well as they likely form the basis of most of the globe’s religious beliefs,” says lead scientist Roland Griffiths, Ph.D., teacher of psychiatry as well as behavioral scientific researches at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

” And although modern-day Western medicine does not normally take into consideration ‘spiritual’ or ‘spiritual’ experiences as one of the devices in the toolbox versus illness, our searchings for recommend that these encounters commonly cause improvements in psychological wellness.”

The historical and also extensive unscientific evidence for their advantages brought about the research study team’s newest initiative to look into the worth, as well as feasible downsides, of such encounters, Griffiths states.

The researchers checked out information from 4,285 individuals worldwide that responded to on-line promotions to complete a couple of 50-minute on the internet studies regarding God encounter experiences. Of the total amount participants, 809 were those that responded to the non-drug survey, whereas 3,476 responded to the psychedelics survey.

The studies asked participants to remember their solitary most unforgettable encounter experience with the “God of their understanding,” a “higher power,” “utmost fact” or “a facet or agent of God, such as an angel.” They likewise asked exactly how respondents felt regarding their experience as well as whether as well as how it altered their lives.

Around 69 percent of the individuals were males, and also 88 percent were white. The ordinary age was 38. Of those that reported using a psychedelic, 1,184 took psilocybin (” magic mushrooms”); 1,251 stated they took LSD; 435 claimed they took ayahuasca (a plant-based brew originating with aboriginal societies in Latin America); and also 606 said they took DMT (N,N-dimethyltryptamine), also a naturally occurring compound located in particular plants and also animals.

Those that said they had a God encounter experience while taking a psychedelic reported that these experiences occurred at age 25 generally, whereas those whose experience was spontaneous reported having it at an average age of 35.

Among other vital findings:

  • Around 75 percent of participants in both the non-drug as well as psychedelics groups rated their “God encounter” experience as among one of the most meaningful as well as mentally considerable in their life time, and both teams credited to it positive modifications in life definition, function and also fulfillment;
  • Independent of psychedelics use, greater than two-thirds of those that stated they were atheists before the experience no more identified therefore afterward;
  • Most individuals, in both the non-drug and psychedelics teams, reported brilliant memories of the encounter experience, which often entailed communication with some entity having the qualities of awareness (roughly 70 percent), benevolence (around 75 percent), knowledge (approximately 80 percent), sacredness (around 75 percent) and infinite existence (approximately 70 percent);
  • Although both groups reported a decreased fear of fatality, 70 percent of participants in the psychedelics team reported this change, compared with 57 percent among non-drug participants;
  • In both teams, around 15 percent of the respondents said their experience was one of the most emotionally testing of their lives;
  • In the non-drug team, individuals were probably to pick “God” or “an emissary of God” (59 percent) as the most effective descriptor of their encounter, while the psychedelics team were more than likely (55 percent) to pick “utmost fact.”

For future research, Griffiths stated his group wants to examine what factors predispose somebody to having such a memorable experience, and they want to see what happens in the brain during the experience.

” Continuing to explore these experiences might offer brand-new insights right into spiritual and religious ideas that have been essential to forming human society given that time long past,” says Griffiths.

In addition, says Griffiths, “We wish to be clear that our research takes a look at personal experiences as well as claims nothing concerning the existence, or nonexistence of God. We doubt that any kind of scientific research can definitively settle this point in either case.”

Griffiths has actually been looking into psychedelic drugs for nearly twenty years. Several of his earlier research studies have actually utilized psilocybin to check out mystical-type experiences and also their effects in healthy volunteers, and the healing potential of the medicine in aiding people to give up smoking cigarettes or to reduce mental distress in cancer cells individuals.

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