My free local newspaper, Highfields Herald-Crow’s Nest Advertiser published an article today about a report on Stress and Well Being in Australia in 2011: A state of the nation survey. When I accessed the linked website I was intrigued to see that people in the 18-25 age group reported the highest levels of stress and the lowest levels of well being. Conditions attributing to this status centred around work-life balance, mostly.
Thankfully, the report noted that a high percentage of people do ask for help from family, friends or medical professionals. However, most try to block out (manage) the stress and anxiety by a number of measures including watching TV, smoking, drinking, overeating, overspending and gambling.
The years between 15-25 are a time of questioning and great discovery, but I found them difficult. I had to deal with sickness, failure in my chosen career, chronic lack of self-worth and indecision about another career path, and loneliness.
During this time, I learned that spiritual activities kept me sane and ever hopeful that things would get better. Rather than restricting me or quashing my questioning, my daily communion with the divine and loving Principle of the universe, along with giving my time to serving others, gave me a feeling of self-worth again, and opened up previously unknown pathways. Things started to go right for me again.
My spiritual research has led me to understand that what I needed all along was to put into daily practice my better understanding of the divine being and our wonderful relationship.
Recent research results show that spirituality impacts directly on a range of health determinants, and has a positive impact upon social, mental and emotional health. A 2008 study published in Australian Family Physician and written by Craig Hassad, Senior Lecturer, Department of General Practice at Monash University in Melbourne, reported that “Spirituality is an important determinant of physical, emotional and social health and may, in some circumstances, be a central aspect of the management of some conditions”. When commenting on escalating trends in youth suicide it suggests that “there may be too little attention being given to the ‘protective factors’ against mental illness, of which, particularly for adolescents, are connectedness and having a spiritual or religious dimension to one’s life” (Hassad, The role of spirituality in medicine, 2008).
It’s heartening that solutions to youth mental health are being discovered in spirituality. Hassad’s and similar research findings need to be guiding the treatment of anxiety and depression, not just in young people, but for all.
A spiritual or religious dimension to life will assist our youth as they seek (and find) their unique place in the world.
Media Spokesperson and Legislative Liaison for Christian Science in Queensland
I look for opportunities to provide a spiritual perspective to current events, offer findings on current scientific research in the field of spirituality and health, and give accurate information to the public about Christian Science and its founder Mary Baker Eddy.