Emotionally Touching Moments of Wonderous Awe Promotes Wellbeing

Emotionally Touching Moments of Wonderous Awe Promotes Wellbeing

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

And if a person is religious, I think it’s good, it helps you a bit. But if you’re not, at least you can have the sense that there is a condition inside you which looks at the stars with amazement and awe.” Maya Angelou

 

Religion and spirituality have been promulgated as solutions to the challenges of life. There have been a number of studies of the influence of religiosity and spirituality on the physical and psychological well-being of practitioners mostly showing positive benefits, with spirituality encouraging personal growth, well-being, and mental health. Spirituality can also promote the occurrence of wondering awe which are emotional reactions to touching experiences. Wondering awe can induce internal changes in the individual. So, it is important to examine the relationships of wondering awe, spirituality, and well-being.

 

In today’s Research News article “Wondering Awe as a Perceptive Aspect of Spirituality and Its Relation to Indicators of Wellbeing: Frequency of Perception and Underlying Triggers.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.738770/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1750137_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211012_arts_A ) Büssing and colleagues recruited adult participants online and had them complete measures of Awe and Gratitude, spiritual experiences, well-being, and frequency of meditation and prayer. A separate group of participants wrote descriptions of situations where they experienced moments of wondering awe.

 

They found that women had significantly more experiences of awe than the men and older participants had more than younger participants. Christians had higher scores than non-religious participants but less than other denominations. They also found that the greater the frequency of awe the higher the well-being of the participants and the greater experiences of the sacred in daily life. The participants with the highest frequencies of awe were older, had the greater frequencies of spiritual practices, and the highest well-being and were more likely to meditate than pray. The descriptions of experiences of awe and gratitude were used to identify the triggers that elicited the experiences, and these were nature, persons, unique moments, and aesthetics, beauty, and devotion.

 

These findings are correlative. So, no conclusions about causation can be definitively reached. But it is clear that these experiences of wonderous awe and gratitude most often occur in women, older individuals, and those with religious orientations and they were associated with the individual’s well-being and experiences of the sacred. They were most often triggered by environmental conditions.

 

It is important to study these emotionally touching moments of awe and gratitude as they are associated with inner change in the individual. They can trigger new attitudes, insights, and behaviors. Importantly, they are associated with the person’s overall well-being. Future research might attempt to trigger more experiences of wonderous awe by immersing participants in the situations that tend to elicit awe and gratitude and examine their impact on the individual’s health, well-being, and spirituality.

 

So, emotionally touching moments of wonderous awe promotes wellbeing.

 

We can all experience feelings of awe as we ponder how everything that we witness is created and aligned in such a way that our lives unfold the way they do.” – K. Barrett

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Büssing A (2021) Wondering Awe as a Perceptive Aspect of Spirituality and Its Relation to Indicators of Wellbeing: Frequency of Perception and Underlying Triggers. Front. Psychol. 12:738770. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.738770

 

Background: Spirituality is a multidimensional construct which includes religious, existentialistic, and relational issues and has different layers such as faith as the core, related attitudes and conviction, and subsequent behaviors and practices. The perceptive aspects of spirituality such as wondering awe are of relevance for both, religious and non-religious persons. These perceptions were related to perceiving the Sacred in life, mindful awareness of nature, others and self, to compassion, meaning in life, and emotional wellbeing. As awe perceptions are foremost a matter of state, it was the aim (1) to empirically analyze the frequency of wondering awe perceptions (i.e., with respect to gender, age cohorts, religious or non-religious persons) and (2) to qualitatively analyze a range of triggers of awe perceptions.

Methods: Data from 7,928 participants were analyzed with respect to the frequency of Awe/Gratitude perceptions (GrAw-7 scale), while for the second part of the study responses of a heterogeneous group of 82 persons what caused them to perceive moments of wondering awe were analyzed with qualitative content analysis techniques.

Results: Persons who experience Awe/Gratitude to a low extend were the youngest and had lowest wellbeing and lowest meditation/praying engagement, while those with high GrAw-7 scores were the oldest, had the highest wellbeing, and were more often meditating or praying (p<0.001). Gender had a significant effect on these perceptions, too (Cohen’s d=0.32). In the qualitative part, the triggers can be attributed to four main categories, Nature, Persons, Unique Moments, and Aesthetics, Beauty, and Devotion. Some of these triggers and related perceptions might be more a matter of admiration than wondering awe, while other perceptions could have more profound effects and may thus result in changes of a person’s attitudes and behaviors.

Conclusion: Emotionally touching experiences of wondering awe may result in feelings of interconnectedness, prosocial behavior, mindful awareness, and contribute to a person’s meaning in life and wellbeing and can also be a health-relevant resource. These perceptions can be seen as a perceptive aspect of spirituality, which is not exclusively experienced by religious people but also by non-religious persons.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.738770/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1750137_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211012_arts_A

 

Psychedelic Drugs are Theorized to have Aided in Human Social Evolution

Psychedelic Drugs are Theorized to have Aided in Human Social Evolution

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“psychedelics have profound cognitive, emotional, and social effects that inspired the development of cultures and religions worldwide.” – Michael J. Winkelman

 

Psychedelic substances such as peyote, mescaline, LSD, Bufotoxin, ayahuasca and psilocybin have been used almost since the beginning of recorded history to alter consciousness and produce spiritually meaningful experiences. Psychedelics produce effects that are similar to those that are reported in spiritual awakenings, a positive mood, with renewed energy and enthusiasm. It is easy to see why people find these experiences so pleasant and eye opening. They often report that the experiences changed them forever.

 

It is not known why the use of psychedelic substances have been so widely used throughout human evolution. Natural selection suggests that the use of these substances must confer some adaptive advantage, or their use would have ceased. What exactly are those advantages is a source of active debate in the scientific community. In today’s Research News article “Psychedelics, Sociality, and Human Evolution.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.729425/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1750137_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211012_arts_A ) Arce and colleagues provide an evidence backed theoretical argument regarding the role of psychedelic substances in the evolution of humankind.

 

There is substantial evidence that early hominids routinely ingested fungi including mushroom that contained psychedelic substances. Early recorded history includes description of psychedelic uses in Mesoamerican societies. Indeed, psychedelic use has been recorded in early societies in Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East, South America, Artic and Subarctic, and Central America. This suggests that there must be some instrumental effect of these substances that enhances the survival of humans.

 

Psilocybin and related psychedelics do not have physically toxic side effects. So, they can be ingested safely. The only evident problem is a change in cognition that could open “the possibility for errors in judgment, false perceptions, distortions, and illusions that could undermine an individual’s capacity for alertness, strategic thinking, and decision-making”. But early humans learned to use these substances in particular circumstances, such as rituals,  where the consequences of altered cognition could be minimized.

 

In their favor, psychedelic substances have been shown to improve coping with stress which was likely high in early hominid development. In addition, psychedelic substances have been used throughout history for the treatment of diseases and in recent years have been found to be effective in promoting recovery from a cancer diagnosis, relieving depression, and even in smoking cessation.

 

Psychedelic substances have traditionally been used in groups particularly around rituals and religious ceremonies which would improve social bonds, group cohesion, and pro-social behavior. This would facilitate social cooperation that was essential for early hominid group survival. Psychedelic substances have also been shown to enhance creative thinking and problem solving which would be of great use in adapting to changing environments.

 

These findings and arguments suggest that ingesting psychedelic substances may have been adaptive for humans increasing their chances of survival and procreation. It seems counterintuitive that ingesting substances that for the short term may make the individual less responsive and capable in the environment could actually improve survival. But that is what psychedelic substances appear to do. In this way ingesting psychedelic substances may be adaptive and thus be promoted in evolution.

 

So, psychedelic drugs are theorized to have aided in human social evolution

 

psychedelic drugs. By simulating the effects of religious transcendence, they mimic states of mind that played an evolutionarily valuable role in making human cooperation possible – and with it, greater numbers of surviving descendants.” – James Carney

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Rodríguez Arce JM and Winkelman MJ (2021) Psychedelics, Sociality, and Human Evolution. Front. Psychol. 12:729425. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.729425

 

Our hominin ancestors inevitably encountered and likely ingested psychedelic mushrooms throughout their evolutionary history. This assertion is supported by current understanding of: early hominins’ paleodiet and paleoecology; primate phylogeny of mycophagical and self-medicative behaviors; and the biogeography of psilocybin-containing fungi. These lines of evidence indicate mushrooms (including bioactive species) have been a relevant resource since the Pliocene, when hominins intensified exploitation of forest floor foods. Psilocybin and similar psychedelics that primarily target the serotonin 2A receptor subtype stimulate an active coping strategy response that may provide an enhanced capacity for adaptive changes through a flexible and associative mode of cognition. Such psychedelics also alter emotional processing, self-regulation, and social behavior, often having enduring effects on individual and group well-being and sociality. A homeostatic and drug instrumentalization perspective suggests that incidental inclusion of psychedelics in the diet of hominins, and their eventual addition to rituals and institutions of early humans could have conferred selective advantages. Hominin evolution occurred in an ever-changing, and at times quickly changing, environmental landscape and entailed advancement into a socio-cognitive niche, i.e., the development of a socially interdependent lifeway based on reasoning, cooperative communication, and social learning. In this context, psychedelics’ effects in enhancing sociality, imagination, eloquence, and suggestibility may have increased adaptability and fitness. We present interdisciplinary evidence for a model of psychedelic instrumentalization focused on four interrelated instrumentalization goals: management of psychological distress and treatment of health problems; enhanced social interaction and interpersonal relations; facilitation of collective ritual and religious activities; and enhanced group decision-making. The socio-cognitive niche was simultaneously a selection pressure and an adaptive response, and was partially constructed by hominins through their activities and their choices. Therefore, the evolutionary scenario put forward suggests that integration of psilocybin into ancient diet, communal practice, and proto-religious activity may have enhanced hominin response to the socio-cognitive niche, while also aiding in its creation. In particular, the interpersonal and prosocial effects of psilocybin may have mediated the expansion of social bonding mechanisms such as laughter, music, storytelling, and religion, imposing a systematic bias on the selective environment that favored selection for prosociality in our lineage.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.729425/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1750137_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211012_arts_A

 

Spirituality is Related to Reduced Depression but Negative Religiosity is Associated with Suicidality

Spirituality is Related to Reduced Depression but Negative Religiosity is Associated with Suicidality

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“The trouble is that just as it is hard to feel connected to other people while depressed, it is difficult to feel connected to God. A leap of trust and faith is frequently needed to be spiritual while depressed.” – Healthtalk.org

 

Depression and other mood disorders are the number-one risk factor for suicide. More than 90% of people who kill themselves have a mental disorder, whether depression, bipolar disorder or some other diagnosis. So, the best way to prevent suicide may be to treat the underlying cause. For many this means treating depression.

 

Spirituality is defined as “one’s personal affirmation of and relationship to a higher power or to the sacred. There have been a number of studies of the influence of spirituality on the physical and psychological well-being of practitioners mostly showing positive benefits, with spirituality encouraging personal growth and mental health. Spirituality may help to provide meaning and prevent suicide. But there is scant research on the relationship of spirituality and religiosity and suicide.

 

In today’s Research News article “Comparison of religiosity and spirituality in patients of depression with and without suicidal attempts.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8221206/ ) Dua and colleagues

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies recruited 2 groups of patients both with depression and suicidal ideation and one with an additional suicide attempt. They also recruited age and gender matched healthy control participants. They completed measures of the depression, impulsivity, hopelessness, anxiety, irritability, mania, suicide severity, centrality of religion and spiritual attitudes.

 

They found that the depressed groups did not differ in purpose, hope, and organized, nonorganized religious activities and intrinsic religiosity. On the other hand, patients with suicidal ideation generally had a family history of suicide. Patients who had attempted suicide were significantly higher in hopelessness and suicide ideation and lower on social support than patients who had nor attempted suicide. They also had significantly higher levels of negative religious coping. Compared to the healthy controls the depressed groups were significantly lower in religiosity. They also found that the lower the levels of religiosity the greater the levels of suicidal ideation and the higher the number of suicide attempts. But, in the suicide attempters higher levels of ideological religiosity was associated with greater severity of suicide ideation.

 

These are interesting but correlative findings and as such causation cannot be determined. Nevertheless, the results suggest that spirituality, although associated with lower depression, is not significantly related to suicide ideation or attempts. On the other hand, negative religious coping, ideological religiosity, and low religiosity were. In other words, being religious, in general is not a problem. But adhering to the ideology or using negative religious coping are associated with suicidality.

 

Negative religious coping involves struggling with religion, questioning, guilt, and perceived distance from and negative views of god. This type of coping does not provide support in times of psychological distress and in fact may exacerbate feelings of hopelessness. Regardless, it appears that non-spiritual uses and ideas about religion and god my be associated with more thoughts about suicide and an increased likelihood of attempting suicide.

 

So, spirituality is related to reduced depression but negative religiosity is associated with suicidality.

 

Whether your depression manifests itself as a loss of appetite, decreased sense of self-worth, lost productivity, feelings of helplessness, prolonged worry or any other symptom, spirituality can absolutely help an individual along their journey toward purpose.” – Pyramid Healthcare

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Dua, D., Padhy, S., & Grover, S. (2021). Comparison of religiosity and spirituality in patients of depression with and without suicidal attempts. Indian journal of psychiatry, 63(3), 258–269. https://doi.org/10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_246_20

 

Abstract

Aim:

This study is aimed to compare the religiosity and spirituality of patients with first-episode depression with suicidal ideation and those with recent suicidal attempts. Additional aim was compare the religiosity and spirituality of patients with first-episode depression with healthy controls.

Methods:

Patients of first episode depression with suicidal ideation and healthy controls were assessed by Centrality of Religiosity Scale (CRS), Duke University Religion Index (DUREL), Brief Religious coping scale (R-COPE), and Spiritual Attitude Inventory (SAI).

Results:

Patients with depression were divided into two groups based on the presence (n = 53) or absence (n = 62) of suicidal attempts in the previous 14 days. Both the patients with and without suicide attempts were matched for depression severity. Both the patient groups did not differ in terms of religiosity and spirituality as assessed using CRS and SAI. Both depression groups had lower scores on religiosity as compared to healthy controls as assessed on CRS. The two groups also had a lower score on the “sense of hope” which is a part of SAI, when compared to healthy controls. Compared to patients without suicide attempts (i.e., ideators group) and healthy controls, subjects with suicide attempts more often used negative religious coping. Total numbers of lifetime suicide attempts in the attempt group were associated with the ideology domain of the CRS.

Conclusion:

Compared with healthy controls, patients with depression have lower levels of religiosity and spirituality. In the presence of comparable severity of depression, higher use of negative religious coping is associated with suicide attempts.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8221206/

Spirituality (Meaningfulness) is Related to Lower Work Burnout

Spirituality (Meaningfulness) is Related to Lower Work Burnout

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“the use of spiritual beliefs and practices can reduce the effects of burnout.” – Andrew Jacob Godoy

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. Religion and spirituality have been promulgated as solutions to the challenges of life. There have been a number of studies of the influence of religiosity and spirituality on the physical and psychological well-being of practitioners mostly showing positive benefits, with spirituality encouraging personal growth and mental health. Spirituality may be viewed as a search for meaning in one’s life. Hence, there is a need to investigate the relationships of spirituality (meaningfulness) with burnout in work environments.

 

In today’s Research News article “An Empirical Investigation of the Relationship Between Spirituality, Work Culture, and Burnout: The Need for an Extended Health and Disease Model.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.723884/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1735535_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210921_arts_A ) Listopad and colleagues recruited employed adults online and had them complete measures of burnout, work engagement, meaningfulness of work, and homeliness in the organization. They operationally define spirituality as meaningfulness which in this study translates to meaningfulness of work.

 

They found that the lower the levels of work engagement, meaningfulness of work, and homeliness the greater the level of burnout. They also found that the subscales of the meaningfulness of work measure were negatively related to burnout especially positive meaning of work and were also positively related to work engagement. Additionally, they found that the subscales of the homeliness in the organization measure were negatively related to burnout especially needs fulfillment, group membership, and emotional connection and were also positively related to work engagement.

 

The study is correlative and as such caution must be exercised in reaching conclusions regarding causation. Nevertheless, the results demonstrate that spirituality (meaningfulness) is related to lower burnout. The results suggest that greater meaningfulness of work (spirituality) and t connection of the worker to the organization (homeliness) the lower the levels of burnout and the higher the levels of engagement in the work. The search for meaning (spirituality) is ubiquitous in humans. Hence, in part, burnout is more likely to occur when there is a lack of meaningfulness. When meaning is missing it is more likely that work will unsatisfying and burnout can occur.

 

So, spirituality (meaningfulness) is related to lower work burnout.

 

spirituality may have a positive impact on the experience of and ability to manage workplace stress . . . spirituality may have positive impacts on job burnout.” – Jessica L. Lueck

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Listopad IW, Esch T and Michaelsen MM (2021) An Empirical Investigation of the Relationship Between Spirituality, Work Culture, and Burnout: The Need for an Extended Health and Disease Model. Front. Psychol. 12:723884. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.723884

 

Apart from biological, psychological, and social factors, recent studies indicate that spirituality and work culture also play an important role in the onset of burnout. Hence, the commonly applied bio-psycho-social model of health and disease might not be sufficient to comprehensively explain and describe burnout. This study empirically investigates the relationship between spirituality (operationalized by perceived meaningfulness of work) and work culture (operationalized by sense of homeliness of the working environment) with burnout risk and work engagement. For this purpose, an anonymous cross-sectional data collection with fully standardized questionnaires and selected socio-demographic and work-related items was conducted among working adults (n = 439) from different industries via social media and local health service centers. For all scales and subscales, we found significant moderate to strong correlations. Furthermore, positive meaning within the perceived meaningfulness of work scale was the largest beta coefficient for burnout (β = −0.65) and work engagement (β = 0.62). Within sense of homeliness, the largest beta coefficient for burnout was needs fulfillment (β = −0.34) and work engagement emotional connection (β = 0.36). The strong associations suggest that the current health and disease model needs to be expanded to a bio-psycho-socio-spirito-cultural model to be able to sufficiently describe burnout. The perceived meaningfulness of work and a sense of homeliness should be adequately considered when examining the onset of burnout, describing burnout as a concept, and explaining work engagement.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.723884/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1735535_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210921_arts_A

 

Improve Alcohol Treatment Completion with Spirituality

Improve Alcohol Treatment Completion with Spirituality

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“spiritual experiences and spiritual practices, including prayer and mindfulness meditation, may be helpful in reducing hazardous drinking and in the treatment of [Alcohol Use Disorder].” – Katie Witkiewitz

 

Inappropriate use of alcohol is a major societal problem. In fact, about 25% of US adults have engaged in binge drinking in the last month and 7% have what is termed an alcohol use disorder. Alcohol abuse is very dangerous and frequently fatal. Nearly 88,000 people in the US and 3.3 million globally die from alcohol-related causes annually, making it the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Drunk driving accounted for over 10,000 deaths; 31% of all driving fatalities. Excessive alcohol intake has been shown to contribute to over 200 diseases including alcohol dependence, liver cirrhosis, cancers, and injuries. It is estimated that over 5% of the burden of disease and injury worldwide is attributable to alcohol consumption.

 

An effective treatment for this addiction has been elusive. Alcoholics Anonymous has been as effective as any other treatment devised. Why is it somewhat effective when many other programs fail? Why is it effective for some, but not all? One reason could be the emphasis on spirituality present in AA. So, it is important to investigate the role of spirituality in successful treatment for alcohol abuse.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effect of Baseline Patterns of Spiritual Coping, Forgiveness, and Gratitude on the Completion of an Alcohol Addiction Treatment Program.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8137607/ ) Charzyńska and colleagues recruited adults undergoing outpatient treatment for alcohol dependence and had them complete measures of spiritual coping, forgiveness, gratitude, and whether they completed the therapy program.

 

They report that 52.6% of the participants completed the therapy program. They found that the patients who had positive spiritual coping, forgiveness, and gratitude, and a low level of negative spiritual coping were most likely to complete the program. They also found that patients who employed negative spiritual coping had the lowest likelihood of completing the program.

 

Positive spiritual coping involves the search for inner peace and harmony, deep relationships with other people, seeking peace in nature, and seeking support from a higher being. The results suggest that this kind of coping makes it more likely that the patient will complete therapy for alcohol abuse. On the other hand, negative spiritual coping involves questioning life’s meaning, seeing others as hypocritical and egoistic, and questioning god’s love for humans. The results suggest that this kind of coping makes it less likely that the patient will complete therapy.

 

These findings suggest that people who use spirituality to make their lives better, richer, and more meaningful are more likely to be successful in alcohol abuse treatment, while those who use it as an excuse for their behavior, projecting their failures onto god and others, are less likely to be successful. Hence, spirituality is helpful for patients undergoing treatment for alcohol abuse if it used in a positive life affirming way.

 

So, improve alcohol treatment completion with spirituality.

 

Spiritual and faith-based treatments greatly soothe the psyche and emotions and carry little to no risk of adverse impact for patients.” – Krystina Murray

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Charzyńska E. (2021). The Effect of Baseline Patterns of Spiritual Coping, Forgiveness, and Gratitude on the Completion of an Alcohol Addiction Treatment Program. Journal of religion and health, 60(3), 1796–1817. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-021-01188-8

 

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to identify distinct profiles of persons beginning alcohol addiction therapy with similar baseline configurations of spiritual coping, forgiveness, and gratitude. The associations between latent profile membership and the completion of therapy were also examined. The sample was composed of 358 alcohol-dependent persons receiving an outpatient treatment program. The Spiritual Coping Questionnaire, the Forgiveness Scale, and the Gratitude Questionnaire were used to assess the baseline levels of spirituality-related variables. Using latent profile analysis, five profiles were identified: (1) both moderately positive and negative dimensions of spirituality (33.2%), (2) moderately positive dimensions of spirituality (21.0%), (3) predominantly negative dimensions of spirituality (20.2%), (4) mixed dimensions of spirituality with the lowest positive religious coping (14.0%), and (5) highly positive dimensions of spirituality (11.6%). Notably, the latent profiles differed in terms of the treatment completion rates. The results suggest the need to carry out a multidimensional assessment of spiritual functioning of persons beginning alcohol addiction therapy to provide treatment that is adjusted to patients’ spiritual potential and deficits.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8137607/

 

Spirituality Modifies Coping with Covid-19 Evoked Psychological Distress

Spirituality Modifies Coping with Covid-19 Evoked Psychological Distress

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“COVID-19 . . . patients are suffering greatly from spiritual distress as well: existential distress, struggles with uncertainty, despair, hopelessness, isolation, feelings of abandonment by God or others, grief, and the need for reconciliation.” – GW School of Medicine

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the mental and physical health of the population. It has created intense stress for frontline workers but also for people simply isolating at home. Religion and spirituality have been promulgated as solutions to the challenges of life. There have been a number of studies of the influence of religiosity and spirituality on the physical and psychological well-being of practitioners mostly showing positive benefits, with spirituality encouraging personal growth and mental health. Perhaps, then, spirituality can be helpful in relieving stress and improve coping with the mental and physical challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

In today’s Research News article “Coping with COVID-19: An Examination of the Role of (Non)Religiousness/(Non)Spirituality.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8140577/ ) Abbott and Franks recruited adults over the internet and had them complete measures of coping strategies, psychological distress (anxiety, depression, and perceived stress), religiousness, spirituality, and pandemic related trauma.

 

They found that the higher the levels of pandemic related trauma and dysfunctional coping, the higher the levels of psychological distress experienced by the participants. Trauma was found to be both directly and indirectly associated with psychological distress via dysfunctional coping. This was true for religious, non-religious, and high and moderate spirituality participants but not for low spirituality participants.

 

These results are correlational and as such caution must be exercised in forming conclusions regarding causation. But the relationship is clear between the trauma created by the pandemic and psychological distress, people who are traumatized experience high levels of anxiety, depression, and stress. The trauma is also related to dysfunctional coping suggesting that traumatized individual tend to engage in maladaptive coping strategies. Dysfunctional coping involves coping with difficulties by behavioral disengagement, denial, self-distraction, self-blame, substance use and venting and these strategies are associated with heightened levels of trauma. Finally, the analysis suggests that pandemic related trauma is associated with psychological distress directly and also indirectly by being associated with higher levels of dysfunctional coping which in turn is associated with higher levels of distress.

 

These results suggest that religion and spirituality are helpful in coping with trauma produced by the Covid-19 pandemic. But not with those having low levels of spirituality. Spirituality generally implies a feeling or belief in something beyond the physical. Conversely, low spirituality would imply a focus solely on the physical. So, the results suggest that trauma does not affect coping’s effects on psychological distress when there’s a belief that only physical forces are involved. This then suggests that spirituality increases the individual’s attempts to deal with trauma with coping strategies.

 

So, spirituality modifies coping with covid-19 evoked psychological distress.

 

“during a major crisis such as the Covid-19 pandemic, we need to make sure that everyone is getting spiritual care.” – Eric Hall

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Abbott, D. M., & Franks, A. S. (2021). Coping with COVID-19: An Examination of the Role of (Non)Religiousness/(Non)Spirituality. Journal of religion and health, 60(4), 2395–2410. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-021-01284-9

 

Abstract

Psychological distress and coping strategies employed during collective trauma events may vary for theists and atheists, as well as others along the (non)religious spectrum. The present study explored these differences via data collected from a US-based sample during the COVID-19 pandemic. Statistical models suggested relationships between maladaptive coping and distress for all participants and potential differences in coping and, in turn, distress between participants high and low in institutional religiousness and individual spirituality. Additionally, all participants, though especially nonreligious participants, appeared less able to engage in adaptive emotion-focused coping strategies. Implications for future research are provided.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8140577/

 

Yoga Practice is Positively Related to Spirituality

Yoga Practice is Positively Related to Spirituality

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“This ancient science goes far beyond the mere physical aspects, by way of deepening the connection between mind, body and most important of all, the spirit.“ – Himalayan Yoga Institute

 

Yoga developed in India millennia ago as a deep spiritual practice. It developed as a contemplative practice that unified body and mind. Yoga was known to have physical benefits, but the most important benefit was seen to be spiritual development. But as yoga emerged and was practiced in the west it was secularized. This was for good reason, as western society was not ready to accept an ancient eastern spiritual practice. As a result, to the vast majority of westerners, yoga is an exercise to improve appearance and  physical fitness. It is a means to mold the body to look good, as a health promoting practice, and as a strategy to help lose weight. It is unclear whether the association of yoga with spirituality is still present in western societies.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Relationship Between Yoga and Spirituality: A Systematic Review of Empirical Research.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.695939/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1699247_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210805_arts_A ) Csala and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies on the association of Yoga practice with spirituality. They identified 30 published research studies.

 

They report that the published research found that yoga practice produces increases in the spirituality of practitioners. They report that the regularity of yoga practice is positively related to the increased spirituality. In western cultures the most frequent reasons for yoga practice are physical, particularly health and appearance. But as practice continues s spirituality becomes more and more the goal of practice regardless of the original intent. In addition, they report that yoga practitioners are spiritual as opposed to religious. Practitioners emphasize direct conscious experience.

 

Hence, in the west, regular yoga practice leads to increased spirituality regardless of the original intent of engaging in yoga practice. This suggests that components of yoga practice have characteristics that lead to increased spirituality. This could well be the present moment focus involved in yoga practice. This improved spirituality may be, at least in part, the mechanism by which yoga practice leads to greater physical and psychological well-being.

 

So, yoga practice is positively related to spirituality.

 

Yoga is not a religion (though those who are unfamiliar with it sometimes misunderstand it as such). Yoga is a practice, and a philosophy. It is a lens through which to understand the world and your place in it. And if you do have a religion, or spiritual practice of any kind, it gives you a set of practical tools that can help to deepen your faith.” – Katie Malik

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Csala B, Springinsfeld CM and Köteles F (2021) The Relationship Between Yoga and Spirituality: A Systematic Review of Empirical Research. Front. Psychol. 12:695939. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.695939

 

Objective: Both yoga practice and spirituality are associated with beneficial mental health outcomes. Within yoga research, however, spirituality is still a widely neglected area. The present systematic review aims to explore empirical studies, which do, in fact, investigate the relationship between yoga and spirituality in order to provide an overview and future directions for research on this topic. The review examines whether available empirical research supports an association between yoga practice and spirituality and, if so, which specific aspects of spirituality are associated with yoga practice.

Methods: The systematic review followed the PRISMA guideline (Prospero registration number: CRD42020155043). Empirical studies written in English, German, or Hungarian language were selected from a database search in Google Scholar, PsycINFO, and Science Direct. A total of 30 studies met the final inclusion criteria.

Results: According to the quantitative and qualitative studies reviewed, yoga practice seems to be positively associated with spirituality. This association concerns various aspects of spirituality, such as spiritual aspirations, a search for insight/wisdom, an integrative worldview, a sense of meaning and peace, faith, hope, compassion, and happiness within. To harness the potential spiritual benefits of yoga, regular practice appears to be essential. Yoga practitioners seem to have both physical and spiritual motives for practicing. At least in Western societies, however, physical intentions are more prevalent than spiritual ones. The meaning of spirituality for yoga practitioners is also discussed. Due to risk of bias of the majority of the reviewed studies, however, outcomes must be taken with caution.

Conclusion: Yoga practice may be positively associated with several aspects of spirituality. For more evidence, further investigation of the topic is suggested. Particularly, we propose the inclusion of holistic forms of yoga practice and a comparison of Eastern and Western approaches to yoga.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.695939/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1699247_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210805_arts_A

 

Spirituality and Religion are Associated with Better Well-Being in Medical Residents

Spirituality and Religion are Associated with Better Well-Being in Medical Residents

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Most internal medicine residents have positive attitudes toward spirituality, religion, and medicine. They do not have adequate knowledge or skill to care for patients in this area.” – Gina M. Piscitello

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. In high stress occupations, like healthcare, burnout is all too prevalent. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. Religion and spirituality have been promulgated as solutions to the challenges of life. There have been a number of studies of the influence of religiosity and spirituality on the physical and psychological well-being of practitioners and patients mostly showing positive benefits, with spirituality encouraging personal growth and mental health. But there is still a need to investigate the relationships of spirituality with psychological well-being in patients and medical residents.

 

In today’s Research News article “Spirituality and religion in residents and inter-relationships with clinical practice and residency training: a scoping review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8166631/ ) Chow and colleagues review and summarize the published research on the relationship of spirituality and religion to the psychological well-being of patients and medical residents. They identified 44 published studies.

 

They report that the research found that medical residents believed that spirituality and religion were important to patients and made a difference in the outcomes of treatment. Over half of the residents identified themselves as spiritual or religious. The higher the degree of spirituality but not church going of the residents’ the greater sense of accomplishment and overall health and the lower the levels of burnout and depression. They report that although the patients rarely brought up spirituality and religion and the residents rarely inquired, when the medical issue was very serious and life threatening, it was brought up 72% of the time. They also report that the curriculum for medical residents rarely included spirituality and religion topics.

 

The findings suggest that the majority of medical residents recognize the importance of spirituality and religion for their patients and that it positively relates to treatment adherence and clinical outcomes, but the issues were rarely addressed. Spirituality and religion were important personally to the majority of the residents and were related to better well-being and lower burnout. But there was little instruction in the curriculum about these issues and there was great reticence to bring it up with patients. This suggests that training curricula for medical residents should include greater incorporation of spiritual and religious issues and how to incorporate them into patient care.

 

So, spirituality and religion are associated with better well-being in medical residents.

 

Although religion and spirituality continue to be contested and controversial topics in our society, the existing evidence highlights patients’ desires to have some level of spiritual interaction with their healthcare providers.” – James Behan

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Chow, H., Chew, Q. H., & Sim, K. (2021). Spirituality and religion in residents and inter-relationships with clinical practice and residency training: a scoping review. BMJ open, 11(5), e044321. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-044321

 

Abstract

Objectives

With the increased emphasis on personalised, patient-centred care, there is now greater acceptance and expectation for the physician to address issues related to spirituality and religion (SR) during clinical consultations with patients. In light of the clinical need to improve SR-related training in residency, this review sought to examine the extant literature on the attitudes of residents regarding SR during residency training, impact on clinical care and psychological well-being of residents and SR-related curriculum implemented within various residency programmes.

Design

A scoping review was conducted on studies examining the topic of SR within residency training up until July 2020 on PubMed/Medline and Web of Science databases. Keywords for the literature search included: (Spirituality OR Religion) AND (Residen* OR “Postgraduate Medicine” OR “Post-graduate Medicine” OR “Graduate Medical Education”).

Results

Overall, 44 studies were included. The majority were conducted in North America (95.5%) predominantly within family medicine (29.5%), psychiatry (29.5%) and internal medicine (25%) residency programmes. While residents held positive attitudes about the role of SR and impact on patient care (such as better therapeutic relationship, treatment adherence and coping with illness), they often lacked the knowledge and skills to address these issues. Better spiritual well-being of residents was associated with greater sense of work accomplishment, overall self-rated health, decreased burnout and depressive symptoms. SR-related curricula varied from standalone workshops to continuous modules across the training years.

Conclusions

These findings suggest a need to better integrate appropriate SR-related education within residency training. Better engagement of the residents through different pedagogical strategies with supervision, feedback, reflective practice and ongoing faculty and peer support can enhance learning about SR in clinical care. Future studies should identify barriers to SR-related training and evaluate the outcomes of these SR-related curriculum including how they impact the well-being of patients and residents over time.

Keywords: medical education & training, Education & training (see medical education & training), mental

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8166631/

 

Spirituality is Associated with Fewer Suicide Attempts

Spirituality is Associated with Fewer Suicide Attempts

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“spirituality can engender the perspective that things happen for some reason and serve a greater purpose. This, in turn, deploys our attention toward the potential for a brighter future, which can create a sense of optimism even when one’s situation seems dire.” – David Rosmarin

 

Around 43,000 people take their own lives each year in the US. Someone dies from suicide every 12.3 minutes. Worldwide over 800,000 people die by suicide every year. The problem is far worse than these statistics suggest as it has been estimated that for every completed suicide there were 12 unsuccessful attempts. In other words, about a half a million people in the U.S. attempt suicide each year. Yet compared with other life-threatening conditions there has been scant research on how to identify potential suicide attempters, intervene, and reduce suicidality.

 

Depression and other mood disorders are the number-one risk factor for suicide. More than 90% of people who kill themselves have a mental disorder, whether depression, bipolar disorder or some other diagnosis. So, the best way to prevent suicide may be to treat the underlying cause. For many this means treating depression. Spirituality may help to provide meaning and prevent suicide. But there is scant research on the relationship of spirituality and religiosity and suicide.

 

In today’s Research News article “Factors Related to Suicide Attempts: The Roles of Childhood Abuse and Spirituality.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8044867/ ) Tae and Chae recruited patients with anxiety or depressive disorders and had them complete measures of suicide attempts, anxiety, depression, childhood trauma, spiritual well-being, and social support. 25% of the participants indicated that they had attempted suicide.

 

They found that in comparison to non-suicide attempters, the participants who had attempted suicide had significantly higher levels of anxiety, depression, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, and emotional and physical neglect and significantly lower levels of spirituality and social support. A hierarchal regression revealed that a high level of emotional abuse and a high level of sexual abuse as well as low spirituality predicted suicide attempts. A mediation analysis revealed that childhood emotional, sexual abuse, and low spirituality were all significant direct predictors of suicide attempts and also significant indirect predictors such that abuse and low spirituality were associated with higher levels of depression which, in turn was associated with suicide attempts.

 

These results are correlational. So, no conclusions concerning causation can be reached. But the associations are clear. Depression, childhood emotional and sexual abuse, and low spirituality are all associated with suicide attempts. It is also clear that in addition to being directly associated with suicide attempts, childhood emotional and sexual abuse, and low spirituality also are associated with higher levels of depression which, in turn, is associated with suicide attempts.

 

Childhood emotional and sexual abuse are clearly risk factors for suicide and should be viewed as red flags in evaluating a patient. But these abuses occurred in the past and cannot be changed. Spirituality on the other hand can change. There are many religious and contemplative practices that can improve spirituality. The present results suggest that this may be helpful and lowering depression and preventing suicide. Future research is needed to investigate this idea, that increasing spirituality can decrease suicide risk.

 

So, spirituality is associated with fewer suicide attempts.

 

I personally think spirituality is a part of each of our beings. It has been the difference in my life and has walked me back from the place where I thought suicide was my only option.” – Kelli Evans

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Tae, H., & Chae, J. H. (2021). Factors Related to Suicide Attempts: The Roles of Childhood Abuse and Spirituality. Frontiers in psychiatry, 12, 565358. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.565358

 

Abstract

Objectives: The purpose of this article was to identify independent factors associated with suicide attempts in patients with depression and/or anxiety.

Background and Aims: This study was conducted in order to examine whether risk and protective psychological factors influence the risk of suicide attempts among outpatients with anxiety and/or depressive disorders. In this regard, explanatory models have been reported to detect high-risk groups for suicide attempt. We also examined whether identified factors serve as mediators on suicide attempts.

Materials and Methods: Patients from 18 to 65 years old from an outpatient clinic at Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital were invited to join clinical studies. From September 2010 to November 2017, a total of 737 participants were included in the final sample. The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ), Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Spiritual Well-being Scale (FACIT-Sp-12), and Functional Social Support Questionnaire (FSSQ) were used to assess psychiatric symptoms. An independent samples t-test, a chi-square test, hierarchical multiple regression analyses, and the Baron and Kenny’s procedures were performed in order to analyze data.

Results: Young age, childhood history of emotional and sexual abuse, depression, and a low level of spirituality were significant independent factors for increased suicide attempts. Depression was reported to mediate the relationship between childhood emotional and sexual abuse, spirituality, and suicide attempts.

Conclusions: Identifying the factors that significantly affect suicidality may be important for establishing effective plans of suicide prevention. Strategic assessments and interventions aimed at decreasing depression and supporting spirituality may be valuable for suicide prevention.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8044867/

 

Psychedelic Drugs Produce Experiences Like Spontaneous “God experiences”.

Psychedelic Drugs Produce Experiences Like Spontaneous “God experiences”.

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“I had the craziest experiences during meditation on psychedelics that have been the most convincing in my path to God,” – Gemma

 

Psychedelic substances such as peyote, mescaline, LSD, Bufotoxin, ayahuasca and psilocybin have been used almost since the beginning of recorded history to alter consciousness and produce spiritually meaningful experiences. Psychedelics produce effects that are similar to those that are reported in spiritual awakenings and “God experiences”. They report a loss of the personal self, a decentering. They experience what they used to refer to as the self as just a part of an integrated whole. They report feeling interconnected with everything else in a sense of oneness with all things. They experience a feeling of timelessness where time seems to stop and everything is taking place in a single present moment. They experience ineffability, being unable to express in words what they are experiencing and as a result sometimes producing paradoxical statements. And they experience a positive mood, with renewed energy and enthusiasm.

 

It is easy to see why people find these experiences so pleasant and eye opening. They often report that the experiences changed them forever. Even though the effects of psychedelic substances have been experienced and reported on for centuries, only very recently have these effects come under rigorous scientific scrutiny. It is important to investigate whether these experiences are the same or different from spontaneous awakening or “God experiences”.

 

In today’s Research News article “Survey of subjective “God encounter experiences”: Comparisons among naturally occurring experiences and those occasioned by the classic psychedelics psilocybin, LSD, ayahuasca, or DMT.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0214377 ) Griffiths and colleagues recruited online a group of participants who reported having “encounters with something that someone might call: God (e.g., the God of your understanding), Higher Power, Ultimate Reality, or an Aspect or Emissary of God (e.g., an angel)” and participants who reported “encountering something that occurred after taking a classic hallucinogen (e.g., psilocybin, LSD, ayahuasca, DMT, etc.). The participants complete an online survey measuring demographics, types of drugs used, their encounter experience, interpretation of their experience, persisting changes resulting from the experience, and mystical experiences. The drug group was further subdivided into psilocybin, LSD, ayahuasca, and DMT groups.

 

They found that all four drug groups in comparison to the non-drug group reported having significantly more sensory experiences, were more likely to be alone, were more likely to engage in a communication, had greater mystical experiences, but lower vividness. Despite these quantitative differences the groups endorsed remarkably similar characteristics of their experiences. All groups found the experiences to be emotional and having a message, mission, or insight, were similar in mystical experiences, appeared very real, and endorsed the experiences as having the qualities of benevolent, intelligent, sacred, conscious, eternal and all knowing, and existing in some other reality. All groups endorsed that they were changed and these were desirable changes in life satisfaction, purpose, meaning, spiritual awareness in everyday life, attitudes about life and self. In all groups those who described themselves as atheist before the experience no longer identified themselves as atheist after the experience.

 

Although there were some quantitative differences between drug and non-drug groups, the experiences were in general very similar. Psychedelic drugs have their effects by altering the brain. Similarly, contemplative practices that often produce mystical experiences also alter the brain. It remains to be seen if the changes in the nervous systems produced by these experiences are also similar. Nevertheless, the results suggest that spontaneous “God experiences” and experiences as a result of psychedelic drugs are quite similar and maybe representative of similar physiological changes.

 

So, psychedelic drugs produce experiences like spontaneous “God experiences”.

 

Majority of survey respondents attributed lasting positive changes in their psychological health—including life satisfaction, purpose, and meaning—even decades after initially experiencing ‘God’ or ‘ultimate reality,’ whether that experience was spontaneous or associated with the consumption of psychedelic substances. – Vanessa McMains

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Griffiths RR, Hurwitz ES, Davis AK, Johnson MW, Jesse R (2019) Survey of subjective “God encounter experiences”: Comparisons among naturally occurring experiences and those occasioned by the classic psychedelics psilocybin, LSD, ayahuasca, or DMT. PLoS ONE 14(4): e0214377. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0214377

 

Abstract

Naturally occurring and psychedelic drug–occasioned experiences interpreted as personal encounters with God are well described but have not been systematically compared. In this study, five groups of individuals participated in an online survey with detailed questions characterizing the subjective phenomena, interpretation, and persisting changes attributed to their single most memorable God encounter experience (n = 809 Non-Drug, 1184 psilocybin, 1251 lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), 435 ayahuasca, and 606 N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT)). Analyses of differences in experiences were adjusted statistically for demographic differences between groups. The Non-Drug Group was most likely to choose “God” as the best descriptor of that which was encountered while the psychedelic groups were most likely to choose “Ultimate Reality.” Although there were some other differences between non-drug and the combined psychedelic group, as well as between the four psychedelic groups, the similarities among these groups were most striking. Most participants reported vivid memories of the encounter experience, which frequently involved communication with something having the attributes of being conscious, benevolent, intelligent, sacred, eternal, and all-knowing. The encounter experience fulfilled a priori criteria for being a complete mystical experience in approximately half of the participants. More than two-thirds of those who identified as atheist before the experience no longer identified as atheist afterwards. These experiences were rated as among the most personally meaningful and spiritually significant lifetime experiences, with moderate to strong persisting positive changes in life satisfaction, purpose, and meaning attributed to these experiences. Among the four groups of psychedelic users, the psilocybin and LSD groups were most similar and the ayahuasca group tended to have the highest rates of endorsing positive features and enduring consequences of the experience. Future exploration of predisposing factors and phenomenological and neural correlates of such experiences may provide new insights into religious and spiritual beliefs that have been integral to shaping human culture since time immemorial.

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0214377