When a person suffers brain injury, what role does faith play? Whether it’s the economy, personal tragedy, or healing, worldwide test results are the same—those who have faith heal faster.
In two studies led by Assistant Psychology Professor, Michael Inzlicht, participants performed a Stroop task which assesses cognitive control. Comparing believers against non-believers, religious participants showed significantly less anxiety.
Inzlicht’s research shows our belief system can help block anxiety and minimize stress. “We found that religious people or even people who simply believe in the existence of God show significantly less brain activity in relation to their own errors. They are much less anxious and feel less stressed when they have made an error,” says Inzlicht, who teaches and performs research at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Obviously, anxiety can be a negative because if you have too much, you’re paralyzed with fear,” he says. “However, it also serves a very useful function in that it alerts us when we’re making mistakes. If you don’t experience anxiety when you make an error, what impetus do you have to change or improve your behavior so you don’t make the same mistakes again and again?”
Scientists are taking a hard look at the value of faith as an instrument in healing. Scientists at such prestigious institutions as California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, Duke University in North Carolina, and the George Washington University Institute for Spirituality and Health in DC are exploring the relationship between prayer, faith, and healing.
Religion can help those with chronic conditions, including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke and arthritis, say the authors of a study at the University of Missouri at Columbia.
The North American Brain Injury Society released an article in November 2008 supporting faith in the healing process of the brain injured. The society claimed that what is at the core of brain injury rehabilitation is the same as what we believe gives value to human existence (ie: happiness, dignity, respect, growth, dedication, and community integration). Part of the healing process after brain injury consists of a “community of thriving,” one in which individuals are allowed to make contributions to their own lives and to the lives of others. To be successful, brain injury rehabilitation must focus on critical, real-life, heart and soul issues. A functional model of brain injury intervention must not only focus on walking, talking, and what is “medically necessary,” but must uphold what makes us special as individuals. The focus on the being of the person, that essence that makes us each feel alive, must be at the heart of our endeavors and scientifically supported, and faith seems to make a difference.
At Fisher Stark, as experienced lawyers and people who are familiar with the process of brain injury recovery, we understand the importance of spirituality in our own lives. We understand what you are going through and encourage you to pray and connect with your spiritual community. Spirituality is important in life and healing. We actively support our local churches and community organizations and have recognized the role of faith and fellowship in our clients’ cases. If you have been injured, know that many community personalities are willing and able to help you, and we are one of them. Call us to see how we can help.
Last updated 7/5/2015