I can use positive religious ways of coping. Ken Pargament has indicated that these include developing and maintaining a positive relationship with God or a higher power; collaborating with God in solving life’s problems while maintaining a sense of personal control and self-confidence; accessing and using my religious social network as a resource; viewing my place of worship as a “safe haven.” I can find some free time to recharge my “inner batteries.”
Spiritual coping includes the adoption of faith-based beliefs and values as a form of positive coping. It also involves receiving support that draws upon common beliefs and values that nurture a sense of belongingness through participation in spiritual/faith-based groups and organizations. Such positive religious coping is associated with lower rates of stress, depression, anxiety and with increased levels of self-esteem, life satisfaction, physical and mental well-being and more satisfying interpersonal relationships. People who attend religious services regularly tend to live longer, are less likely to abuse alcohol and drugs and even go to the dentist more often than less religious folks.
Individuals who have a religious faith and who participate in religious services experience greater social supports resulting in reduced distress and increased personal growth. Such positive results have been found in parents who have lost a child as a result of suicide, cancer and burn patients and bereaved caregivers of HIV/AIDS patients.
“My search for the sacred leads me to personal growth and resilience.”
“Prayer reminds me that I am part of a community.”
“There are no coincidences. Everything happens for a reason. God has his reasons.”
“God never gives you more than you can handle. All that God does is for the best.”
“I have to be better now because God was good to me so I have to be a good child of God.”
“In Buddhism, originally founded by Siddharta Gutama, known as Buddha, one searches for self-enlightenment attained by an awakening to the Truth. The objective is to rid oneself of the tenacious idea that everything is everlasting. All is transitory.”
“Life is regarded as continuous suffering. I can now see the positive side of suffering. Suffering will be redeemed.”
“In the final analysis, the question of why bad things happen to good people translates itself into some very different questions, no longer asking why something happened, but asking how we will respond, what we intend to do now that it has happened?”
—Rabbi Harold Kushner, Why Bad Things Happen to Good People
“Crisis means a change in the flow of life. The river flows relentlessly to the sea. When it reaches a part that is blocked by rocks and debris, it struggles to find ways to continue its path. Would the alternative be to flow backwards? That is what a person in crisis craves, to go back in time. But life does not provide a reverse gear, and the struggle must be to go forward, like the river, with occasional pauses to tread water and check out where we are heading.”
“When the roots of a tree hit a large stone or other obstacle, do they try to shove the stone away or crack it? No. The roots just grow around the obstacle and keep going. The stone may have interrupted or slowed the tree’s growth for a while, but no stone, no matter how large can stop the tree from growing.”