The Buddha’s teachings are based on compassion, or the desire for all beings to be free from suffering and the causes of suffering. Depression is one of the most devastating and devastating forms of suffering in the modern world. Most depression is a clinically diagnosed mental condition that impairs our ability to work, sleep, read, eat, and enjoy previously enjoyable activities. The World Health Organization observes that mental illness is on the rise and predicts that one in four people will suffer from one or more mental illnesses in their lifetime.
The Five Precepts of Buddhism instruct devotees not to kill, not to steal, not to engage in sexual immorality, not to tell deceptive lies, and not to use psychoactive substances. Previous research shows that following the five rules can improve overall well-being and lifestyle for the general public, including non-serious adherents. Furthermore, it has been less clear whether these five principles help people at high risk for depression.
Wongpakaran and colleagues focused on known connections to answer this question. To answer this question, Wongpakaran and colleagues focused on the known links between neuroticism, stress, and depression. Previous research has shown that high levels of neuroticism are associated with a higher risk of depression, both directly and indirectly through the psychological stress people feel and think after stressful life events.
From late 2019 to September 2022, researchers conducted an online survey of 644 Thais. The survey consisted of typical questions to assess each participant’s perceived stress, neuroticism, and depressive symptoms, along with their adherence to the five Buddhist precepts.
Statistical analysis of the survey results showed that adherence to the five rules significantly reduced the effect of perceived stress on depression. These findings suggest that individuals with high levels of neuroticism and anxiety may be less likely to experience symptoms of depression if they strictly adhere to the five rules.
The researchers note that while their study suggests the five guidelines may be helpful in depression, it does not prove a causal relationship. A significant proportion of participants were women and individuals living alone, and their religious affiliation was unknown; but 93.3% claimed to be Buddhist. More research is needed to understand whether these findings apply to the general Thai population and beyond, as well as to non-Buddhists.
The authors continue, “The five practices that are practiced help other people feel at ease because all of these actions are harmless,” suggesting a potentially stressful practice as an anti-depressant barrier.
A growing body of research has found beneficial associations between religious participation and negative mental health outcomes such as depressive symptoms and psychological distress. However, little scientific attention has been paid to the relationship between Buddhism, a non-Western religious belief, and depressive symptoms.
The Association Between Religious Involvement and Depressive Symptoms
One study analyzes the relationship between religious participation and depressive symptoms among married women in Bangkok using random survey data collected from the capital city of Thailand. Results from multiple linear regression models indicate that: Mindfulness meditation tends to explore mental content rather than simply witnessing.
This convergence of Buddhist practice and psychotherapy has only grown stronger in recent years. Books documenting the connections between the two systems have proliferated, and mindfulness meditation is now standard in therapeutic settings. Indeed, flawless, unshakable mental health is sometimes regarded as the ultimate goal of all dharma study and practice (3).✔ ✔Reliable Source
Effects of Mindfulness on Psychological Health: A Review of Empirical Research
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We should also keep in mind that these practices can help prevent depression, but we should never hesitate to consult a doctor and seek professional help when we or our loved ones are depressed. To effectively treat depression, we need to identify the specific causes and conditions that may contribute to individual cases. Otherwise, there is a danger that the root cause will reappear.
- The moderating role of adherence to the Buddhist five precepts on neuroticism, perceived stress, and depressive symptoms – (https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0277351)
- Buddhism and Depressive Symptoms among Married Women in Urban Thailand – (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7037506/)
- Effects of Mindfulness on Psychological Health: A Review of Empirical Research – (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3679190/)