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Covid-19 Stress. How Prayer Can Help - Religion - Nairaland

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Covid-19 Stress. How Prayer Can Help by triplechoice(m): 5:26pm On May 07, 2020
This post is not a substitute for medical help. If you ever start to experience symptoms such as those associated with the covid 19 virus or you feel overwhelmed by stress, please don't hesitate to reach out to those who have been mandated to help you at this time. Also, this has nothing to do with any religion The topic is centered on the psychological and physiological benefits of prayer or meditation during times of stress.

The current pandemic has thrown up several stressful situations. And with the numbers of those getting infected increasing daily, those who have come to accept the reality of the virus ,are beginning to worry about the prospect of getting infected and being forced to the isolation where the only guarantee cure is one's immune system.

Hence alot of persons have been consuming all sorts of herbal remedies promoted as immune boosters.Nothing wrong with this. But what is not being emphasised are things we should be doing mentally to stay calm so as to also boost our immunity.

Constant worry or fear can result in chronic stress and chronic stress has a crippling effect one the activities of the mind which not only results in irrational behavior but also can compromise one's immune response to such an extent that no matter what herbal remedies we consume, in a short time, it's back to square one. We're not helped . And we continue to overdose on herbal boosters (garlic, ginger, black seeds oil etc). Overconsumption of these can have adverse effect on one's health.

And also, once the immune system is compromised , one becomes highly vulnerable to viral illnesses and it would take a longer time to recover if infected.

To avoid this from happening to us we need to find a way to manage anxiety or fear.

One of the most reliable ways to deal with stress which is supported by current scientific studies,is prayer or meditation.These activities when engaged in, can help one to deal with negative situations that results in chronic stress.

Science and prayer?

Yes. There's the science of how prayer or meditation results in certain effects in our body

When someone is fully engrossed in prayer or meditation,. Certain parts of the brain are triggered and relaxed at the same time.. This can be observed using magnetic image resonance machine (MRI) which shows detailed anatomical pictures.

And as one continues to pray or meditate, the desire to take action or be put in "the fight or flight mode" , is greatly reduced due to the relaxation of the back part of the brain, the posterior cigulate cortex which is the part that pressures us into taking action. With the back part relaxed, the reflective area of our brain,. the medial prefrontal cortex, is then fully focused in thinking

The association between deep reflective states and a relaxation of the pressure to take action helps alot in staying calm during periods of stress or anxiety.

Whenever I am agitated and it becomes difficult for me to stay calm down, I immediately remember to meditate. And once I do so, my mind starts to calm down, and I am then able to focus and handle things from a more expansive perspective thereby dealing with the situation more rationally

We also know that some religious persons after prayer, says God or the holy spirit spoke to them of what to do about a particular situation or problem. Science says the reason for this, is simply due to the mechanism which exist in certain parts of the brain.

Whether this explains it all, is left for the individual to decide.. Well, for me , I think there is still much more to know.

Another important reason why it is good to pray or meditate during this period, is the effect it has on our immune response

Constants worry results in the over production of certain hormones in the body which weakens ones immunity. When adrenaline floods the body, the immune system is compromised which then makes one vulnerable to viral infection and illnesses.

Also too much stress increases one's cortisol level, the stress hormone.. This hormone decreases the body's white blood cell that helps to fight off infection.

Our body's response to stress is automatic or programmed from childhood.So trying to use will power to cope with stress will only result in the build up of tension in the body which worsen the situation Moreover,anti--depressants only act as band-aid

Prayer or meditation is the better way

When we pray or meditate, our brain releases certain feel good hormones into the body. Oxytocin, also know as the love hormone, can results in good feelings despite stressful situations happening around us

There was a time I visited one of my cousins who is a pastor. When I got to his house and was let into the parlour by his wife, I had to wait to see him because he was in his bedroom praying. And when he came out later to meet me, the first thing he said was "prayer is like making love. I feel so good'!

I know alot of religious persons experiences what is call the presence of the holy spirit which results extremely good feelings. But science says it is due to the release of feel good hormones in the brain.

Whatever the explanation, the fact remains that prayer or meditation results in good feelings. And when we're are feeling good we can cope with stress.

Finally, prayer or meditation, results in beneficial physiological changes, such as a reduced blood pressure, slow breathing, slow brain activity.

Since prayer or meditation takes our attention from the fight or flight mode, we can stay calm at all times.

Moreover, when an individual prays, during periods of stress, attention is shifted to something outside, God or gods, This causes the mind to experience a pyschological release from whatever anxiety which plagues it, thus giving us the freedom to act with calmness or no fear

So we can know see, that regular practice of prayer or meditations certainly help.

Even though the research on all these is at it's infancy,there is still much to suggest that prayer or meditation has salutary effect on the mind and body.

A strong immune system is the only thing we can rely on right now since there is no vaccine or cure . If ones immunity is compromised, it becomes very easy to be infected by viruses and once infected it may take a longer time to recover. So do please find time to meditate or pray. It has nothing to do with any religion. Anyone can pray or meditate. Before the advent of any religion, our forebears instinctively used prayer, as an imaginative means to cope with stress which came from the very harsh environment they found themselves.

What started as a primitive practice can still help the modern man to deal with stress

Stay safe Observe all the necessary protocols, washing of hands, social distancing and wearing of face mask . We shall overcome and things we become normal again.

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