Furious about an unkind comment? Angry about a social snub? Say a prayer, even if you’re not religious. There have been several different schools of thought on this. When you were little your mother most likely told you to “pray for that child, or this child” Well research is starting to point in the direction that is can be possible that we can actually affect are emotional range by praying. Think about this for a moment. Do you stop to count to ten when you are angry? If the answer is yes than you are well on the way to proving that theory science is after.
New research from American and Dutch scientists shows praying can help ease anger, lower aggression and lessen the impact of provocation. “People often turn to prayer when they’re feeling negative emotions, including anger,” said Brad Bushman, a professor of communications and psychology at Ohio State University and a co-author of the study.
“We found that prayer really can help people cope with their anger, probably by helping them change how they view the events that angered them and helping them take it less personally.”
In research published online in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Bushman and his colleagues found that prayer helped to control anger regardless of the person’s religious affiliation, or if they attended church or prayed regularly.
In the first study they asked 53 U.S. college students to complete a questionnaire that measured levels of emotions such as anger, depression, tension, fatigue and vigor and then put them in a situation that could elicit an angry response.
Then the students were told to read a newspaper report about a cancer patient and randomly assigned to pray for her or to just think about her. Students who prayed for the patient had lower self-reported anger levels.
In other studies Bushman, Ryan Bremner of the University of Michigan, and Sander Koole, of UV University in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, found similar results about the power of prayer in dealing with anger, aggression and provocation.