By Pol Allingham via SWNS
The "five precepts" of Buddhism are linked with lower rates of depression, according to a new study.
The fundamental ethical system in the religion guides followers not to kill, steal, engage in sexual misconduct, tell ill-intentioned lies, or use intoxicants - and they could help alleviate depression.
Findings rang particularly true for those who were highly neurotic and stressed.
Scientists from Chiang Mai University, Thailand studied known connections between neuroticism, stress and depression - previous research had revealed the more neurotic you are the more likely you are to be depressed.
This was both directly and indirectly due to perceived stress, and how people think and feel after something stressful happens in their life.
Over three years the team surveyed 644 adults in Thailand using standard questionnaires on perceived stress, neuroticism, and depressive symptoms, and how they observe the five precepts of Buddhism.
Statistical analysis of participants’ answers revealed that closely following the five precepts buffered the power of stress on depression.
The results suggested highly neurotic and very stressed people might reduce their chances of developing depression by carefully sticking to the five precepts.
Writing in PLOS ONE, the researchers added that though their paper suggests there are potential benefits for patients, it does not confirm cause and effect.
Many of the patients were female and people living alone, and participants’ relationships with religion were not known.
In the group 93.3 percent reported they were Buddhist.
The authors said: “The five precepts practice makes other people feel safe, as all these behaviors are harmless, and it potentially provides the stressful practitioner with a buffer against depression.”
More research is needed to deduce whether the findings could impact the general Thai population, non-Buddhists, and beyond.
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