Muslims are more satisfied in their lives as compared to people belonging to other faiths due to a feeling of ‘oneness,’ new research has found.
Life satisfaction and happiness can be assessed using a technique developed by American psychologist Dr. Ed Deiner.
Dr. Deiner, a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, created a scale called ‘Satisfaction with Life Scale’ (SWLS) to assess happiness.
The SWLS comprises of five questions, each having a ranking from one to seven for how strongly a participant disagrees or agrees.
The score obtained by the scale can surmise how subjectively you’re satisfied with your life as a whole, with higher scores indicating higher satisfaction levels.
In a recent study, German researchers at the University of Mannheim parsed out how the concept of ‘oneness’ affects life satisfaction across religions.
The team of scientists used the same scale to survey more than 67,000 non-students of unclear nationalities.
These adults were asked about religious affiliations and were then subjected to a set of crafted questions to assess how fulfilled and connected they felt.
Muslim people were most likely to have a strong oneness belief – that they are connected to a higher power or something larger than themselves.
Following them were Christians who considered themselves to be neither Protestants nor Catholics. After them were Buddhists followed by Hindus. Atheists were least likely to feel such a connection.
Study author Dr. Laura Marie Edinger-Schons, a University of Mannheim psychologist, wrote: ‘[The results] clearly indicate that the causal direction of the association between oneness beliefs and life satisfaction is in line with the assumptions derived from the literature: oneness beliefs are a significant determinant of life satisfaction over time, whereas there is no reversed effect of life satisfaction on oneness beliefs.’
‘It would be of high interest to test whether individual differences in oneness beliefs predict differences in real adaptation, for example, coping with stressful life events,’ she added in the research, published in the journal of the American Psychological Association.
Buddhism’s ultimate goal is Nirvana – a state that can be reached by dispelling suffering which, according to the religion, has its roots in the attachment to worldly things.
The core belief in Hinduism is in truth.
But the most important tenet in Muslim faith is ‘Tawhid’ – the belief in one unifying God or the ‘invisible oneness concept of monotheism.’
So, it comes with no surprise that the followers of Islam feel the greatest sense of oneness.
‘This study broadens the knowledge on the psychology of religion, revealing not only the average level of oneness beliefs in the different religious groups but also exploring the effect of these beliefs on life satisfaction while controlling for the effect of religious affiliation,’ the study authors wrote.
It’s still not known how this spiritual connectedness or the sense of ‘oneness’ impacts our bodies and brains.
But we know that strong social connections come with several physical and psychological benefits ranging from better immune systems to longevity and greater empathy.
The sense of connectedness to a higher power could possibly offer the same benefits.
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