Muslim people feel most satisfied with their lives because they feel more ‘unity’ or connection than people from other religions, a new study suggests.
Measuring life satisfaction is about as close to quantifying ‘happiness’ as we have achieved so far, and a new study by a German psychologist suggests that a sense of ‘unity’ predicts general satisfaction.
And when the researchers divided their 67,562 survey respondents by religion, Muslims felt the greatest sense of unity.
Research from a number of disciplines, including religion, philosophy and psychology, has suggested that different types of connectedness lead to an overall sense of well-being.
New research suggests that Muslims most likely feel a sense of ‘unity’ of all religions and in turn feel greater satisfaction in life
What is happiness and how do we get it? It is one of the “big questions” of psychology.
We don’t know, we won’t know, and it probably wouldn’t be universally applicable, even if we knew.
But Dr. Ed Deiner, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is famous in academic circles because he managed to create a scale for happiness – or the ‘Satisfaction with Life Scale’ (SWLS).
Dr. Deiner’s scale consists of five questions that are meant to assume how subjective a person is satisfied with his life as a whole.
Each question receives a ranking of how strongly the participant disagrees or agrees, on a scale of one to seven.
The higher you score, the more satisfied you are with your life (supposedly).
A number of studies, including one from the 2016 Pew Research Center, suggest that people who describe themselves as “very religious” are more likely to say that they are “very happy” with life.
The vast majority (95 percent) of these very happy Americans were Christians: Protestant, Catholic, or Mormon.
But spirituality – regardless of the connection with a specific religion – is also closely linked to life satisfaction, well-being and, in cancer patients, optimism.
Psychologists have arrived at the idea of ’unity’ as the common thread through spiritual people of all faiths.
The so-called ‘father of psychoanalysis’, Sigmund Freud, thought that all people crave the ‘unity’ of being in their mother’s womb, connected to her in every possible way.
More contemporary psychologists have also raised unity as a personality trait that distinguishes people who seek and make more connections with others, the environment and their idea of a higher power or God.
And all of these concepts of unity seem to correlate with greater satisfaction in life, which in turn is linked to better mental and physical health outcomes.
Researchers from the University of Mannheim in Germany wanted to investigate how oneness affected the satisfaction of living in religions.
So they surveyed more than 67,000 non-students (the use of student samples would limit and skew data on feelings of ‘unity’ and self-reported life satisfaction) of unclear nationalities about their religious preferences and used substantiated questions to assess how connected and these adults felt fulfilled.
Among all groups, Muslims most likely believed they were connected to something greater than themselves, according to the new study published in the journal of the American Psychological Association.
Secondly to Muslims, Christians who considered themselves neither Catholic nor Protestant reported the highest average unitary beliefs, followed by Buddhists and Hindus.
Atheists felt the least connected with others or a higher power.
Moreover, the mathematical model confirmed that the researchers came up with a strong link between unity and satisfaction with life.
“[The results] clearly indicate that the causal direction of the association between unitary beliefs and life satisfaction is in line with the assumptions from the literature: unitary beliefs are an important determining factor for life satisfaction over time, while there is no reverse effect of life satisfaction on unitary beliefs, “author study Dr. Laura Marie Edinger-Schons, a psychologist at the University of Mannheim, wrote.
“It would be very important to test whether individual differences in unitary beliefs predict differences in real adaptation, for example in dealing with stressful life events.”
The purpose of Buddhism is Nirvana – which, in fact, is attained by the expulsion of suffering, which, according to religion, has its roots in the desire for attachment.
The core belief of Hinduism is in truth.
But the most important principle in Islam is that of “Tawhid,” the belief in the “invisible concept of monotheism,” or one unifying god.
So it is perhaps no surprise that Muslims feel the greatest sense of unity.
It is difficult to quantify how the spiritual sense of ‘unity’ and connection changes our brains and bodies, but we do know that strong social connections encourage everything from a long life to a better immune system, more empathy and less anxiety and depression.
And maybe a sense of spiritual connection comes with it.
“This study broadens knowledge about the psychology of religion and not only reveals the average level of unit beliefs in the different religious groups, but also examines the effect of these beliefs on the satisfaction of life and at the same time controls the effect of religious affiliation,” the researchers wrote.