The effect of praying on emotion regulation
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Praying is a common practice among believers of many faiths, but psychological research in this area is relatively scarce. Some findings have suggested that praying, for example, improves people’s subjective well-being as well as their relationships, and is associated with experiencing a greater purpose in life. Similarly, the present study examined whether praying affects people’s ability to regulate emotions. Participants were randomly assigned to a prayer, coping and control group. They completed the Emotion Regulation of Others and Self (EROS) scale, the Satisfaction with Life scale (SwLS) and the Positive Affect and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS-X) before as well as after engaging in prayer, coping or neutral activities for a period of one week. Outcomes showed no significant effect of these activities on people’s emotion regulation, life satisfaction, or positive and negative emotional experiences. However, participants in the prayer group reported to feel significantly less sad. Implications, shortcomings and future directions were discussed.