Several years ago, 1,000 doctors, nurses, and other health professionals worldwide registered for the first of its kind event at the Harvard Medical School -- a conference designed to teach the value of prayer and other spiritual pursuits as healing tools. One of the event organizers and professors involved with the event said that some religious influences are "the mental equivalent of nuclear energy."

Hundreds of studies have found that prayer and faith cause specific physiological changes that resemble relaxation. They found that people who attend religious services are more likely to have sound moral judgment, are more likely to have children who exercise sexual restraint and are more likely to possess greater family and marital happiness.

The greatest thing about all these findings -- in a world where treating stress has become a national past time, a daytime talk show obsession, and a billion-dollar industry -- is that these treatments are absolutely free. No appointment needed, no special training required, no therapy advised. Sometimes the cure for stress can be as simple as finding a quiet corner, opening a Bible to the Psalms, the Gospels, or bringing to mind that little mathematical symbol, › and remembering that God is greater than.


Excerpted from All Stressed Up and No Place To Go (Emmis Books, 2005). Columnist and speaker Lori Borgman is the author of several books, including  Pass the Faith, Please (Waterbrook Press) and All Stressed Up and No Place To Go. Comments may be sent to her at  lori@loriborgman.com.