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Should I have an open mind when it comes to religious faith?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

When it comes to religious faith, a closed mind often doesn't allow you to see, understand, and experience other belief systems to give you a better picture of the entire world. These are five ways you can become more open and aware:
- Be curious, ask questions, and try to distinguish between facts and opinion.
- Know that beliefs are different from knowledge, which is often different from reality. You can't live your life totally blinded by a system of beliefs; you have to integrate them with the world around you. That is, belief is one part of life - but it's not the only thing.
- Learn from others, and ask about their beliefs - to open yourself up to new possibilities.
- Manage stress to avoid damage to the hippocampus, which helps regulate emotion, memory, and other systems needed for maintaining healthy beliefs. Say only positive thoughts out loud.
- Fill your glass up if it's half empty. Optimism, simply, is healthier than pessimism. Nuns judged optimistic by their essay answers 40 years prior to death lived about eight years younger (longer and with less disability) than the nuns whose essays were judged to reflect pessimism.
- Don't judge others too harshly. After all, as long as no one is being hurt, if they derive joy from their beliefs and you don't, who is better off?

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.