When you are about to marry someone out of your religion, it may be a huge and life-changing decision, especially when marrying someone Jewish. Getting married to a Jew is not entirely impossible for a non-Jew, but it can be hard. Conflicts of holidays, beliefs, and also cultural differences are just some of the things you might encounter.
The different roles of men and women in society have long been associated with religion and its teachings. Especially when it comes to the religious teachings about the family’s well being, gender roles are inevitably and profoundly talked about.
Savoring the pleasure of the world is a teaching of Judaism that is embedded in the minds of the Jewish people. Too much materialism, however, has generally been established as something that leads to negative and damaging things. In contrast to this notion, Judaism teaches that with the proper attitude and usage of the physical world, holiness can be obtained.
Nowadays, men and women take a longer time to settle down and build a family. It can be caused by several factors such as financial stability, sexual preference, educational background, and economic status. Even religious beliefs and morals play a significant role in marriage longevity and family formation.
Even before there were experiments and scientific findings, ancient teachers and rabbis have explored the limitations and possibilities of the human mind – whether individuals can communicate and connect with an expansive, heightened the degree of reality that has gotten over the brain’s dissatisfied, worried initial reaction to daily encounters.
These kinds of suggestions and ideas were established thousands of years ago, and until now, there are still impactful indications that those who led the Great Assembly incessantly discussed such knowledge. Because of this belief, the Jews, through their spirituality, have found ways on how to entirely avoid counseling and outsmart their anxiety.
Anxiety Limits Life
Anxiety is that foreboding, crumbling, twisting feeling inside of you, that makes the body and mind react negatively and fearfully over something that may or may not have happened or will never happen. Anxiety is either you’re stressing out about something that you said or did in the past, or expecting something that’s supposed to happen in the future, mostly negative ideations and outcomes.
“Anxiety can be defined as ‘a state consisting of psychological and physical symptoms brought about by a sense of apprehension at a perceived threat,” Neel Burton M.D. wrote.
Anxiety, in a way, is helpful if utilized for safety like being extra cautious when crossing the street or studying late at night to avoid failing in your exams. However, anxiety becomes a considerable problem when it starts interfering with your life and daily routines like refusing to do things that are vital to your existence.
Reconnect Using Wonder
Historical teachers and rabbis have suggested before, which remains certain until this day, that people can outmaneuver their discontented, worried minds through frequent reconnection of their sense of appreciation and wonder for the blessings that people’s minds tend to neglect or forget. Spiritual rabbis have come up with a practical solution to prevent people from being impeded by their insecurities, fears, and sluggishness. This is through the diversion of attention on what they have, instead of future uncertainties.
Scholars and rabbis have even devised a series of short, specific, and meaningful phrases to conquer the moodiness and burden experienced by the brain, thereby allowing an increase of internal energy to affect positivity.
Override With Motivational Words
By exploring highly efficient techniques to override psychological tendencies of the brain to worry about the multitude of things regularly, one can be more in control of their thoughts and emotions, leading to more productive and healthier days.
The Jews believe that by uttering profound motivational phrases, they can remarkably eliminate their anxiety and avoid mental health counseling. These Hebrew words and phrases can transform stress and worries into a rehabilitated sense of happiness, strength, and mindfulness. Exploring one’s mind by continually telling yourself essential phrases will determine empowerment and confidence in facing life’s daily struggles.
Recognizing The Source
Much like any other religion, the Jews believe that there is a higher power known as the Creative Source who is continuously infusing positive energy within every individual and is also present in the environment. Judaism does have numerous ways to picture out “The One” who is mainly responsible for the creation and expression of every living organism on this planet. The need to settle on a specific God is not necessary for it also limits the magnanimous ways to carry one’s burdens, especially when tackling mental health problems.
In fact, Judaism strongly emphasizes and humbly acknowledges that focusing on a particular concept or image of God, which makes you conclude of an ultimate answer, is inaccurate on the eternality of the Creative Source.
Raymond Brown, M.A., M.Th., Ph.D. says, “God promises to help you in every kind of difficulty.” He adds, “In our times of trouble, we must do the same. Think about the great promises of God. They are for you at this difficult time. Accept them. Hold on to them. God will never disappoint you.”
Anxiety Is Not Exclusive
Everybody feels anxious every once in a while, but not everyone can experience anxiety in a magnified, severe manner that functioning healthily and productively can be quite challenging. Race and religion can be dominant contributing factors to increased anxiety, especially when faced with prejudicial society.
Jews most definitely have quite a reputation for experiencing anxiety due to the neurotic stereotypes revolving around states and cities within the country. The always-anxious Jewish mom is not a bad thing because worrying about things, people, and possible outcomes are innate specifics to survive and thrive.
“As Israelis and Jews, we have much to fear. We do not face the choice between fear and hope. If that is the choice, our rational responsibility is to our fears,” Donniel Hartman, PhD says.
A General Option
Anxiety is a condition that affects around 18% of Americans; however, only one-third of those who have anxiety disorders seek help. Sometimes, anxiety is so severe that the abovementioned tactics may no longer work. If that happens, Jew or non-Jew, one can always turn to counseling or therapy.
Combining the theories and principles of psychiatry and Judaism, there is a three-step method to cope with mental health disorders and achieving inner peace.
Unsurprisingly, this is the era where everyone seems anxious all the time due to the demands of current society, work, family, and relationships. People’s concerns are no longer focused on personal aspects of their lives, but they are more physically and emotionally invested in what is happening globally.
With a lot of therapeutic solutions currently available to cope and manage anxiety, there is a unique approach that is designed with Judaism and psychotherapy in mind. The goal of this technique is reducing anxiety by looking and searching within oneself and figuring out how to liberally express one’s fears, emotions, and concerns authentically.
This three-step process of dealing with anxiety is primarily centered on personal alteration. The core is focused on self-awareness, self-control, and self-transformation.
The First Step: Self-Awareness
What we are worried about, what we tell ourselves, and the reason behind the worries are the primary contexts of people’s internal dialogue. Founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, acknowledged the subconscious influence on a person’s behavior. Anxiety, therefore, is commonly a result of an individual’s innermost thoughts, fears, and concerns.
Anxiety is entrenched from traumatic or stressful situations encountered that made a person feel scared, helpless, and hopeless. Other reasons for anxiety disorders to surface and debilitate are destabilizing traits and behaviors like procrastination, excess controlling or manipulation of oneself, and low self-confidence.
“Self-consciousness and self-awareness are sometimes healthy signs of emotional maturity. They can help you fit in and function within a community,” says Timothy J. Legg, PhD, CRNP.
Once the person has figured out what makes him or her anxious, it is easier for that person to resolve persistent anxiety issues.
The Second Step: Self-Control
The moment people understand the characteristics and nature of their worries, they can gain conscious and vigilant control of the source by utilizing what the Jews call “soul garments.” Soul garments are people’s powers of action, thought, and speech that can either be used separately or in combination with one another. Self-control can be achieved through the following:
Challenging one’s irrational thinking through the realization that worries are often rooted in a person’s illusionary understanding of certain situations happening in one’s life. These illusions that people often delve into cause possible breakdown of rational thinking which can instantaneously lead to envisioning the worst, bringing things out of proportion.
Sharing your worries about something that affects your life is crucial in reducing anxiety. Gaining insight has already paved the way for valuable perspective which is why it’s entirely appropriate to articulate worries and feelings. According to Jewish teachings, even if you don’t partake in sharing these negativities with people, you can still air them out to God.
“One 2011 survey conducted by the American Psychological Association found that 27 percent of respondents identified a lack of willpower as the primary factor keeping them from reaching their goals,” says Steven Gans, MD. He added that “the majority of people surveyed believe that self-control can be both learned and strengthened.”
Confronting your fears with your head held up high can help a person succeed in overcoming anxiety. By implementing a scheme to deal with specific concerns, you are facing parts of your fears that contribute to the lessening of your tension and at the same time, gaining more control of yourself and your situation. The Jews believe that confronting what scares you efficiently works in relieving anxiety because being actively persistent in altering internal patterns does wonders for the brain.
The Third Step: Self-Transformation
After you’ve surpassed gaining insight and control of your thoughts and feelings, it is now time for self-transformation.
Here, a person is now ready to challenge and change the underlying reason or trait which causes the anxiety attack, with the hopes that the condition will no longer occur severely. Repetition is critical. When people repeat appropriate, positive behavior in dealing with their anxiety, they are nurturing beneficial habits and relieving themselves of negative traits.
Having Faith In One’s Psychology
Basically, when dealing with inner peace, the concept of behavioral therapy is applied. According to Andrea Brandt, PhD, MFT, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy “is a popular and proven technique to treat anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety and social anxiety. CBT is a short-term treatment aimed at developing skills to help you alter emotional responses that are harmful to your wellbeing.” By focusing on oneself, finding the antagonist, and putting an end to its existence through the act of gradual, continuous exposure and transformation, one will be able to tolerate the thoughts and emotions which keeps anxiety at bay. Aside from that, people who engage in these steps tend to know more about themselves and, along with their journey of self-discovery, is also a journey of developing new strengths.
One does not have to be an expert to achieve such valuable anxiety-calming techniques in their lives. However, it is quite helpful for people to know how to deal with worries and fears if ever they arise in the future.
When it comes to sharing concerns and feelings, it was found that Jews are more willing and are more confident in their therapist’s capability to help them with their mental health condition. But it has always been a question as to why therapy works best.
Why Therapy Works: What Statistics Say
A recent article titled, “Religion, Ethnicity, and Attitudes Towards Psychotherapy” that was published last April 2012 in the Journal of Religion and Health stated that compared to either non-Jewish or African American people, Jews have higher trust and certainty in the ability of their mental health care provider. Jews cling to their beliefs that mental health therapy can efficiently aid them in psychological dilemmas or issues. More so, Jews were more tolerant of the stigma and are honest in their participation to open up about personal concerns and emotions.
Due to this accepting and understanding attitude, piling in Jews with the entire white population may create studies that compare racial prejudice towards therapy which can be quite misleading. Though there are specific mutual attitudes that make the African American community unsympathetic with regards to clients and their therapists, much can be said for those who belong in mainstream white culture.
A Different Perception
Recent studies emerge showing how the African American population, even when suffering from debilitating mental illness, can still hold negative perception and attitude when it comes to seeking counseling or therapy. Due to this mindset, African Americans who are suffering from severe mental illness will not seek treatment for their psychological issues, no matter how impairing their condition is. “African Americans have a greater distrust of the medical establishment in general, and many believe medical institutions hold racist attitudes,” Monnica Williams, Ph.D. wrote.
Similarly, there are mental health professionals who have argued that Americans of Christian European descent also questions why therapy works. The thing about “white culture” is that it values the notion of rugged individualism wherein a person must be independent and self-reliant, and not be dependent, weak, and helpless whenever circumstances arise, even if it means getting help for their mental illness. Such kind of individualism materializing is contradictory to seeking professional help for concerns regarding psychological incapacitation. “Many people with mental illness report that private prayer, devotional readings, and religious programming (on TV, the radio, or the internet) can provide solace and comfort, which can enhance the recovery process,” Rob Whitley, Ph.D. points out.
The Jewish View On Psychotherapy
In contrast to the negative outlook of African Americans and non-Jewish white people, it was found out that Jews are relatively in favor of psychotherapy. Ronald Pies, a Tufts University psychiatrist, has taken the argument further and claimed that due to ancient teachings within the Jewish community and the substantial similarities with cognitive behavioral therapy, Jews are more receptive or tolerant of any stigma that is associated with seeking mental health treatment.
Peter Langman PhD says, “Jews differ from many cultural groups in that they place less value on self-reliance and are less suspicious of taking their problems to professionals.”
In the realms of understanding why therapy works, Jewish participants were less likely to identify themselves as primarily responsible for being mentally unstable but were notably more convinced that they are mainly responsible for discovering solutions to address their predicaments as compared to both African Americans and non-Jewish white people. This type of attitude exudes sterling foundation for effective treatments, downplaying the blame, and teaching people to positively cope and manage situations amidst life’s inevitable highs and lows.
The Conclusion As To Why Therapy Works
The differences outweighing each other are found to be mainly an issue focused on societal norms. Because Jewish culture encourages self-knowledge and introspection, their perception towards life’s uncertainties and mental disabilities are addressed efficiently, placing positive worth on behaviors of seeking professional help if necessary. Though there is still a lot of research to be done, much reiteration has already been made to solidify the fact that Jews are better therapy patients compared to other people. But regardless, there is a lot of questions pertaining to why therapy works.
Some Jews have been included in the list of the wealthiest people on earth. These numbers have people wondering: What makes Jews special? Is it because of their upbringing or is it because of the values imbibed from Judaism?