WEDNESDAY, March 30 (HealthDay News) -- Saying a prayer for
another person may help people control their negative emotions
after being insulted by a stranger, researchers report.
A series of studies found that after people were intentionally
provoked into anger, asking them to pray for a person who needs
extra help or support (a cancer patient, for example), helped calm
The researchers also suggested that the method seemed to be
effective even in people who weren't particularly religious or
regular churchgoers. Nor did religious affiliation make a
difference in the ability of prayer to calm people, although nearly
all participants identified themselves as Christian, according to
the report published online March 18 in the journal
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
"People often turn to prayer when they're feeling negative emotions, including anger," study co-author Brad Bushman, a professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University, said in a university news release. "We found that prayer really can help people cope with their anger, probably by helping them change how they view the events that angered them and helping them take it less personally."
The American Psychological Association offers
anger management tips.