Is fasting good for your mental health? Let’s find the answer to this in the post. I have already discussed enough health and fitness benefits of Ramadan fasting but today I am completing this Ramadan 2021 series with the idea of the psychological benefits of fasting in Ramadan.
How Fasting Affects The Mind?
Fasting has a positive effect on the mind contributing to the best psychological benefits of fasting Ramadan. Ramadan has brain-boosting power. A study done showed that during Ramadan people achieve mental focus.
During fasting conscious intellectual activity, learning, memory, and alertness all will be increased. Because fasting stimulates the function of a protein called a brain-derived neurotrophic factor. This protein is involved in the generation of new nerve cells. It also increases the resistance of nerve cells to stress.
During fasting, autophagy starts in which damaged parts of cells are removed and cell growth turned off. Hence neurons – the brain cells will be in a stress resistance state. When you eat after fasting neurons shift to growth mode, neurons make a lot of proteins and new synapses.
Psychological Benefits Of Fasting Ramadan
Ramadan fasting has many psychological benefits. I am discussing some of them that have the most impact on our mental health.
Fasting results in the production of new brain cells and the preservation of existing brain cells. Ramadan fasting is long-term fasting in which inflammatory cytokines decrease and proteins increase.
After a period of fasting, the inflammatory cytokines decrease and an increase in proteins eventually leads to brain cells and nerve protection. Collectively contribute to better mental health and mood improvement during fasting.
In Ramadan you become more social, visit others for iftar. You ask about your friends and family and keep in touch more frequently. You are following a routine that you know that many people worldwide and all your social circles are following. Knowing all this amuse you somehow.
Furthermore, you become more charitable which results in inner peace. It makes you more comfortable, keeps you away from negative thoughts. Study results have shown that fasting during Ramadan is effective in diminishing anxiety.
HELPS TO OVERCOME DEPRESSION
After 12 to 18 hours of fasting, you majority of people prepare to consume a good meal. You realize the importance of the blessings of Allah. You become grateful to Allah for providing good food and feeling a slight sense of pride for having accomplished a fast for one more day. You may have no time to think of other petty stuff that creates anxiety and depression.
Moreover, you spend most of the time remembering Allah, and as said in the Quran “In the remembrance of God, a heart finds rest.” That means that the more you pray and recite the Quran and spend time in the remembrance of your creator. You will find solace and your heart finds peace.
Fasting also removes toxins from your body. At a certain point, your brain gets hit with a high concentration of endorphins (a happy hormone), making you feel good and alleviate depression.
The concentration of endorphins increases during Ramadan fasting. These hormones are great for your mental health because they make you happy. You can focus on your work when you have better brain function. You will feel happy, and your stress level will be low.
On normal days mostly you are worried about what to eat and what not to. It distracts you from your goal. Just imagine how much time you can save if you don’t have such thinking. Besides a decrease in depression, negative thoughts and anxiety also help you focus on your work.
MAKES YOU MORE ATTENTIVE
Endorphins released during fasting not only make you happy but also helps in staying focused. You leave bad habits, do good things, become charitable, pray five times it all makes you content and calm by bringing your inner peace. This does not give you time to stuff your mind with bad ideas, making you stay focused.
During Ramadan when you fast regularly, your body adapts to the new routine and your circadian rhythm becomes more pronounced. The concentration of insulin decreases and melatonin increases during Ramadan fasting.
In your body melatonin is a hormone that promotes sleep. It helps you stay asleep longer and faster. During fasting, the concentration of the human growth hormone also increases, which is your vital hormone for repairing and recovering the body during sleep.
BETTER SELF CONTROL
Fasting in Ramadan is all about patience, tolerance, and self-control. Because of an absence of distraction with the fulfillment of real cravings during the sunshine hours when fasting. The soul acquires a proportion of power. The spirit is liberated from the chains set via animalistic longings.
Fasting gives a break in the pattern of inflexible propensities or overindulgence. During fasting, you restrain your stomach, tongue, eyes, ears, hands, legs, heart, and mind all are equally obligated. Like you control your physical appetites, Ramadan also gives you a lesson in controlling your negative emotions and actions.
As the Messenger of Islam, HAZRAT MUHAMMAD (S.A.W.W), said that “Fasting is not only restraining from food and drink but that it also means refraining from sinful acts.” As per HIS (S.A.W.W) message if a person does not control their senses and behavior, then God does not require that person to refrain from eating and drinking.
Furthermore, that if someone verbally abuses you, acts ignorantly towards you, or even hurts you, you should respond by only saying, “I am fasting; I am indeed fasting.” According to Islamic scholars, the spiritual dimension of Islam is not only physical but also mental health, feelings, and thoughts.
IMPROVES SELF ESTEEM
Ramadan is a great opportunity to destroy social habits, battle mental problems, and achieve peace of mind. Many people who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, or smoking can try and give up their bad habits during this Holy month of Ramadan. This can contribute towards one of the psychological benefits of fasting Ramadan.
It is mentioned in the Holy Quran which is briefly concluded that the psychological benefits of fasting Ramadan are self-restraint. The capacity to control impulsive behavior through abstinence, and suppressing sudden desire.
When you are psychologically restrained you feel valuable. You become aware of your weakness, control your excitement, enjoy simple joys and attitude toward others. You are inclined to intimate and long-lasting friendships and feel responsible for others’ lives.
Moreover, you develop facilities for self-interest, make decisions and become eager to work efficiently. You become self-aware, your interpersonal relations become pleasant. You abstain from feeling melancholically guilty or being self-critical. You enhance emotional intelligence and self-efficacy.
All of the above-made researchers study the effect of fasting on self-esteem. They proved that Ramadan fasting undoubtedly improves your self-esteem.
In A Nutshell
The psychological benefits of fasting in Ramadan like the physical benefits are endless. I have just mentioned some of the above for your understanding. Ramadan is said to be The Holy Month for a reason. It is not only spiritual but contributes towards overall health and well-being.
A Muslim despite age and gender must follow the Islamic rules in practicing Ramadan so they can get the most out of the psychological benefits of fasting Ramadan as well as physical and spiritual.
This article Loaded Health finishes the Ramadan series and its impact on health and how you can better your health and fitness. If you need us to discuss something else about it. Feel free to message us below.
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