Individuals following the Buddhist dharma, or way of life, are less likely to develop depression compared to those with other beliefs, a new study demonstrates.

Scientists from Chiang Mai University, Thailand, have found that the five values of Buddhism are linked to a lower risk of depression.

The five principles of the religion are to not steal, kill, engage in sexual misconduct, tell ill-intentioned lies or use intoxicants.

During the study, the team of researchers examined the emotional wellbeing and stress levels of 644 people in Thailand.

Each participant filled in a virtual questionnaire to outline the state of their mental wellbeing and whether or not they follow the five principles of Buddhism.

The findings show that the participants following the five precepts of Buddhism closely are less likely to feel depressed or stressed compared to those not following the principles.

“The five precepts make other people feel safe, as all these behaviours are harmless, and it potentially provides the stressful practitioner with a buffer against depression,” noted the authors.

The five principles of Buddhism are:

  • Refrain from taking life.
  • Refrain from taking what is not given.
  • Refrain from the misuse of the senses.
  • Refrain from wrong speech.
  • Refrain from intoxicants that cloud the mind.

Previous research studies have found that feeling neurotic can also trigger the development of depression.

The research was published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.

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