Smartphone surveys find a connection between daily spiritual experiences and well-being

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Using smartphone check-ins twice a day for two weeks, sociologists in a national study have found a link between individuals’ daily spiritual experiences and overall well-being, say researchers from Baylor University and Harvard University.

While other studies have found such a connection between spirituality and positive emotions, the new study is significant because frequent texting made it easier to capture respondents’ moment-to-moment spiritual experiences over 14 days rather than only one or two points in time, they say.

“This study is unique because it examines daily spiritual experiences—such as feeling God’s presence, finding strength in religion or spirituality, and feeling inner peace and harmony—as both stable traits and as states that fluctuate,” said study co-author Matt Bradshaw, Ph.D., research professor of sociology at Baylor University Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR).

“Because surveys usually capture only one or two points in time, researchers often have to assume that associations between spirituality and positive emotions capture stable traits in respondents rather than momentary states of mind,” he said. “But these findings suggest that stable, consistent spiritual experiences as well as short-term periodic ones both serve as resources to promote human flourishing and help individuals cope with stressful conditions.”

Additionally, “the prevalence of smartphones makes this sort of ‘experience sampling’ study doable on a much larger scale than in the past, when pagers or palm pilots were used to trigger data collection,” said lead author Blake Victor Kent, Ph.D., Research Fellow of Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital and a non-resident scholar at Baylor ISR.

The study—published in The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion—uses data from SoulPulse, a project funded by the John Templeton Foundation, to study religion, spirituality and mental and physical well-being. Participants were 2,795 individuals who signed up for the study after learning

EMERGING MARKETS-China factory surveys lift stocks, currencies steady

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By Nikhil Nainan

Sept 30 (Reuters)More evidence that China’s economy is rebounding lifted Asia’s emerging stock markets on Wednesday with Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan all following Shanghai stocks around half a percent higher.

A holiday in South Korea and the start of a week-long break in China on Thursday kept trading subdued, with the action in the U.S. presidential debate late on Tuesday failing to stir much movement from investors globally.

Two surveys showed China’s factory activity, a bellwether for the region, still firmly in growth territory in September.

“The data continues to provide evidence of China’s economic resilience both in the manufacturing and services sector,” Mitul Kotecha, a senior emerging markets strategist at TD Securities, said.

“The strength of the trade components was encouraging, suggesting that exports and imports will continue to improve, which is also positive for the rest of Asia.”

In line with global trends, most stock markets in Asia are slated to post declines in September, with China set to snap three months of gains and Indonesia .JKSE five, after fresh jolts to the global recovery emerged from Europe and investors re-valued companies seen as winners during the pandemic.

The region’s currencies, however, have been supported by the broad weakness of the U.S. dollar.

Taiwan, whose tech-focussed economy has made it a robust performer in the coronavirus crisis, again stood out on Wednesday with its currency TW-=TP gaining 0.7%.

Other currencies were broadly flat as the dollar held steady through the heated debate between Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden.

Christopher Wong, a FX strategist at Maybank, said market liquidity in Asia is likely to be thin due to the month-and quarter-end as well as holidays.

He added there was “little incentive to position for event risk,” and markets