Want to have less stress? Have a near-death experience (NDE). A new study shows that people who have had NDEs are better had handling stress. Researcher Willoughby B. Britton says, “We found that people who have these experiences are just the opposite of what people think. They aren’t more likely to run away from stress.”

Anahad O’Connor writes in the New York Times that some scientists believe NDEs may be a healthy coping mechanism that protects against the traumatic stress of dying?and helps with future stress, if you survive. Britton compared a group of people who reported near-death experiences with a group that had not, and found the NDE group showed patterns of brain activity similar to that seen in temporal lobe epileptics, who often describe undergoing spiritual out-of-body events during seizures. However, unlike epilepsy, the abnormal activity was not in the right temporal lobe. Instead, it appeared in the left temporal lobe.

She also found that people who’d had NDEs had abnormal sleep patterns, but they took an unusually long time to move into REM (rapid eye movement, or deep, sleep). Britton says, “This is the first study to show these kinds of neurological differences in people who have near-death experiences.”

Psychiatrist C. Bruce Greyson, who studied hundreds of people with NDEs, says, “?People who have NDEs tend to be a little healthier than others. They seem to have positive coping skills.” He thinks NDEs protect people who experience traumatic events from developing post traumatic stress disorder. He says, “We don’t know yet whether these were pre-existing characteristics that caused the NDE or whether they are the result of the experience.”

But he wants to find out. He’s starting a study where he interviews heart patients before and after surgery to implant automatic defibrillators in their chests. During this operation, the patients are briefly put into cardiac arrest, meaning some of them will have NDEs. He says, “There are so many things to measure?anxiety, depression, adjustment, acceptance of death. We’re still just scratching the surface. There’s a whole lot more to be done.”

Stacy Rector writes in the Coppell (CA) Gazette about a group called IANDS (International Association for Near-Death Studies), which meets once a month in a local church. One member says, “There are so many people out there that are ashamed and skeptical. People do raise their eyebrows, and I did, too?I was the world’s greatest skeptic.” In one experience, she was dying when suddenly she saw someone standing near her. She felt the person had come for her but then he said, “She’s not ready.” She recognized her dead brother, who told her, “Don’t be afraid.” She then received a premonition about a medicine that made her well again.

Another time, she had just passed her annual mammogram when she had a dream about her deceased brother. He told her to look in the corner of the room, where she saw the letter “C.” She went back to the doctor, found out she had breast cancer and was cured. Now she is a volunteer who visits AIDS patients and hospices.

Scientists never seem to consider that the reason NDEs are less tense is that the universal human fear of death has been removed from their lives. Scientists also don’t acknowledge that some people can heal?despite the proof.

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