Saying a little prayer can make you feel good. Psychologists from Sheffield Hallam and Ulster universities have found the more often a person prays, the better their sense of well-being.
The research could explain some of the seemingly contradictory studies made by other experts on possible links between religion and psychological well being.
It indicates that it is the frequency of personal prayer and not a general orientation towards religion that is the key factor in determining how positive the person feels.
John Maltby and Liza Day, of Sheffield Hallam University, and Christopher Lewis, of Ulster University, publish their findings today in the British Journal of Health Psychology.
The team questioned 474 UK students about their religious leanings, church attendance and frequency of prayer.
They also measured depressive symptoms, anxiety and self- esteem. Those who prayed daily or even more often were happier, less stressed and had higher self esteem.