Religion is probably the number one cause of anxiety.
Think about what religion emphasizes: What you don’t have control over, and how you have to surrender your will, your mind, your “fate” to a higher power or other, often unnamed forces. No matter how much you overcome religion as an adult, some of that always stays with you.
I recognize that some people will claim that religious belief comforts and soothes them–thereby making life more meaningful and peaceful. This may be true for some people. But it can only be true at the cost of suspending one’s rational thinking. You can go through life suspending rational thought here and there, while employing it in other places. But it doesn’t really “work” any more than popping holes in a ship here and there, while then working overtime to keep the ship afloat in other ways, “works” at keeping a ship at sea. You don’t advance your life by undercutting your mind, even if you’re rational or smart enough to compensate for some of the undercutting you engage in.
Yes, I have read these recent studies suggesting that religious conservatives are happier than angry, victim-oriented liberals. But this doesn’t refute what I’m saying. It only proves just how much liberalism undercuts happiness and serenity by turning oneself into a perpetual victim. Also, your typical liberal has his own “god”–and it’s called Government. The tragedy of liberals, psychologically speaking, is that they start out as thinkers who want an alternative to religion. Instead, they adopt a system of thinking which retains the worse elements of supernaturalism–“Someone is coming to rescue me.” (For evidence of this, check out Obama’s supporters). At least the religionist can always find a rationalization to explain why God is acting in mysterious ways–allowing hurricanes, cancer and the like. The poor liberal has to keep getting disappointed by the god of Government over and over again, no matter who takes charge. It’s hard to imagine anything undercutting mental well-being and serenity more than that.