Thursday, 4 August 2016
Can Spirituality Really Affect Your Health? A Scientist Explains
fewer Americans believe in God
millennials are the least religious generation
in the last few decades, nine out of ten Americans have
relied on prayer
in times of duress. So, what is it about spirituality that keeps drawing people back in, even as our culture seems to be shifting away from it?
It's pretty obvious when you think about it. Whether you're Christian or Buddhist or a mindful yogi, spirituality of all kinds improves health, happiness, and even longevity. (And we've got the data to prove it.)
To name just a few of the benefits—spiritual people are more likely to be
, they're at a lower risk for
, they're more
in their relationships, more
satisfied with their family
lives, and they even have
But how does all this happen? What's the connection?
Well, there are a lot of ways spirituality can affect your physical and emotional health. Here are a few of the most profound:
1. Highly religious people are more likely to volunteer or donate to the poor.
Research has shown that regular community service
buffers you against the effects of stress
, leading to a longer life.
2. Highly spiritual people are more likely to meditate to cope with stress.
Forty-two percent of highly spiritual people will meditate when stressed
rather than overeat or indulge in other unhealthy coping behaviors. And, as you've probably heard, meditation has all kinds of benefits—from improved
3. Religious people have a built-in community.
After food and shelter,
social connection is the top predictor of health
, happiness, and longevity. Religious people are more likely to spend
time with family
and feel a strong sense of belonging to a community of like-minded people.
4. Religious and spiritual people believe in the power of prayer.
Prayer helps people
by helping them deal with difficult emotions,
leads to healthier relationships
So, cultivate your spiritual side—take a yoga class, volunteer at a homeless shelter, or go on a silent retreat—and you'll begin to see your life change for the better.
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