50 Ways to Stay Well #25 – Spirituality

Typically, when talking about health and wellness we focus on the body and look at health from a medical stand point. But spirituality is a part of the overall wellness wheel and can contribute to improved health.

Whether you consider yourself Christian, Buddhist or mindful spiritual yogi, research suggests you are more likely to

  • report being “very happy”
  • have a longer life
  • have a lower risk of depression and suicide
  • be more resilient
  • be more faithful in relationships
  • have happier children and be more satisfied with their family life

But how does all this happen? What’s the connection? Here are a few of the major ways spirituality can affect your physical and emotional health. Spiritual people are

1. 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. 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 health, happiness, and focus to decreased pain and depression.

3. More likely to 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. More likely to turn prayer.

Research suggests prayer helps people find comfort by helping them deal with difficult emotions, encourages forgiveness, and leads to healthier relationships

RESOURCES

ARTICLES

Wellness Wheel The Surprising Health Benefits of Spirituality (Psychology Today)
Spirituality & Practice: Multifaith Resources for Spiritual Journeys 5 Health Benefits Of Spirituality(ShareCare.com)
The role of spirituality in health care (US National Library of Medicine)

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