Faith is a huge part of society at large and many people’s individual lives. There’s no way it doesn’t have an impact on well-being. Scientists are just now beginning to understand the connection, there are more than 300 scientific studies exploring this topic to date. One good way to stay on top of the latest news is to subscribe to publications like The Way Magazine. In what ways can religious belief benefit the body?
The comfort of religious belief tends to act as a reliable stress buffer. Stress can effect the body in lot of negative ways, such as chest pain, fatigue, headaches and stomach problems. Sometimes prolonged stress can even lead to hypertension. The most common and reliable way to combat stress is to use psychological or behavioral coping mechanisms. A set of religious beliefs can give you a solid base to turn to in times of confusion or worry, and teach you how to overcome difficult situations. If you are oriented around a higher power, you tend not to feel as much stress in social situations, either. Studies have shown that religious people show less physiological reactivity to stressful situations.
Religious commitment can be a major factor in preventing or treating common mental illnesses, such as anxiety, depression and suicide. The benefits of faith can also help to avoid addiction or enhance addiction recovery. Going to church, temple or synagogue can be a meditative experience for many- meditation is also known for making your happier and improving focus and sleep. Usually, positive thoughts are encouraged in healthy spiritual practices. Many people of faith report that they are not as afraid of death. Religious lessons usually center forgiveness, patience and love which are teachings that can translate to increased social and emotional health.
Most religious practices teach you to treat your body like a temple, which also applies to what you put in it. Many faiths preach the middle road, also known as moderation. This is a good concept to apply to most areas of life, including what you eat. Certain dietary restrictions placed by certain religions can also work in your favor, like no pork or to only eat kosher. Religious communities tend to practice healthy behaviors like no smoking and no excessive drinking, as well. On top of all of this, you are more likely to get a full night’s sleep if you are eating healthy and need to be waking up early for church services. It can help to have the added motivation of an entire faith to help you give up that extra slice of cake.
All of these health benefits come together to improve your longevity overall. Genuine religious practice may not be a cure-all or solution to your sickness, but in the long run it can be very beneficial to many aspects of your health and well-being. You can rest easy knowing that your faith is taking care of you in more ways than one. Spread the word!