The Benefits of a Spiritual Life
The Benefits of a Spiritual Life
In your quest for a healthier life, you may watch what you’re eating and exercise regularly. You may focus on getting adequate rest each night and set aside time to be outdoors. One thing that many people miss as they strive to enjoy improved health and wellness is spirituality. In a day and age when religion seems to be out of style, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest the idea that the human spirit can be refined and that, through the process, mental and physical health improves.
Research on the Links Between Physical Health and Spirituality
Studies on the benefits of religious and spiritual practices have been completed by many researchers. For example, doctors at the Baylor University Medical Center studied the role of spirituality in health care and found that compassion and seeking for a deeper meaning to suffering are crucial aspects of improving physical health. As patients experience physical symptoms, they are likely to have mental and spiritual suffering as well. The doctors involved in the study found that those patients who find meaning in life, such as wanting to be remembered or impacting others’ lives.
1. A Sense of Purpose
One of the primary ways that a practice of spirituality can help you is through providing you with a purpose. People who find meaning in their day-to-day activities enjoy a good sense of self-worth and emotional well-being. Three sessions of 45-minutes in worship or direction from a chaplain during a week were enough to show surprising amounts of physical improvement for people suffering from physical pain. Personal growth and fulfillment are often part of a spiritual journey. As individuals strive for better lives, improving habits, work ethics, and interpersonal skills.
2. Improved Interpersonal Relationships
Participation with organized religion or spiritual groups provides a sense of community. Many individuals with depression become isolated and withdraw from social engagement. Religious worship, volunteer work, and social events draw people into activities with other people, reducing isolation and the risk of depression. Those activities may include exercise classes, online group discussions, and playgroups for children.
3. Increased Gratitude for Small Blessings
When individuals take time to reflect on their lives and daily experiences, they make strong memories and develop positive associations with those memories. Recognizing the good in small daily events leads to happier overall days. Spiritual people tend to spend more time in personal reflection and looking for meaning in routine events. There are strong links between spirituality and optimism, healthy relationships, and a positive self-esteem.
4. Strengthened Immune System
There’s a clear link between emotional and physical health, and spiritual living positively impacts emotional health. Beyond this, daily habits of spirituality may work to boost the immune system. One leading cancer researcher suggested that daily prayer or meditation provides the immune system a chance to heal. Decreased levels of stress can improve actual healing and the ability to resist illnesses.
5. A Strong Sense of Control Over Your Life
Somewhat ironically, when you choose to give your life up to a higher power, your sense of feeling in control of your life increases. According to one psychologist, giving up to God leads to enhanced relaxation, lower blood pressure levels, increased blood flow to the brain, and clearer thinking. Other effects associated with this religious sentiment include improved cognitive abilities and a stronger memory.
Find a Spiritual Community
If you aren’t sure how to begin, there are many organizations that welcome new members. For example, The Way International, a Bible-centered organization based in rural Ohio, encourages fellowship and cooperative study. This group is non-denominational, so you can feel free to participate even if you have a specific religious background.
A sense of purpose helps individuals cope with physical and emotional suffering. Some spiritual practices such as meditation are especially effective. Religious beliefs are often crucial elements of treatment, especially as physicians understand and help facilitate the practices. Personal reflection and spiritual habits have a positive impact on personal well-being and healthy relationships. Although there’s plenty of research showing the benefits of including spirituality in your life, it is generally best to put this claim to the test in your own life.