Religion and spirituality originate from humans trying to understand the meaning of life. Though they may be similar in foundation, religion is a system of beliefs in a community, while spirituality is within an individual. Today, there are more than 4,300 religions in the world.
A majority of people who adhere to these religions do it for the sake of the afterlife, but there are other benefits to the body and mind when one regularly participates in faith-based activities.
Below are some ways your life can benefit from a better understanding of religion and spirituality.
Mental Health Benefits of Religion
Religious People are Happier
When you better understand religion and spirituality, you tend to have a happier life than when you were a non-believer. According to research, this happiness comes from being part of people with a shared belief group. Getting together with others in a church, mosque or synagogue helps people build social networks and closer ties that lead to more life satisfaction.
Some religious books like the Bible also provide some guidance on how to live happily with others. Others contain explanations, as shown how the KJV study bible includes notes.
Raises Your Self-Esteem
If you live in an area where other people practice your religion, you tend to feel better about yourself as you are part of a larger group with a lot in common. People who understand their religion and the importance of spirituality have a better psychological adjustment than those who aren’t, according to a 2012 study.
However, this benefit is only for the people living in areas where their religion is valued and widespread. For example, a religious Muslim person would get a happiness boost in Saudi Arabia, but they will see no benefits in a secular country like Sweden.
Mental Health Benefits of Spirituality
Spirituality helps us look at and understand ourselves while also knowing how we fit in with the rest of the world. In other words: spirituality helps us understand our interpretation of the meaning of life.
In addition to understanding our purpose in life, spirituality can positively influence our mental health and emotional wellbeing. Below are some of those benefits:
- Enhances your sense of self and empowers you through the choice to decode what your practise will be.
- Focuses on your connection to what you believe in and your personal growth.
- Accepts others, no matter whether they are believers or non-believers.
- Promotes self-reflection and meditation
- Enhances a feeling of connection to others and nature
- Promotes expression in various forms, including arts, religious practice, poetry or myth.
Spirituality and Religiousness May Help You Live Longer
A review comparing religiousness and spirituality to typical health interventions found that spiritual and religious people have an 18% lower mortality rate. According to Giancarlo Lucchetti, the study’s lead author, the lengthening benefits of religion and spirituality are comparable to eating healthy or taking blood pressure medication.
Though some researchers suggest that the extent of religiousness and spirituality’s benefits on our health is exaggerated, most researchers agree that there is a positive relationship between spirituality and religion and better health.