Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spirituality could save your life

Spirituality is a term that is tossed around quite a bit these days.  Many people are not clear on the definition of spirituality.  Even if you check the Merriam-Webster dictionary you will find that there are a few different interpretations. The definition that makes the most sense to me is, "Joined in spirit".   There have been several studies that have proven both physical as well as mental benefits to including spirituality in your life.
Researchers at the University of Manitoba examined a link between religious attendance and attempted suicide.   This health survey was based on 37,000 respondents. Dan Rasic, the studies principal author found that, "Those who attended church at least once a year had decreased rates of suicide."   Some believe that the attendance of these services enable people to feel as though they are part of the community as less isolated.
Although people have found comfort in prayer and other spiritual for thousands of years, the scientific proof is relatively new.. Based on research dating back several years, it's been found that spirituality can give hope, act as an antidepressant and even help to cure serious illnesses like heart disease and cancer.   In fact, researchers have found that spirituality and the practice of religion may slow the ravages of Alzheimer's disease.  These findings were actually presented at The American Academy of Neurology 57th Annual Meeting in Miami Beach, Florida back in April of 2005.
In May of 2004 the National Center for Health released findings of a survey involving 31,000 people using prayer and complementary and alternative therapies.  Prayer was the most popular of all the "therapies".  The results were astounding. Catherine Stoney, Ph.D, a Program Officer at the NCAAM noted, "There is already some preliminary evidence that religious affiliation and religious practices are associated with health and mortality- in other words, with better health and longer life."
Many researchers agree that there are strong connections between the mind, the spirit and the body.  Spirituality doesn't have to include going to a church or other houses of worship.  Spirituality can be found in many ways.  Some find spirituality in meditation, yoga or even a support group. 
Spirituality is a very individual, personal endeavor- but definitely one worth pursuing.


Alina Sayre said...

Fascinating post! I believe strongly in the power of God, prayer, and spiritual community, but hadn't seen these statistics before. Thanks for sharing!

Kathleen Patel said...

Thank you. It is amazing how the power of prayer has been proven all over the world- regardless of religion.