When we talk about our faith lives, we often focus on the comfort it brings to our souls in a chaotic world and the peace of experiencing God’s love. We talk about how meaningful it is to be part of a faith community, where we have the opportunity to serve other people and to be cared for in our own times of need.
However, there’s another component of your spiritual life that you might not have seen as much talk about. That’s your physical health.
A longer life: You are statistically to live a longer life if you have a robust, active involvement in your faith life and community. Over 75% of studies that have looked at faith and longevity have found a connection in the length of life and religious practice.
Lower cancer risk: Not only is your risk for cancer lower if a faith practice is part of your life, but your prognosis if you do get cancer is also likely to have a better outcome.
Healthier lifestyle: Faith can have a positive effect on your physical health by encouraging healthy lifestyle choices and behaviors. Many religious teachings encourage healthy lifestyle choices, such as regular exercise and healthy eating, and family and marriage. People can find inspiration from religion to make positive life changes.
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (ESV)
Lower stress, better mood: A faith practice like prayer or gratitude can have a positive impact on health by reducing stress, promoting relaxation, and improving mood. A prayer practice can help you to develop a sense of inner peace and to find a sense of balance and calm in your life.
Prayer scientifically changes things: Incredible and true: Prayer has been shown to boost your immune system, to reduce pain, and to stabilize your heart rate and blood pressure. Researchers have been able to establish these changes through monitoring and blood testing with patients who engage in prayer.
Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.III John 1:2 (ESV)
A healthy community means a healthier you: One way faith can impact health is through the sense of community and social support that it provides. People who are involved in religious communities tend to have stronger social networks and higher levels of social support. This can be beneficial for both mental and physical health, as social support can help to reduce stress, improve mental health and also help in times of need. If you’re a Member of Altrua HealthShare, you already experience this type of health improvement as part of the Membership. The Altrua HealthShare Membership is made up of individuals who share a common Statement of Standards about their faith lives. Additionally, Members can request prayer from the Membership at any time. If you’re not already a Member of Altrua HealthShare, you can learn more about how we care for one another and how being part of the Membership could help you and your family with your healthcare.
Your physical, emotional, and spiritual life all impact each other. Make time to work on your spiritual disciplines and practices, commit to a community of faith, and you’ll find that your overall health and outlook improve.
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”Thessalonians 5:23 NASB