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Religion and spirituality have complementary beneficial health effects

A young girl praying
Pixabay/Free photo

Religious people often share a belief that a spiritual and religious way of life is a healthy way of life. There is research to support this assumption. Science Daily reported on March 28, 2014 that religion and spirituality influence health in different but complementary ways.

Oregon State University reports that Carolyn Aldwin, who is a gerontology professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU, has said: “Religion helps regulate behavior and health habits, while spirituality regulates your emotions, how you feel.” Aldwin and colleagues have observed that religiousness is associated with better health habits such as decreased smoking rates and lower alcohol consumption. They have found that spirituality which includes meditation and private prayer helps
to regulate emotions. This is beneficial for physiological effects such as blood pressure.

The findings have been published in the journal “Psychology of Religion and Spirituality.” This research showed that while religiousness was strongly associated with better health behavior habits, spirituality was more strongly linked to biomarkers and disease progression. There were adverse effects on both pathways seen with religious alienation. It therefore appears that an adherence to a religious and spiritual way of life should be good for your overall health and sense of well being.

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