NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

July 6, 2013

Go to church -- it's good for your health

(Continued)

Another study showed that people who demonstrated faith and practiced daily spiritual experiences such as prayer had shorter hospital stays and the study further showed those people tended to have fewer diagnostic tests and fewer number of total procedures. This reduction in hospital stay carries over to nursing home stay length for rehabilitation care according to another study for those of faith who regularly participated in daily spiritual practices of prayer or Bible study.

Even our mental health is positively affected, as numerous studies of situational depression caused by an event such as becoming ill have shown. As in one study, medically ill patients who do not participate regularly in religious activities were more likely to be depressed than those who did participate in regular faith activities.

The more our participation in faith communities or in daily spiritual practices such as prayer had lower mortality rates (lived longer) than those who did not participate. Further it found that those who volunteered in the faith community on average lived the longest.

All these studies, along with almost all other studies like these, are about people already in the medical system in some way. Many of us in the ministry know with confidence that the more an individual is involved in the church or temple, the less likely they are to get sick. That being the case, the positive effects mentioned here would be amplified greatly. I have not yet found a study of the general population, but I am on the hunt.

Maybe as important on an everyday level is the clear relationship between church attendance and lower levels of anxiety in people; and that is so important in our society that we all live in today. as it is culturally at a high level of anxiety in general, and that anxiety seems highly contagious.

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