What a person believes in may have an impact on health and longevity. Spirituality and religion appear to have a positive link with well-being and better health outcomes.

Spirituality and the practice of religion have been linked with a slower progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Positive thinking is associated with about a 30% reduction in pain perception. People who regularly attend organized religious activities may live longer compared to those who do not participate in such activities. Regular participation in such activities reduces mortality rate by about 12% a year. Satsang is a way of acquiring spiritual well-being. Scientific evidence suggests that when meditation or chanting is done in groups, it has more benefits than when done alone.

Spirituality affects immune function, which can be measured, such as an increase in white blood cells.

Patients who undergo cardiac rehabilitation feel more confident and perceive greater improvements in their physical abilities if they have a strong faith. Increased levels of spirituality and religious faith may help substance abusers get rid of the habit.

Spirituality stimulates the relaxation response. It moves one from sympathetic to parasympathetic mode, which is the relaxed state. It heals and allows one to make better and correct, consciousness-based choices. People who are very religious or deeply spiritual have lower cortisol responses. Cortisol is released in response to stress. When the body is relaxed, the heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate all come down, which decrease the body’s stress response. This is also why most of our temples are located in distant places. The silence of the spiritual atmosphere reduces the internal noise and helps us in our inner journey.

Mantra to acquire spiritual health – think positive and differently. While it is very difficult to remove negative thoughts, it is easy to cultivate positive thoughts. Persistent negative thoughts create sympathetic over activity and lead to lifestyle disorders.

Spirituality brings you peace and safety. It can be achieved through God/Goddess, nature, a sunset, meditation, Pranayama, religious meeting, chanting, mind body relaxation, etc. Spirituality can help all the way from promoting wellness to helping with recovery.

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this write up are my own).