Peoplewith a Faith Base is Healthier and Live Longer
Peoplewith a Faith Base are Healthier and Live Longer
Theimportance of religion in health is an aspect that has beenrecognized by specialists. Apparently, spiritual well-being isconsidered widely as one of the major dimensions of health. Therehave been various studies performed by diverse individuals andinstitutions. The research results show that there is indeed acomplex connection between religious beliefs and the physical andpsychological health status of an individual. Spirituality andreligion provide several avenues to the realization of unique andconcealed aspects of life. These two work hand in hand with the aimof developing in people healthy body, mind, and spirit. This paperpurposefully looks at the effects and factors that contributes togood health and longer life for people with a faith base compared tothose who do not take part of spiritual activities.
Whenrelating the spirituality of an individual and the religion, theguidelines laid out usually provide sufficient advice concerning theconditions God has given as gifts. These presents must be protectedto make sure that both societal and human growth have been achievedto the highest standard. For instance, Christians declare that “thebody of a person is the temple of the Holy-Spirit” (1 Corinthians6:19-20). Therefore, it must be taken care of for the sole purpose ofworship and adoration to the Creator. Likewise, Islam as also areligion that realizes the significance of health especially in thecontext of being a consecration after receiving the faith. It isimperative that all Muslims have the obligation of nurturing andprotecting that blessing. Hinduism as a religion involves severalpractices that promote the well-being of the participants. Some ofthese activities include vegetarianism, morning baths, and Yoga.These are done with the sole resolution of improving health andhygiene and thus improve the quality of life (Craigie, 2010, p. 56).
Insummary, faith-based organizations work towards helping individualsattain a healthier, longer and more satisfying lives. This is becausethe religions encourage behaviors that can eventually preventdiseases and untimely deaths for example chronic non-communicableinfections such as heart attack, strokes, cancer, diabetes and highblood pressure, among others. The teachings thereof enable thebelievers to lead an upright life and also the need to work andprovide for oneself and the dependents. Working can be considered aform of exercise and at the same time, believers are encouraged toparticipate in such doings. In one of the Bible verses, it isrecommended that the lazy should not be fed and at the same time,those who work hard will eventually be blessed. Such teachings spurbelievers to put more effort in their deeds and in the process theyachieve good life and consequently, better health.
Alot of questions have been asked concerning the reasons as to whypeople who attend church services seem to have better health statusesand longer lives. The answer to such inquiries seems to be quitefar-fetched. However, there are possible reasons as to why thisphenomenon occurs. One assumption is that there might be arelationship between church visits and the health conditions. Anotherpostulate is that the increased interaction might be having someimpacts. Apparently, one of the major findings of a study indicatesthat those people who take part in religious services at least onesession in a week are less likely to die in a specified period thatthose who rarely attend such services.
Othersimilar studies done for small groups further expound that spiritualpeople experience relatively lower levels of depression, anxiety andother psychological disorders. Some of the factors that lead to suchinclude the sense of hope and also discouragement of unhealthypractices such as smoking, alcohol consumption, all of which arepredisposing factors to bad health and death (Pappas, 2012, p. 166).Religious beliefs have also been found to have a positive associationwith the ability to cope with strains and stresses of life. Religionteaches a lot of things that are nourishing including stewardship andhow to practice self-control. In this way, a person can be able toachieve his or her goals (MacVean, 2015). Additionally, theself-esteem and the ability to deal with failures is necessitated byhaving a basis in an absolute faith.
Althougha good number of individuals have adhered to religion for theirsouls’ sakes, it is evident that regular involvement in faith-basedevents is useful to the mind and body, too. There are several ways inwhich Religion can make individuals healthier and happy. Being ableto provide people with religious notices can sometimes make them havea feeling that they have restricted power over their lives. Nevertheless, the limited Dominion has its advantages, for instance,it gives them more capabilities of resisting the urge to eat junkfoods and drinks with excess sugars. Studies that have been doneearlier indicated that students who are faithful to God’scommandments and His will had a feeling that their future wascontrolled by their faith. In contrast, those who are non-believersseem to have a certain degree of freedom that is not experienced bythe believers. But one important observation is that people with afaith base are already well prepared for resisting the unhealthy andinappropriate temptations (Scazzero, 2012, p. 76).
Insummary, all these research studies have led to the conclusion thathaving a relationship with the Lord can have either a positive or anegative impact on a person. This scenario is entirely dependent uponthe part of life that the individual is trying to major in. Theexperience can either be a bonus or burden for self-will based on howone handles or perceives the situation.
Eventhough having a spiritual conviction on God is associated withself-control, in reality, the ability to practice it in real lifesituations is not an easy task. More often than not, religious peopletend to backslide and at times resume the unhealthy habits. Accordingto a study done by the American Heart Association, “The youth whooften attend the religious events are 50% more probable to beoverweight by mid-age than people who keep away from the church”(Koenig, 2011, p. 197). This shows that religion is not the onlysolution to healthy living especially if the doctrines are notcarefully evaluated and put into practice. However, the study warnsthat this finding is not to be assumed to depict the general health.Religious individuals have a tendency of living longer than thenon-religious individuals live, partially because they do not smoke,consume alcohol, abuse other drugs or engage in dangerous sexual orimmoral activities. As such, are not only chronic diseases avoidedbut also infections such as sexually transmitted infections aresignificantly minimized, possibly due to faithfulness and goodmorals. Religious persons have a tendency of being happier than thenon-believers are.
Beingin fellowship with other believers has proven to be a humanstronghold that encourages goodwill and positive interactions. Livingin harmony with friends, relatives and neighbors bring abouthappiness that emanates not from any specific belief or denominator,but from social delights of being a member of the regular churchservices. Meeting at the religious congregation enables individualsto develop close ties, networks, and, eventually, more satisfactionof life (Pappas, 2012). It is this close connection that leads to asense of belonging and fosters the assistance of one member toanother, social support and in some cases, financial and moralsupport are also part of the constituent outcomes.
Theincorporation of religious services in the recovery of peoplesuffering from mental disorders such as depression has been shown tobe effective. Depression recovery seems to counter-interact against areligious backdrop. Apparently, it has been proven that olderpatients who are being hospitalized for physical issues but alsosuffer from depression recover better from their psychologicalbattles if religion is an original section of their lives. Currently,it has been established that faith in God plays a significant role inthe process of restoring the health of depressed clients. Researchershave recounted that trust and confidence in a caring and loving Godenrich the response to psychiatric therapy in the depressed patients.Oddly enough, this enhanced comeback is not secured to the sense ofhope of patients or any other factor, which may be imparted byreligion (Young & Koopsen, 2011, p. 86). Religion is associatedwith health, possibly because people who are considered religious arebetter equipped with the skill to cope up with stressful instances.They have access to a higher percentage of available moral support,social support, and a straightforward self-image than individuals whodo not take part in the faith-based societies.
Churchactivities have for a long time been practiced by believers. Childrenwho are born of families that are spiritual almost always follow thesame path their parents taught them. There is no religiousinstitution which advocates for doing that which is harmful. Theteachings emphasize the need for believers to do good and also tomind the welfare of others. Many groups such as Christians, Hindus,and Muslims have developed individual programs and activitiesthroughout their being. These plans include worship as well asproviding assistance to the poor, funding education and other relatedevents. In this perspectives the members who can be young children,youths or adults can participate in these practices instead of beingpart of secular activities which are dangerous to the health andincreased the possibility of injury. Also, by interacting with thesick and the impoverished, religious people are more likely toappreciate their socioeconomic status and health. This is much unlikethe non-religious people who might not quite understand why suchthings happen.
Spiritualityis not only about Christianity alone. Other numerous religionsrepresent various beliefs. More often than not, the congregation is atightly knit community that is brought together by a common factor.There is a certain level of satisfaction and joy that the membersexperience due to this close relationship. Take for instance duringthe death of a member of the religion. The bereaved family will mostlikely receive condolences and messages of comfort first from themembers of that faith. Similarly, in case a member is experiencingfinancial problems and access to food, he can be assisted by hiscongregation. Comparing this scenario with a poor man who cannotafford meals and a place to live, yet doesn’t belong to anindividual institution. There are higher chances that such a personwill not receive assistance. In the long run, he can developcomplications that may affect his life span. These examples try toexplain further that a faith base can impact the lives of believersin two ways either directly or indirectly.
Itis quite evident that the role of religion and spirituality may havebeen underestimated by a lot of people. Some studies have come to theconclusion that the association between attending church and longlife is a resource that can be further explored and then utilized byphysicians to improve their well-being. Some books have evenidentified spirituality as an important dimension in the definitionof health. Having faith in a supreme being has always been somethingthat existed from the age of the ancestors. Currently, there are moreand more denominations that have emerged, but they all have a similarbase to draw people to God. Even though Hinduism and Buddhism may bedifferent from Christianity and Islam, the common factor thatcharacterizes these institutions is the congregation that takes partin the rituals.
Focusingon Christianity as a major denomination in the world, a considerablenumber of believers will attest to the confidence and satisfactionthat comes with the religion. Likewise, the teaching of the Bibledeclares that “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, doit all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31). This and manyother teachings explain the importance of doing everything in amanner that is organized and excellent. Also, practices such asfornication and adultery are not encouraged in most of the faiths.
Asmentioned earlier, the religion guides the behavior of the saints andin this way diseases and death can be avoided. Take for exampleHIV/AIDS which is now a global pandemic. Although transmitted throughvarious means, the main channel is through sexual intercourse. Wewould, therefore, expect that if the religious congregation wouldadhere to the teachings, then a significant number should not beinfected. This is because they are supposed to be faithful andhonest. This assumption might not be valid statistically but forsomebody who stands out to be a true believer, he will not exposehimself to foods or activities that may cause disease, injury ordeath.
Sciencehas led to the discovery of practices that are applied to theimprovement of health and the prevention of disease and death. Wehave seen and received recommendations from hospital staff on theimportance of exercise, water, balanced diet, shelter, clothing andeducation. It will not come as a surprise that most churches organizeevents such as sports, hiking, camping and other vacation activities.Participation means that the members will obtain other aspects thatare far much better than fun and enjoyment. Vigorous physicalactivity, during hiking and walks, are suitable methods of exercise.The inclusion of children and youth in these events also preparesthem earlier for a healthy life. Furthermore, survival skills can belearned during camping that can assist in the future when oneencounters stressful situations. First aid skills, for instance, canprove to be life-saving when a snake bites or how to take care ofbleeding and other injuries. These advantages might seem far-fetched,but the truth of the matter is that religion plays a strong indirectrole in the improvement of the living status of the faithful.
Apparently,faith-based organizations have taken part in the healthcare programsin the community. In this way, such organization can offer bothsocial nourishment accompanied by the spiritual aspects. It ispossible that socialization alone is not the only reason as to whyreligion has been observed to improve the health and lifespan ofbelievers. Another study was done on a group of individuals with aprevious history of cancer. In this research, the findings clearlyshowed that those who attended choir practice sessions regularly hadthe characteristics of an improved immune functionality. Thisevidence can be interpreted to mean that other unmeasurable factorsfurther contribute to long and healthier life compared to thosepeople who do not belong to an individual faith.
Agood number of studies have validated the fact that indeed, peoplewith a regular spiritual standing tend to live much longer. Thereligious commitment is postulated to have a stress control function.This is in addition to the social and moral support, as well asincreased personal principles and morals. The ability to cope withdisease and pain and other life problems are associated with goodreligious practices. Specifically, patients usually find sufficientcomfort in their beliefs, and they are happier and more satisfied.Having a meaningful relationship with God translates to a usefullife. The ability to accept their conditions and understand that lifeis a struggle that needs courage makes the response to treatmentbetter. In addition to the social importance of spirituality, otheraspects of religion such as prayer also seem to have an importantfunction, especially for both physical and emotional pain management.
Therelationship between religion and life cannot be easily assumed. Thisis because more and more people attest that they become morespiritual when they face stressful situations. Spiritual comfort andcompanionship are embedded deep within human beings. It is somethingthat we cannot eliminate from our minds. The sense of being watchedover by Supreme Being who can help in times of need is both hopefuland enriching to the soul. Other channels that assist in maintaininghealth and increasing the lifespan include comfort during periods ofbereavement. It facilitates better psychological and emotionaladjustments to those who are affected. Emphasis must also be providedfor people who have indicated that having a religious belief played avital part in the compliance and follow-up to treatment. In this way,their health is quickly restored.
Thereare specific spiritual practices that are widely known to improve thehealth outcomes of people. Such an activity is meditation. Thispractice has several positive outcomes including the treatment ofpain, insomnia, anxiety, depression and other side effects oftreatment to cancer and HIV. The relaxation response is an importanttherapy that elicits the healing process. High blood pressure andheadaches are all illnesses that can be handled with the meditationprocess. As Puchalski (2001) puts it, “I teach the relaxationresponse to many of my patients, and I have found it particularlyuseful for patients with chronic pain, high blood pressure,headaches, and irritable bowel syndrome.” Indeed, the response ofpatients to life issues and the problems associated with illness aresignificantly taken care of by the faith bestowed upon the existenceof God.
Thefield of spiritualism and religion in the improvement of thewellbeing of individuals has not been fully optimized. Althoughstudies show a positive relationship between extended life and goodhealth, the results have not been adequately executed to make surethat optimum results in term of population health is attained. Wehave seen that religion affects human beings either directly orindirectly and the ultimate consequence is a positive one. More andmore studies should be performed to develop more inferences that canguide in the decision-making process. Physicians and other healthcareworkers together with the legislators must come together to developpolicies and implementation measures that will work for the good ofthe global community. More often than not, we have assumed therelevance of spirituality by engaging our thoughts entirely onscience. Some people might still refute the findings of the studiesdiscussed. However much the argument of whether God exists in therealm of the universe or not, it is absolutely outstanding that thepractices associated with the belief of His existence are of worthyresults.
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