Health Ministry Network
Health & Spirituality
GOAL: Increase awareness of spirituality’s effect on health and healing.
Baseline: 79% of Buffalo County residents surveyed reported that they were a spiritual person and spirituality had a positive impact on their health. (2000 ABRFS)
Target: Increase in baseline
Whether celebrating the festival of lights of Hanukkah or the light of Christ at Christmas or Kwanzaa this holiday season, frequently attending religious services adds spark to improving healthy behaviors and increases chances for living longer by as much as 33%, found a 28-year- long study published in the American Journal of Public Health.
The researchers suggested further investigation is needed to learn what mechanisms might contribute to impacting health behaviors and social connections. These might include spiritual/religious/philosophical tenets, such as viewing one’s body with respect; relational aspects, such as supportive friendships and community; cognitive aspects such as a stronger sense of coherence, meaning, or sense of control; and psychological, such as enhanced coping skills or potentially increased self-esteem stemming from religious beliefs or practices.
For instance, other mental health studies have revealed the role of positive religious coping in reducing psychological distress and reducing one’s risk for depression. In addition, in more than 800 studies that have examined the relationship between religious involvement and some indicator of mental or social health, the large majority found that religious involvement is associated with lower rates of alcohol or drug abuse, less depression and anxiety, greater hope and optimism, more self-esteem, greater purpose and meaning in life, greater well-being and life-satisfaction, and more stable marriages. (Source: International Center for the Integration of Health and Spirituality)