Friday, March 20, 2015

Belief in God = Better Health

It Doesn't Matter Where You Live, 
If You Believe in God You Will Be Healthier

Written by Dr. Caroline Leaf

Over the last few years research has been showing that a belief in a loving and benevolent God has many health benefits. A large proportion of these studies have been done in the USA but now in a large Norwegian longitudinal health study called HUNT, researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) were able to find a clear relationship between time spent in church and lower blood pressure in both women and men.

It was initially thought that the large cultural and religious differences between the US and Norway would make it difficult to apply findings from the US to Norway. However, despite these differences, and the fact that only 4% of Norwegians (as opposed to the 40% of Americans) go to church on a weekly basis, the findings of the health benefits of believing in God were almost identical: those who were religiously active were healthier than those who were not religiously active!  Click here for related article

Other research shows that those who attend church were 30% less likely to suffer depression and those who believe God have a sense of purpose and are 70% less likely to be depressed.  Click here for related article

For many, religious activity changes between childhood and adulthood, and a new study finds this could affect one’s mental health. According to Temple University’s Joanna Maselko, Sc.D., women who had stopped being religiously active were more than three times more likely to have suffered generalized anxiety and alcohol abuse/dependence than women who reported always having been active religiously.  Click here for related article

Now a new national study by two Brigham Young University sociologists finds that religious involvement makes teens half as likely to use marijuana. The research showed the protective effect of church and the influence of parents.  Click here for related article

Missouri University health psychology researchers have found that religious and spiritual support improves health outcomes for both men and women who face chronic health conditions. The research showed that both genders may increase their reliance on spiritual and religious resources as they face increased illness or disability.  Click here for related article

Research also shows that religion and spirituality are linked to positive physical and mental health; however, most studies have focused on people with life threatening diseases. A new study from the University of Missouri-Columbia shows that religion helps many individuals with disabilities by enabling them to adjust to their impairments and can give a new meaning to their lives.  Click here for related article

More than 20 percent of atheist scientists are spiritual, according to new research from Rice University. Though the general public marries spirituality and religion, the study found that spirituality is a separate idea — one that more closely aligns with scientific discovery — for “spiritual atheist” scientists.  Click here for related article

A dose of God will help medicine. Research shows that many patients do not feel the medical system adequately meets their spiritual needs,” said Cadge. “By shedding light on how religion and spirituality connect to the practice of medicine, this study is a first step toward addressing such needs of patients and their families during a profoundly threatening chapter of life.  Click here for related article

More than half of physicians believe that religion and spirituality have a significant influence on patients’ health, according to a report in the April 9 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. Physicians who are most religious are more likely to interpret the influence of religion and spirituality in positive ways.  Click here for related article

In times of economic distress and plenty, ninety percent of Americans pray, more than half of us once a day or more. We pray for big things—to stay healthy, to keep our jobs, and to strengthen our relationships. And we pray for small things—to find parking spaces and missing items. Some of us are sure God exists and others pray simply to cover the bases.  Click here for related article

These are just a few of the studies showing that no matter who we are, what is happening or where we are…we NEED to believe!

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