HEALTH – Spirituality correlates to better health regardless of religion

spiritIt doesn’t matter what belief system (religion) you follow, being spiritual has a positive effect on mental and physical health.

In research conducted by the University of Missouri, the idea that spirituality functions as a personality trait was supported by the results.

In the paper “Relationships among Spirituality, Religious Practices, Personality Factors, and Health for Five Different Faiths”, published in the Journal of Religion and Health, Professor Dan Cohen said “With increased spirituality people reduce their sense of self and feel a greater sense of oneness and connectedness with the rest of the universe. What was interesting was that frequency of participation in religious activities or the perceived degree of congregational support was not found to be significant in the relationships between personality, spirituality, religion and health.”

Cohen believes spirituality may help people’s mental health by reducing their self-centeredness and developing their sense of belonging to a larger whole. Many different faith traditions encourage spirituality though they use different names for the process. A Christian monk wouldn’t say he had attained Nirvana, nor would a Buddhist monk say he had communed with Jesus Christ, but they may well be referring to similar phenomena.

The benefits of a more spiritual personality may go beyond an individual’s mental health. Cohen believes that the selflessness that comes with spirituality enhances characteristics that are important for fostering a global society based on the virtues of peace and cooperation.

You can read the full article on the Science Daily website.

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