Whether or not you believe in the principles that make up faith-based religions, there are undeniable benefits of living a spiritual life on one’s mental and physical health including reducing anxiety, coping with illness, and managing depression. If you are looking to change your life in positive ways and are open to the idea of spirituality, it’s a good idea to look at why religious people experience these benefits. While you don’t necessarily need to adopt the faith as your own and believe in the concepts behind it, you can still apply these practices to your own life.
Many religions prioritize helping those in the community who are struggling and strive to live generous lives. Society often looks favorably upon people who dedicate their lives to improving the lives others while those who refuse to help others in spite having the means to do so are considered greedy and heartless.
While being altruistic is great from a societal point of view, you also will benefit in the process. Helping people is an effective way to improve your mood and to learn to be thankful for your own circumstances. People often also gain a sense of purpose when they help others which can help them fight depression and feelings of purposelessness.
Meditation is part of most religions in some form. While Christians often spend time praying and reflecting on God’s role in their life, Buddhist meditation is a process of enlightenment and transcending your own body. While your beliefs and comfort level will surely affect how you practice meditation in your life, there are many benefits of taking at least ten minutes of your day to simply relax, focus on your body, and quiet your mind. One great way to take part in this practice is through Yoga which combines meditation with exercise. Not only does meditation help you feel relax and wind down, but it also has a clear, positive effect on your body by temporarily slowing your heart rate and breathing, calming your brain waves, and decreasing your metabolism.
An essential part of all religions that people benefit from is being part of a tight-knit community with similar beliefs and priorities. The Christian community, for example, meets together for church on the weekend and will take part in other activities together like volunteering, worshiping, and studying the Bible. There are many organizations like The Way International that make it easy for Christians to connect with other people like them. Even if you do not identify with any specific religion, it is a good idea to find a group of people who you share set beliefs or interests with and dedicate time in your life to meet with them.
One aspect of religion that helps people remain resilient in the face of trials is striving to remain optimistic and hopeful in spite of tough circumstances. While it is easy to see the terrible events that happen in the world or to reflect on one’s personal experiences and think the world is a bad place, it is important to remember that there are still many good people and beautiful places that exist in the world. By intentionally focusing on the good aspects of life and having an attitude of gratitude, you too can experience hope in spite of whatever tough situations you face in your life.
With so many people in the world dealing with mental health issues, it helps to look at why religious people often able to make it through the trials of life in spite of their struggles. If you find that you are struggling with mental health issues yourself, try adopting some of these practices in your own life!