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Spirituality Keeps Women – and Men – Happy, Healthy, and Whole

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According to the latest Gallup-Healthways research, if you’re a woman between the age of 45 and 55, you’re most likely to be happy if you’re from California, live in a household that brings in at least $120,000 a year, eat plenty of fruits and veggies, and exercise six times a week.

It’s also likely that religion and/or spirituality play an important role in your daily life.

Beyond the happiness factor, however, there’s a growing body of evidence that would suggest that religion and spirituality could also have a positive impact on your health.

Research conducted by the folks just down road from me at the Veterans Affairs’ Family Research Center in Palo Alto concluded, “Indirect effects of church attendance on health were clearly observed, with alcohol use/dependence, smoking, and mood being possible mediators of the church attendance-health relationship.” In another study, the majority of doctors surveyed (56%) agreed that, “religion and spirituality…influence patients’ health.”

This kind of news should make anyone engaged in this sort of activity even happier.

Exactly how and why religion and spirituality can keep us healthy is still very much up for discussion. There’s much less debate, however, over the connection between our thought – obviously influenced by our religious and spiritual habits – and our body.

A good friend of mine – a woman who just happens to be between the ages of 45 and 55 – had a remarkable experience that bears this out.

A few years ago she was involved in a serious car accident. X-rays confirmed that she had broken her neck in two places, and she was told by her doctors that she would have to be completely immobilized for an extended period of time. Instead of consenting to their recommended treatment plan, she chose to be transferred to another, nonmedical facility. Over the next couple of weeks she received basic physical care as well as treatment from a spiritual practitioner. Together they considered, as she describes it, her “unbreakable connection to God” and “God’s great love for His creation.”

Apparently this had quite an effect. After two weeks, she went home. Within a month she was jogging.

While I have no idea how often this woman jogs, how much money she makes, or if she’s eating her fruits and veggies, I do know that she takes her religion and her spirituality very seriously. She also appears to be quite happy.

Something tells me that if this worked for her, it’s likely to be working for a lot of other women – and men – as well, even if they don’t all live in California.

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About Eric Nelson

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    So, it’s not the power of the brain working from constant positive reinforcement that takes stress out of the equation,BUT, a strong & unprovable connection to a mythical being that Science has never proven to exist?!

  • Evelyn Brookins

    Wow. I think I know this woman. What a great experience to share with us. I’m way over 55 and am enjoying plenty of health, with or without the veggies. But an understanding of the nature of the spiritual to bestow and maintain health, harmony and quality of life energizes every day. And I don’t even jog!

  • Thanks for your comment, Don!

  • Don Ingwerson

    I really enjoyed reading this article. It made me think about the options we all have if we choose to use them. Thanks for sharing this person’s experience with us.