It may help to return to church week after week to avoid arriving feet first! New research summarized in Mayo Clinic Proceedings states that people literally live longer if they have religious or spiritual connections.
The study doesn’t discriminate among types of religions or organized vs. non-organized groups. The benefits come whether you attend your temple, a church, or a mosque. You don’t even have to be associated with organized religion which has a set standard of beliefs and practices. Spirituality is more general and includes beliefs and practices that enhance spiritual awareness.
Religion and spirituality both help seniors face life with more resilience and hope. They create a sense of community that provides seniors an outreach to help with meals and transportation and social engagement to avoid isolation. Specifically, women and African Americans with religious or spiritual connections showed fewer hospitalization days and fewer days spent in long-term care.
In sum, the research showed better health outcomes when religion or spirituality is at the core of senior’s value systems. Whether you meditate with a group or attend mass daily, it turns out you are keeping the Grim Reaper at arm’s length.
Follow this LINK for an article about the differences between religion and spirituality and the research that connects the two with longevity.