An often highly contentious topic of conversation is religion. Religious beliefs are deeply rooted and hard held convictions for many people. Because these beliefs can be so firm, it may lead to strong animosity and conflict when opposing extremes meet.
Many people are skeptical and question whether religion does more harm than good because of this acrimony.
Despite the controversy, religion and its benefits aren’t something to be mocked or disparaged.
In the bigger picture, religious teachings lead to tremendous value, and promote positive concepts, such as generosity, love, forgiveness, and hope.
In fact, studies have found some very important benefits of religion to well-being.
When you explore your overall health, do you consider spirituality as a core aspect? If this is something you have been overlooking, this may be a valuable area of growth for emotional, physical, and relational health.
Here are a few ways that religion can bolster positivity in everyday life.
1. Religion brings people together and builds social resources. The social support and connection of a congregation can provide support to cope during difficult times and can bring a sense of joy when interacting during favorable times. It can help people feel accepted and a part of a unified community, where there are like-minded people on a similar journey and following the same traditions.
2. Religion and spirituality can connect people to something greater than themselves. If we are to be engaged in a meaningful life it helps to have a purpose beyond our humble existence. Having a spiritual relationship can give people a sense of greater significance and allow them the opportunity to rally behind a generous and noble cause.
3. Spirituality and religious affiliations can lead to increases in positive emotions. There are many aspects of a spiritual life that enhance positive emotions. For instance, people may be more likely to pray and meditate, engage in charity work, and live an overall healthier lifestyle. These type of activities can lead to spiritual feelings of gratitude, compassion, peace, and hope. The Fruits of the Spirit provide a wonderful example of these positive states.
I am not someone who grew up in a home environment extolling religion. I was introduced to it early in life, though it took me awhile to recognize the purpose and value.
Through practicing meditation and prayer, worshiping at churches, and paying attention to divine interactions in my life, I was able to recognize and connect with the overall message of living a good life. A life that is moral and humble, a life focused on acceptance and connections, and simply a life of love, compassion, and gratitude are what spiritual growth can offer.
Photo credit: Peter Friederich
Diener, E., & Biswas-Diener, R. (2008). Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth. Malden, MA. Blackwell Publishing.