Living a healthy life by taking part in activities that soothe every part of your being impacts your whole health. Feeling truly whole means caring for more than just your body. It’s understanding your mental and spiritual well-being are equally as important — and nurturing those aspects of your health just as you would your physical health.
Prayer Can Ease Your Mind, Soothe Your Spirit
Prayer is a great way to safeguard your mind, allowing you to cope and even work through life’s challenges in a healthy and constructive way. Among its many benefits, the act of praying helps you wrap your mind around what you can control, and perhaps more importantly, let go of what you cannot.
It can also give you a sense of connection to something greater than yourself — which, for most of us, translates into hope.
Turning to a higher power for help in times of need can put your mind at ease and provide great comfort. And the ability to “lay down your burdens” and have faith that you’ll be okay, can give you a real spiritual lift.
Prayer Can Connect Us With Others
Praying with others, as it turns out, multiplies its benefits exponentially. Attending services regularly and taking part in prayer groups allows you to connect with others in very real and valuable ways.
Sometimes called “life groups,” the whole premise of modern-day prayer groups is to “do life” with a group of likeminded people. You build a relationship, a community. You share your worries, seek advice from one another and celebrate each other’s joys. This close fellowship can provide a support framework that’s key to coping with the twists and turns of life.
And, socialization becomes even more vital to feeling whole as we age. Two recent studies suggest that people who attend church are less likely to pass away in a specific time period than those who don’t.
But socialization has other benefits, too. It can:
- Improve cognitive reserve
- Improve self-esteem
- Lower risk of depression and anxiety
- Reduce stress
Social support can also help you heal and recover faster from health events like surgery or a heart attack. Knowing others are praying for you and supporting you can give you the boost you need to feel better.
Prayer Can Improve Your Heart Health
It’s clear that prayer reduces stress, but it can also help alleviate the physical symptoms of stress. While you pray, your:
- Blood pressure lowers
- Breath slows
- Cortisol (stress hormone) levels drop
- Heart rate slows
All of these reactions to prayer are good for your cardiovascular health. Combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise, prayer can have a direct impact on your risk for heart disease.
Prayer Can Help You Manage Pain
One study of women who had undergone a C-section found that women who prayed reported less pain than those who did not. Another study of people with chronic headaches found that those who prayed had fewer headaches overall.
While prayer can help manage pain, it’s important to still report any pain to your physician. Prayer can’t take away pain completely, and your physician can offer you other ways to manage physical pain.
Care to Help You Feel Whole
At AdventHealth, we’re committed to helping you live your best life by feeling whole. Learn more about our promise to provide whole-person health care.
This material is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis and medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. Please consult your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment and/or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.