Photo courtesy of Pixabay by Darte
If you want to be the absolute healthiest version of yourself, there are a few things you should start incorporating into your daily routine. These healthier habits include eating right, working out, getting enough sleep, and praying.
Yes, you read that right: praying can actually make you
Let me explain…
Numerous scientific studies have shown the healing benefits of regular prayer and meditation on our overall health and well-being. Scientifically speaking, prayer and meditation help to heal the body by reducing stress levels, thus also reducing the chance of developing certain illnesses.
Heart disease, high blood pressure, mood disorders and even cancer are just a few of the health conditions that have been linked to stress by various studies. Prayer has been shown to reduce stress, calm the mind, promote a positive outlook, and give people strength to continue fighting through long-term illnesses.
On a physiological level, prayer and meditation have been correlated to actually slowing down the speed of our brain waves. This is significant because anxiety, depression and stress are all leading causes of illnesses and doctors’ visits each year. In fact, stress has been called “America’s #1 health problem” and it has been estimated by Harvard Medical School’s Herbert Benson that over half of all doctor’s visits each year stem from depression or anxiety.
On an emotional level, studies on prayer have shown increases in neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, resulting in a heightened sense of happiness and joy, and a reduced chance of depression or anxiety.
Perhaps the most promising finding from all these studies is that it doesn’t matter how we pray, just as long as we do pray. In other words, you could pray for yourself; for a friend or relative; for a stranger; or you could simply meditate on world peace. Even just sitting in stillness and silence for a few moments to quiet the mind has proven to be helpful. What positive, hopeful results!
If you already pray, you’re not alone. Nearly 9 out of 10 people pray when confronted with a major illness or other serious health issue, according to a recent study. If you’re one of the spiritual and religious people who already engage in a daily prayer or meditation practice, you’ll be happy to learn that the studies that have been conducted on prayer have been extensive, double-blind studies spanning decades. This gives even more significance to their impressive results.
You don’t have to wait until you’re facing a difficult illness to begin praying. You can start incorporating a spiritual or religious practice into your everyday life right now. It’s a free, easy skill you can practice in the comfort of your own home. You are always welcome to pray any day of the year, at your own leisure, during good times and bad.
In addition to having the protection of God (or your definition of a Higher Power), you’ll also be able to enjoy the added protection of prayer in helping ease your mind, reduce stress and potentially heal your body. Although prayer alone might not be enough to heal the body, these studies are an indication that prayer is certainly a great place to start in getting us centered.
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