Unexpected Discovery: Spirituality Improves Health And Helps You Live Longer
The most representative study on the connection between spirituality, health, and longevity was conducted by researchers from Harvard Medical School.
Experts have found that spirituality helps people to maintain a healthy life and increases people's lifespan.
The doctors, who conducted the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on July 12, 2022, concluded that spirituality should be incorporated into the care of patients with severe diseases, but also for people's general health, according to Sci-Tech Daily.
Spirituality Is Associated With Improved Health Outcomes
"This study represents the most rigorous and comprehensive systematic analysis of the modern-day literature regarding health and spirituality to date," said Tracy Balboni, lead author and senior physician at the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center and professor of radiation oncology at Harvard Medical School.
"Our findings indicate that attention to spirituality in serious illness and health should be a vital part of future whole person-centered care. The results should stimulate more national discussion and progress on how spirituality can be incorporated into this type of value-sensitive care," the doctor says.
"Spirituality is important to many patients as they think about their health," said Tyler VanderWeele, the John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb Professor of Epidemiology in the Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Harvard Chan School.
"Focusing on spirituality in health care means caring for the whole person, not just their disease," he added.
What Is Spirituality?
Spirituality is defined as "the way people seek ultimate meaning, purpose, connection, value, or transcendence," according to the International Consensus Conference on Spiritual Care in Health Care
This might involve organized religion, but it also includes means of discovering the ultimate meaning of life through connections with family, community, or nature. And, of course, with yourself...
Harvard researchers evaluated data on spirituality in critical illness and health in studies published between 2000 and 2022. They noted that for healthy people, participation in a spiritual community is associated with a healthier life, including greater longevity, less depression, and a significant reduction in suicidal ideation and substance use.
Also, for many patients, spirituality is essential and influences key disease outcomes such as quality of life and medical care decisions.