From CNN: “Many Americans say they attend church because it helps them stay grounded and gives them spiritual guidance. A new study suggests that regular attendance may also help increase their lifespan.”
The CNN article mentions that researchers looked at data on nearly 75,000 middle-age female nurses in the United States as part of the Nurses’ Health Study. The participants answered questions about whether they attended religious services regularly every four years between 1992 and 2012, and about other aspects of their lives over the years.
The study found that women who went to church more than once a week had a 33% lower risk of dying during the study period compared with those who said they never went. Less-frequent attendance was also associated with a lower risk of death, as women who attended once a week or less than weekly had 26% and 13% lower risk of death, respectively. Women who regularly attended religious services also had higher rates of social support and optimism, had lower rates of depression and were less likely to smoke. However, the researchers took into account these differences between churchgoers and non-churchgoers when they calculated the decrease in death rates of 13% to 33%.
- Guidance from social support – Going to a place of worship gives you a sense of community. You have a second family that you can share your life’s problems and fun times with. Friends from church support you through the best and worst of times. Praying and going to church together makes the sense of community stronger.
- Good influence – Having friends from church not only help you lead a better spiritual life but also helps you be around a safe environment. They can also be a great support system when you or your family are going through tough situations. Being around pious people also helps you lead a sedentary lifestyle and not fall into social influence like drugs and alcohol.
- Promotes accountability and routine – Attending church every Sunday gives you a sense of routine which can be incorporated into your everyday life. It helps you account for everyday responsibilities and get into a routine with daily activities.
- Discipline – Going to a place of worship gives you a strong sense of community and people that go to church are usually disciplined by the ways of Christianity. This also teaches you to have a more disciplined attitude throughout life. Being disciplined can also help you make good life choices.
- Teaches morals and good manners – Churches encourage their flock to think and act with goodwill. The aim of churches is often to provide mankind with outstanding citizens with set morals and manners, teaching the value of maintaining a personal set of ethics such as faith, hope, charity, integrity, knowledge, respect, and self-control.
- Acceptance – Being in Church gives you a sense of community. Being a part of the Church family helps you feel socially accepted into a community. While praying in Church and attending the ceremonies, you will also feel spiritually accepted by the environment you are surrounded by.
- Self-identity/esteem – Going to church promotes individual growth because it enables one to reflect back on their own actions and thoughts. The philosophical and theological values of which a church abides often is directed toward the individual, encouraging them to contemplate on who they are and the impact they can make to the world.
- Promotes social services, charity, mentoring, tutoring – The selflessness that comes from going to church encourages one to action. Places of worship oftentimes promote service and goodwill action and will host a variety of events for volunteering, enabling one to teach, guide, and help others.
- Inspiration/Motivation – The world can be overstimulating, especially when it comes to the five senses. The constant assault of living a routine lifestyle paired with the pressure to live up to responsibilities and success can result in one feeling drained and finding their lifestyle mundane. Creative outlets may even be staunched. Going to church can be an excellent way to draw on inspiration for activities and can motivate one to improve their lifestyle.
- Reduces stress – The time spent drawing inward and focusing your energy on clearing your thoughts leads to a drastic reduction in stress levels. After spending time in the place of worship, you feel lighter, more confident and free from worldly worries.