Why Spirit Matters
About 1,200 studies show that people who follow a spiritual path live, on average, longer than people who don’t, and they have a lower incidence of most major diseases. In addition, prayer is shown to have a positive effect on health, even when a person isn’t aware someone is praying for him or her.
In 1993, only three out of 125 medical schools in the U.S. had courses that explored the role of spirituality and health. Today, however, about 90 medical schools have them.
Studies show that spiritual habits influence health and happiness. In one study, people who recorded five things for which they were thankful every week for 10 weeks were found to be 25 percent happier than people who recorded neutral events or hassles over the same period. Other studies show that forgiveness can lower blood pressure, improve immune system response, reduce anxiety and depression, improve sleep quality and self-esteem, reduce stress, improve personal and professional relationships, and increase energy and peace of mind in daily life.