Religious belief has many health benefits. For some people, religious belief reduces existential angst, the reduction in stress leading to lower blood pressure and a stronger immune system. For others, religious belief gives their lives purpose, that purpose motivating them in ways that improve their health. And of course, sometimes religious belief is associated with attending religious services, an activity that gets people out of the house to interact with supportive communities.
What do all these forms of religious practice mean for health and well-being? People who regularly attend religious services live longer. Here is a picture of that survival benefit, from a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine that assessed mortality rates among women participating in the Nurses’ Health Study, one of the largest longitudinal explorations of what affects people’s health and well-being.
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