Science Says Spirituality is Good for Your Health

The health benefits of a spiritual life outweigh the health benefits of not eating fat or sugar. Spirituality posi­tively affects physical health, mental health, quality of relationships—even your GPA in college. I don’t know of anything I could eat that would do so much!

Psychologist Dr. Lisa Miller, best-selling author and founder of Columbia University’s Spirituality & Mind Body Institute
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People who practice daily meditation, prayer and other spiritual practices know the benefits very well. They see answers to prayer, a sense of deep connection to something bigger than themselves, reduced anxiety and increased sense of wellbeing. But this is mainly anecdotal evidence.

Now, neuroscientists are finding data to back that up!

“Functional MRIs show that, in a resting state, the brain activity of people with developed spirituality resembled that of a meditating monk. A sustained spiritual life is also associated with cortical thickness. A thick cortex correlates with high IQ, a thin cortex with Alzheimer’s or depression. Our 2014 study showed adults with a sus­tained spiritual life had thickness in the parietal, occipital and precuneus regions of the brain, the same areas where you see thinness in those with recurring depression. Those regions of thickness have to do with orienta­tion, perception and reflection.”

The Science of Spirituality with Dr. Lisa Miller

That’s good news! But to receive those kinds of benefits requires more that attending a religious worship service. Developing the capacity for deep spiritual connection takes daily effort.

It can be very helpful to go to a place of worship, but what science says is most helpful is cultivating the deep inner spiritual heart—a personal relationship with God. That’s where all the health benefits and thriving come from. A place of worship can help us cultivate the spiritual heart, as can family or nature.

The Science of Spirituality with Dr. Lisa Miller

We don’t often think about how to “workout” our spiritual muscles.

It’s obvious that if you want to get healthy you have to exercise. Watching someone else workout won’t do it. Nor will reading a book or hearing someone give a speech on the benefits healthy living. We have to find daily practices that lead us deeper into silence, listening and connection with God.

That’s why Convergence’s Spiritual Collectives have become foundational for us. We’re finding the benefits of Holy Listening in community. Like an increased sense of connection to God and a feeling of being surrounded by a supportive group of spiritual friends. We’re also finding courage and increased productivity in our artistic endeavors as fear and doubt take a backseat to a willingness to risk. – Some call that faith.

Study after study says we’re healthier if we have a strong spiritual core. We live longer, we get sick less and we’re less likely to become addicted…Research shows that people with a contemplative life have a preservation of telomeres, rather than a shortening, suggesting that spirituality is one pathway to longevity.

Dr. Lisa Miller, The Awakened Brain: The New Science of Spirituality and our Quest for an Inspired Life

Deepen your spiritual life with Spiritual Collectives.

The Spiritual Collectives are not a Bible study or even a discussion group. Rather, they are a space to deepen our ability to abide and hear God’s voice in the everydayness of life. They are an opportunity for building gentle accountability in our spiritual practices in a supportive environment.

Daily scripture meditations are prepared from the ancient wisdom of the Bible as well as contemporary experiences, cultural observations and artistic musings. Our Spiritual Collective facilitators range from curious questioners to seasoned Christians. Find out more and register…

Read more about Dr. Lisa Miller’s work in Guideposts, The Science of Spirituality

Or checkout her book: The Awakened Brain: The New Science of Spirituality and Our Quest for an Inspired Life.