The culture of the US tends to divide religion from everything else. While the separation of church and state is important in our country, we don’t need to completely separate our faith life and everyday life. Elements of our faith, such as prayer, can benefit all facets of our life.
There are many health benefits of praying regularly, and if we pay attention, we can start noticing them. Even secular people can enjoy the health benefits of a quiet time for prayer and reflection. Keep reading to learn about the top 10 benefits you can experience from prayer.
Stress is common in our world. It’s so common that many of us don’t realize we’re constantly experiencing it. Whether we’re under a deadline at work, striving to help our families at home, or worried about the larger state of our world, such as politics, there’s always something in our lives stressing us out. While we can’t always eliminate these sources of stress, prayer can help reduce their effect on us. When we take time to quietly get away, relax, reflect, and trust in a higher power, we reduce stress and can clear our minds.
Decrease the Risk of Stress-Related Health Problems
We can experience more than just a clear mind when we reduce stress. Stress can cause various physical health conditions, such as hypertension and ulcers. Medication and lifestyle changes can address these health conditions, but if we stay stressed, we risk their return. If we can reduce stress through regular prayer, then we can decrease the risk of experiencing these health problems.
Improve Emotional Regulation
Life brings us on a roller coaster of emotions. We can experience everything from joy to fear to apathy to anger to happiness to annoyance in a short amount of time, depending on the circumstances. If you’re struggling with emotional regulation, regular prayer can help. Prayer quiets and focuses our brain, which helps give us better control over our emotions and provides strength to allow us to handle emotional changes when we’re not praying.
Decrease the Risk of Depression and Anxiety
As we learn to regulate our stress levels and emotions through prayer, we can see other mental health benefits, such as a decreased risk of depression and anxiety. While people of different faiths and no faith can still struggle with mental health, including depression and anxiety, prayer can help prevent it. This is because praying or trusting in a higher power to take care of us can help give us hope even when circumstances feel hopeless.
With some extra hope in our hearts, it’s easier to have a more positive attitude toward ourselves and others. Life circumstances can weigh us down, but when we’re doing our best to handle them and trusting God or a higher power for help, we can rise above those circumstances. When we’re not worried about those circumstances, we can still find joy in life and share that joy with others. People who pray regularly won’t feel that joy all the time—we’re all human, and it’s normal to struggle. But they will still have a better attitude than others might expect.
Some people think that confidence comes from external sources, such as compliments from others. Confidence is actually an internal feeling of certainty and assurance in your own abilities or qualities. Compliments and encouragement from others can help improve your confidence, but the source should come from your own self-worth. If you struggle with confidence and self-worth, prayer can help. Prayer reminds us of our place in the universe. It’s an important place as we care for ourselves, other humans, and the planet. Those who are participating in Christian prayer can also remember that they have the honor of talking with God when they pray, which should provide a big confidence boost.
Speeds Up Recovery
Another amazing benefit of regular prayer is that it can help the body recover from trauma and surgery. It can help us mentally recover from witnessing or experiencing something traumatic, such as the death of a loved one, and can also help our bodies heal faster after surgery. This is because prayer allows us to calm down, which regulates our heartbeat and promotes mental and physical healing.
Many of us experience various temptations throughout our lives. Some of them have nothing to do with our physical health, but many of them do. For example, someone with a genetic predisposition to alcoholism may feel more tempted to drink excessively than someone without that predisposition. Denying that disposition to live a healthier life is difficult, and without help, many of us give in. Prayer can help fortify our minds and bodies so that we don’t give in to these unhealthy temptations.
Improve Interpersonal Relationships
We often don’t think about how interpersonal relationships can affect our health. People without close personal ties often experience loneliness, stress, and depression, which means that we need other people to feel our best and live our best lives. Prayer improves our interpersonal relationship with God, and communal prayer improves our relationships with other people. When we pray together or pray for others, we strengthen our emotional ties with them, which improves our relationships and helps keep us healthy.
These top health benefits of praying regularly all contribute to a longer lifespan. When we experience less stress, fewer stress-related health problems, better mental health, quicker recoveries, fewer temptations, and better relationships, we tend to live longer. While a longer lifespan will also depend on lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise, prayer can go a long way in helping us live a long life.
When we separate our faith and faith practices from the rest of our lives, we cut down on the potential benefits we can experience. These 10 health benefits are just one group of examples of how prayer can help improve our lives in unexpected ways. If you want to experience these benefits but aren’t religious or are unsure about prayer, consider trying similar calming practices, such as meditation. If you’re interested in prayer and the Christian faith, our Bible shop can connect you with the helpful literature you need to get started.