LONGEVITY AND SPIRITUALITY
Spirituality is that dimension of life that lifts us far beyond the limits of our physical
bodies. Focusing on your higher
consciousness can give your life a sense of peace and meaning. Live the life you were meant to
Medicine today has taught us that depression, hostility, and loneliness can shorten our life span, perhaps even more than smoking and
Tap into spirituality
for yourself, your body, your surroundings, and those around you. Treat yourself with love and kindness – and you will find
that your body returns the favour.
Researchers have also begun to see the beneficial effects of prayer and other spiritual practices on health and
Numerous studies have shown that spiritual beliefs, as well as attendance at a church or other place of worship,
offers protection from many diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, colitis, and cancer.
(These effects appear to be independent of one’s beliefs or specific spiritual practice and are seen across
races, cultures, and continents.)
A university study in 1995 looked at the factors influencing survival in a group of 232 elderly
people having cardiac surgery. Those people who either found comfort in their faith, or who actively
participated in organizations in their community, had three times the survival rate compared to those who
didn’t have these lifelines. Seniors who claimed both of these factors were 10 times as likely to survive!
Connection to others, as well
as the comfort and trust that faith
brought, had a positive impact on survival.
Considering healing from a spiritual perspective suggests there is a compassionate and loving wisdom and
intelligence in the universe (as well as within the individual) available for guidance, support, emotional healing, and
even possible physical transformation. A strong belief in something like this often does bring about changes in the physical
Research is accumulating that confirms what many healers have known for centuries: our minds, thoughts, prayers, and intentions do have an impact on our
bodies and can influence our environment as well.
Cultivate all-encompassing gratitude
Studies have shown that people who experience gratitude tend to be healthier than
those who don’t feel grateful, and that being grateful changes your perception of life for the better. The
health benefits from experiencing
gratitude include increased happiness, less depression, the ability to forgive, and the desire to
be more helpful.
Realize that attitude is
In the end, longevity is probably best cultivated by creating a positive attitude toward everything in our
lives – including our aging bodies, illnesses, and other challenges that we face. Optimism and hope pave the way for new ideas and
paths to reveal themselves to us – they take us to places we would never have travelled on our own, revealing
exactly what we need for personal growth and healing. Our state of mind is crucial to good
Source: Notes excerpted from and based on Kandeel Judge, Maxine Barish-Wreden, and Karen Brees,
Secrets of Longevity: Discover the Keys
to a Long and Happy Life [“The Complete Idiot’s Guide to . . .” series] (New York: Penguin, 2008),
Photo credit: Intellimon