Being strongly religious could significantly improve your physical and mental health and well-being, according to a new meta-study published today by Theos.
The groundbreaking research, which analyses 139 separate studies published over the last three decades, confirms the notable correlation between religious belief and practice and different elements of physical and mental wellbeing.
One of the strongest and perhaps least well known correlations is between better mental health and religious practice.
Theos’ report also indicates that holding strong religious belief – evidenced through community participation and personal practice- also has a strong impact on one’s overall happiness and personal satisfaction.
The report shows that most forms of religiosity have a largely positive impact on individual wellbeing, although affiliation (how you describe yourself rather than how you behave or believe) had the lowest correlation.
The findings of the meta-study will open up new areas of research and inquiry for those working in professions studying and working on mental health related issues, as well as physical and public health professionals.
Theos’ head of research Nick Spencer said: “The evidence linking religion and well-being, and especially religious participation and well-being is now overwhelming.”
“It is time we thought carefully and creatively about how we can harness this powerful resource to improve well-being and mental health, rather than running scared from the very idea of religion.”