No direct causal link has been established, but research has consistently found that religious involvement is correlated with better physical and mental health, including better sleep, lower blood pressure, and an overall lower rate of mortality. Higher levels of spirituality have also been linked to increased compassion, strengthened relationships, and improved self-esteem.
There may be a downside for people who avoid religion and spirituality altogether: Some research has indicated that eschewing “magical thinking” and being unable to identify patterns in the surrounding world may be linked to depression or anhedonia, the inability to experience pleasure.
Is religion good for you?
Overall, a large body of research suggests, religious attachment is generally beneficial for people. It is correlated with better health habits such as less smoking and drinking, an enhanced ability to cope with stress, and increased social support. Research also finds some downsides, however, such as increased levels of guilt and shame in stricter religious communities.
Are spiritual people more generous?
People who have endured experiences of intense psychological turmoil, research finds, often emerge much more spiritual, and altruistic, than they were before—for example, they are more likely to donate a kidney to a stranger. What some would call a spiritual awakening leads such people to become less materialistic, more empathetic, and more generous.