A new study conducted by researchers at Oregon State University has found that religion and spirituality does indeed help people stay healthy.
The researchers developed a theoretical model by analyzing the link between health, religion, and spirituality and found two distinct pathways, with religiousness associated with better health habits, including lower rates of smoking and alcohol consumption, while spirituality was found to regulate emotions, leading to reduced blood pressure and stress.
"Religion helps regulate behavior and health habits, while spirituality regulates your emotions, how you feel. No one has ever reviewed all of the different models of how religion affects health. We're trying to impose a structure on a very messy field. There can be some overlap of the influences of religion and spirituality on health", lead researcher Carolyn Aldwin said.
The study has been published in the journal Psychology of Religion and Spirituality.