Why you need a community of support
Q: Do you see any difference in the health of people who belong to organized religions/churches compared to those who say they are spiritual but don't belong to a particular church? Let me know what you think.
By Connie Domino
Several research studies have discovered that people who belong to religious organizations or spiritual communities report better health and more happiness. I believe this doesn't mean that this religion or that religion or some other spiritual belief system is better compared with others. I believe it means that this person is gaining health benefits by being a member of a "community of caring and support."
I encourage everyone to become a member of group of people who love and support you. Some people even refer to this group of caring individuals as "family." My mother calls the people she attends church with her "church family." This means there is a group of people who care about you, when you are sick, when you experience trials and tribulations, when you get married, when you die, and when someone you love is sick or dying. They cry when you cry, and laugh with you when you laugh. They may visit you in the hospital and attend your baby and bridal showers. Some of these people may be your closest friends.
Belonging to some type of community of caring is so important to most people, they would form such attachments even if there was no such thing as religion. However, for many people belonging to an organized group with similar religious or spiritual beliefs provides them with a feeling of safety and security and gives their life meaning and purpose. For others, it connects them to a sense of history and tradition they can pass from one generation to the next. The one constant is feeling loved, and supported can lead to increased happiness and better health.
Connie Domino, MPH, RN, teaches public health nursing at the University of North Carolina.
The comments to this entry are closed.