Spirituality and Brain Health

Spirituality has many meanings and it may mean something different to different people. I am referring to spirituality as one means of turning inward to a peaceful existence and to remove oneself from the hurried society that is modern life. Prayer/worship, meditation, and relaxation procedures are just three examples of spirituality.

Early research on the human brain exposed to life threatening stressors indicates there is similar damage to the hippocampus as is known to exist in animals. Also, humans with chronic anxiety have memory problems again supporting the negative effect of stress and uncontrolled anxiety on brain function.

Research and surveys have reported the following positive effects of spirituality on health:

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  1. An enhanced immune system, the system that helps you defend against colds, flu, and other illnesses.
  2. Reports of longer, happier and healthier lives.
  3. As part of the daily routine while in the hospital relates to an earlier discharge.
  4. According to a past Parade Magazine Survey, 95% of the physicians in the U.S. believe spirituality is important to the well-being of their patients.

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