Could attending mass help you live longer?

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It could be so. And that’s according to a new study carried out in the USA that suggests people who attend mass regularly have an increased chance at living longer.

We’ve heard of plenty of other ways that reportedly help increase our life expectancy – by exercising, eating well and taking our medication, we can give our best shot at living a long and healthy life. And now it seems that if we’re regular church goers too, we could increase our chances.

The study was carried out recently in the USA and links religious and spiritual beliefs and practices with an individual’s physical and psychological health.

The survey analysed data charting the lives of more than 74,000 women over a 16 year period and found that those who attended church on a weekly basis were 33 % less likely to die during that time than those who didn’t attend mass.

While the link between spirituality and health is yet to be explained, the researchers who carried out the study suggest that while being part of a congregation not only discourages habits such as smoking, but also made people less likely to feel lonely and therefore more optimistic.

With previous research showing a link between reports of feeling lonely and hence suffering poor health (estimated to be the equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day), the meditation aspect of praying in itself could play a part.

While we’re not sure how such a link can be proved, it’s interesting all the same and we’re interested in seeing where this one will go!