“The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.”
Did you know that a child’s circulatory system, if laid out flat, would reach out 60,000 miles? For adults, it’s more like 100,000 miles. That’s a lot of organic wiring and perhaps it partly explains why we’re so darn sophisticated.
– Mike & Alec
Religious people live longer.
Well, religious people who attend their faith-based meetups, that is.
In one study, people were 55% less likely to die if they regularly attended service…
“Another study, published last year in PLOS One, found that regular service attendance was linked to reductions in the body’s stress responses and even in mortality–so much so that worshippers were 55% less likely to die during the up to 18-year follow-up period than people who didn’t frequent the temple, church or mosque.”
And Blue Zones points out that “attending faith-based services four times per month will add 4-14 years of life expectancy.”
Well, it’s actually pretty simple.
People who are part of a religious community feel a great sense of purpose, they have a wonderful support system, and they pray, which has been shown to trigger the “relaxation response, a state of mind-body rest that has been shown to decrease stress, heart rate and blood pressure; alleviate chronic disease symptoms; and even change gene expression.”
All of those things, unsurprisingly, lead to living a longer life.
So… what about those of us who aren’t particularly religious?
Where can we fill up our cup for things like community, purpose, support, and relaxation?
Here are some ideas…
Join a Group — It’s amazing how much better people feel when they’re part of a community, even if it’s a small community. Find friends, make friends, join a group with common interests, and get in the habit of meeting up with those people periodically, every week or month. This could be a book club, a sports club, or something else entirely. If you can’t find one, start one.
Meditate — Meditation provides the same benefits as prayer, perhaps even greater benefits. So spend a little time each day (5-10 minutes) meditating.
Practice Gratitude — Glass-half-full people live longer because they’re focused on the good parts of life. Get in the habit of noticing the good more often than you notice the bad. Write down things you’re grateful for every morning. There is tons of stuff to be thankful for.
Work on Things You Love — What about purpose? Do something that means something to you! We all need something to work toward. We all want to feel as though we’re making progress in our lives. Do something that’s exciting to you. Maybe that’s writing a book, starting a business, or building a family.
This Week’s Image
This Week’s Riddle
Here’s this week’s riddle — the answer is at the bottom of the email!
You’re in a dark room with a candle, a wood stove, and a gas lamp. You only have one match, so what do you light first?
This Week’s Journaling Prompt
Take some time to think through the following journaling prompt.
Why do you think religious people live longer than non-religious people? What do they have that the secular person might be missing?
This Week’s Challenge
Commit to trying out one of the ideas under “Secular Salvation” in this email, whether it’s meditating, joining a group, practicing gratitude, or working on something you love. Build a habit of it. And pay attention to the joy it adds to your life.
Riddle Answer: The match.