When people think of spirituality, science doesn’t usually come to mind first. Recent research might change that. But first, a bit about my journey with woo…
Did you know that Strong Inside Out started out as just a fitness blog? When I realized that more people resonated with my story than they did with my tips for how to do sprints correctly, however, I knew we were onto something real. Something the world was getting ready to be ready to talk about.
What I didn’t know was how that journey would elevate my own life and open my eyes to the parts of health that many people were afraid to talk about: mental and spiritual health.
Flash forward 6 years (we just turned 6 a couple weeks ago!), and here we are regularly talking about a lot of the stuff that’s stigmatized out there in the real world like depression, anxiety and eating disorders. Heck, I even took this show on tour for suicide prevention… twice! We’ve also evolved in terms of our spiritual component since we first started.
Over the last 3 years or so, thanks to a bunch of recovery on my part, I’ve become more “woo” than ever. If you’re not familiar with the term, “woo,” Urban Dictionary defines it as: “the way a person is when they uncritically believe unsubstantiated or unfounded ideas.”
…which is funny because – wait for it – I’m about to introduce a scientifically-substantiated/founded idea that’s not only an idea, but real, rock-solid evidence.
Researchers found that women who attended weekly religious* services had a lower mortality rate than those who didn’t, and that those who went more than once a week had an even lower mortality rate.
This was done by real scientists, published in a real medical journal. Here’s the source. This is huge, guys! This means that having faith can actually help you live longer! Just like exercise and a balanced way of eating, spirituality is now a scientifically-backed method for life extension.
*But wait: if you’re uncomfortable with the word, “religious,” I’m going to invite you to stay here for a little while longer…
This post is not a ploy to convert you to any kind of religion (I think I’d have to be religious to do that anyway, right?). I’m bringing you this information because here on SIO, we talk about the three aspects of health – body, mind and spirit – as being equally important. Most people, however, place all the emphasis on the body or mind while doing minimal work on the spiritual (or ignoring it completely).
If for nothing else, this study shows us that the spiritual point of the health trifecta is just as worthy of attention as the other two. Just as moving your body and managing stress are priorities in many of our lives, so should be devoting time to whatever we believe in. For anyone who’s still uncomfortable with this whole idea, let me state a truth that could set you free:
Spirituality does not require religion. Its benefits can be found without devoting yourself to an existing faith.
It’s my personal belief that you could obtain these same life-lengthening results from finding a faith all your own if devoting yourself to established religion doesn’t feel right to you. If religion is what you jive with, awesome. But if the term, “religion,” sets you on edge, know that there’s a whole world of spirituality still available to you.
You don’t have to believe in the God you were taught to fear in your youth, or even God at all. You don’t even have to believe in The Universe. Whatever you believe is guiding you in this world – that’s your faith. Maybe that’s faith in the good of mankind, maybe it’s your group of friends or your family, or maybe it’s science and the cycle of life on Earth. For me, it’s Source, the force of Love and the belief that everything happens for a reason.
If you don’t believe in anything, can you put your belief in what IS and everything that had to happen to get it here? Can you put your faith in the fact that everything that’s hurt you in this life has brought you here, stronger? Would it be possible to believe in the power of your Self?
A life without faith in anything is a life of chaos. Believe me: I was brought up atheist and I flailed through years without faith in anything. It was only when I started to open up to the belief that maybe this pain was here to teach me something that I began to hope again, which gave me strength to get up every day. I had to believe there was something on the other side of the darkness. When I finally gave over to that belief, everything started to shift toward Light.
All this said, Strong Inside Out is an open, welcoming community.
You will always be welcome here no matter what you believe – or don’t believe – in. I mean that.
The only requirements for membership here are that you do your best to be accepting of all human beings, and do your best not to hurt any of them. These commitments could be a faith in their own right.
I just know that – for me and for many of the people I’ve met along this journey – faith makes everything make more sense, even the things we struggle to understand. It’s my wish for you that you don’t struggle through this life without knowing that there’s a purpose to the pain. I have faith in you, and I hope that you can find that same faith in your purpose here.
Whatever you choose, you are one of us. I don’t want to push you to believe, but rather encourage you to start wondering about it and how it might serve you.
All my Love and support,