Many things change in our lives as we age, but one thing that never changes is the need to
have community, connection, and a sense of peace. These needs are essential for good health,
especially as we get older. Attending church regularly can help meet all these needs and
improve your health, both physically and mentally.
Attending Church Keeps Us Connected
Loneliness and isolation are some of the biggest problems older adults face. Adult children may
have moved away, and the day-to-day activities and work from when you were younger no
longer keep you busy. When you don’t have these people and activities in your daily life, it’s
easy to fall into the trap of staying home. Going to church gives you a reason to get out of the
house at least weekly. Besides attending services, you can get involved in church ministries,
which is an ideal setting for forming strong bonds with other church members. Having this
connection does more than break up your day and provide social interaction. Being part of a
community means you have people in your life who are there for you, during good times and
bad. Church communities help older adults with all kinds of needs, from spiritual guidance to
having someone you can call upon for help or to simply share a meal with.
Attending Church Affects Your Outlook on Life
According to Today, a long-term study showed that women with cardiovascular disease or
cancer who attended church regularly lived longer than those with the same conditions who
didn’t attend church. This dramatic health outcome shows how physical health is connected to
mental and emotional health. The study participants who attended church and lived longer have
the comfort and mental stability from their faith. Prayer reduces anxiety and depression, and
churchgoers are generally happier overall. This positive mental health benefit probably comes
from having faith, which tends to focus your outlook on life toward a sense of optimism.
Attending church also forces us to take some time to stop worrying and doing, and instead,
simply be in the present moment. According to DrugRehab.org, “It can be difficult to make
ourselves focus on the here and now, especially if we’re going through a transition as lifechanging
as addiction recovery. But taking even a few minutes a day to be mindful of all we
have in the present moment—and especially all we have to be grateful for—can help us feel
more at peace with ourselves, our surroundings, and our circumstances.” When you attend
church, it’s an opportunity to practice mindfulness by leaving the outside world and focusing
your attention inward.
Attending Church Gives Life Meaning
One of the greatest joys you can get from attending church is through getting involved in
ministries. Older adults often feel like they’re no longer useful or don’t have much to contribute,
but that couldn’t be further from the truth! You have so much to give, and church provides those
opportunities. If you love children, you can volunteer to help in the nursery. If you enjoy flower
arranging, volunteer to put together the church flowers. Older adults can be a strong positive
influence on the younger church members too. Wherever your heart leads you, there is likely to
be a ministry opportunity there. Serving through church can keep you healthier as you age by
giving you a way to be active. The biggest benefits of serving, however, are to your mental
health. According to the Huffington Post, doing charitable activities lowers stress and helps you
keep a fresh perspective on your own life, leading to a greater feeling of gratitude.
We often focus mainly on our physical needs as we age, but caring for our emotional and
spiritual needs is just as important. Even if you haven’t been involved in church in the past, it’s
never too late to make the time for your own spiritual journey. The health benefits to your mind,
body, and spirit are limitless when you get involved and give back.
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