How Might Spirituality And Prayer Benefit My Health?

David Rakel, M.D., Wisconsin

Question: How might spirituality and prayer benefit my health?

Answer:We like to define spirituality as connecting to something that gives life meaning and purpose. And when that happens, there's probably nothing better at facilitating the self-healing mechanisms of the human body. And when I'm sitting with someone with very chronic debilitating disease and I ask them "What gives their life meaning and purpose?" and they focus mainly on their physical symptoms, then we're missing an opportunity. But if we really focus on going back and connecting with those things that give their life meaning and purpose -- that might be through religion, it might be through nature, it might be through family relations -- if they can focus on those things, often their body does all it can to heal from those conditions.

So spirituality is not something that we give to people, it's something we help them find. That we all define this differently, and it's our job to help other people define what resonates with them and their belief and their culture.

There's been more deaths on this planet from people trying to project beliefs on others saying "If you don't believe like I do, I have the right to harm you."

But when we're talking about facilitating health and healing that's completely wrong. That's saying I have my definition, you have your definition and to facilitate health and healing, I need to help you find your definition, your connection to that which gives your life meaning and purpose.

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