Want to live seven years longer? Start praying. We’re not joking here; seven years is the increase in lifespan you can expect if you nurture your soul and your health through prayer, faith, and religious involvement, according to various studies. For one thing, research shows a strong connection between heart health and religious faith. In one study, people who went into open-heart
surgery and reported feeling strength and comfort from their religion were three times more likely to survive the surgery than people with no such spiritual grounding.
If there’s a placebo effect at work here—if people get better because they believe they will—who’s to argue with the benefits? Whether praying calms you, gives you hope, or helps you tend to your inner self, if you feel you’re getting something out of it, it’s time well spent.