Prayer doesn’t work like a punch card. All your wishes and dreams aren’t automatically answered after you pray for them ten times. That’s something we all learn early on as we develop our spirituality as adults.
So by praying that you never develop dementia, do you guarantee your health? Of course not. But prayer can help prevent dementia, thanks to the various health benefits that come with it. Prayer can be a rich and fulfilling part of your spiritual life, and by exploring that side of your faith, you can greatly improve your mental health.
Worried that a loved one might be developing dementia? Here are 7 early warning signs of dementia to be on the lookout for.
How Prayer Helps Reduce the Risk of Dementia
Prayer Reduces Stress
One of prayer’s scientifically proven benefits is that it lowers stress. By taking time out of your day to pray and reflect, you can center yourself and focus on what really matters, thus reducing your stress levels.
And, interestingly enough, researchers studying the effects of prayer noticed that those who prayed for others weren’t as vulnerable to the negative effects of stress. By thinking about your fellow man, you start looking at the bigger picture and putting your daily aggravations in perspective.
But how does this help prevent dementia? Well, research has shown that stress is linked to the immune system, which plays a part in developing dementia. Stress also goes hand in hand with things like depression and anxiety, which can also be risk factors of dementia. So by lowering your stress levels, you’re lowering your risk of dementia in several areas.
Prayer Boosts Brain Health
Recent studies have shown that prayer improves brain blood flow, especially to areas associated with memory and critical thinking skills. By praying or meditating for 10 to 20 minutes per day, the subjects in those studies were found to have increased scores on verbal fluency tests and improved mood and anxiety levels.
There are a lot of strategies to reduce the risk of dementia and one of the major avenues is to focus on brain health and intellectual wellness. By staying mentally active, you keep putting your brain through its paces and force it to build new mental pathways. It’s sort of like how staying physically active keeps your body in shape and improves your chances of enjoying good health in the future.
Prayer Helps Lift Your Mood
According to a recent study conducted by several universities, people who pray tend to be more optimistic and showed more improvement when dealing with things like depression and anxiety.
Of course, depression and anxiety are serious medical conditions and can’t be solved with prayer alone. But in terms of prevention and management, prayer can be a big help. This, in turn, helps lower your risk of developing dementia because while it doesn’t cause dementia, depression likely contributes to it.
Other Prayer Benefits
There are a lot of reasons why prayer and religion are good for you. People who have that spiritual and religious component in their lives are more likely to be engaged with their families, more likely to be involved in community and volunteer activities, and are just generally happier, according to Pew Research.
In addition to lowering stress levels and boosting brain health, prayer benefits also include enjoying a longer lifespan, improving overall health, and being better equipped to handle illness. One study even found that prayer can reduce blood pressure.
And more than anything, prayer improves your spiritual wellness. By taking the time to pray and explore your faith, you’re helping to develop that all-important spiritual side of your life.
Spiritual Living at Our Lady of the Snows
At The Esquiline, we offer a wide range of resources to help you pursue your own spiritual path. Every person has a very unique and individual spiritual life, but that doesn’t mean it has to be lived in isolation. Whatever spirituality means to you, we’re here to help you explore that.
Discover what’s right for your spirituality at The Esquiline. We offer daily mass and weekly Protestant services, morning prayer in the gardens, and space for personal meditation. Our pastoral care team is here for you--whether you prefer retreats or Taize prayer, we want to facilitate your spiritual journey.
The Esquiline: Faith-Based Continuing Care
The Esquiline is here to help with your physical, spiritual, intellectual, and social wellness. It’s a faith-based continuing care community with independent living apartments, assisted living, and skilled nursing care. This enables you to build an enriching, fulfilling retirement life without worrying about what challenges tomorrow might bring. Find out more about The Esquiline by calling us at 800-533-6279 or contacting us online today.