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Religion Makes People Happier—But Why?

(Philip Moeller, U.S. News & World Report) [R]esearchers say … that people who regularly attend religious services enjoy a boost in their happiness. However, research findings don't agree on how much of the benefit is religious and how much derives from the benefits of social networking and being with other like-minded people.
There is overwhelming research evidence that people can live longer if they actively engage in formal religious activities and follow their faith's behavioral prescriptions. This is especially true for religions that espouse healthy diets and discourage smoking and alcohol…
Janet Ramsey, a pastor and theology professor at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., … says, "people in a faith tradition find ways for their lives to intersect with that larger narrative" and a "much deeper, symbolic life."
"There is power there that gives meaning to life, and it also helps people as they get older with their self-identity and aging," Ramsey adds. "It makes you feel like you are part of an ongoing relationship that is bigger than yourself." In her research, she adds, being in a religious organization was not more beneficial in this regard than being spiritual but not active in an organized religion.
Community: Buddhist practices promote health, happiness, and longevity, too. And maybe it’s best to avoid the so-called religions that promote hatred and those that claim to promote the desire for financial success.
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Please do not give advice. We can best help each other by telling what works for us, not what we think someone else should do.