If you’re like many people, chances are you feel like you’re too busy with work, family, and other responsibilities to head to church every Sunday or to pray every night. However, you could be doing yourself more harm than good — and not just because the Bible says you should. There are many benefits to practicing your religion you may not have thought about.

1. It May Make You Physically Healthier

Several studies have shown that people who go to church or who otherwise practice their religion regularly are physically healthier than those who do not. People who go to services every Sunday usually have lower blood pressures, better immune systems, and healthier sleeping habits than people who don’t. In fact, some research even shows that people who practice faith often live longer than non-practicing people.

2. It Creates a Good Routine To Begin the Week

Whether or not you’re religious, studies have shown that setting a sticking to a routine is essential for living a more productive, happier, and healthier life. If you are religious, going to church or finding another way to practice your spirituality each Sunday helps you to set the tone for the rest of your week. The positive feelings of relaxation and peacefulness that likely help your physical health are also likely to make you feel better prepared for the workweek and more able to handle anything the world tosses your way.

3. It Could Lead to a Better Marriage

The Institute of Family Studies shows that couples who regularly practice their religion by praying or attending church tend to have stronger relationships. It may be because, for some, the church helps them to learn how to work through relationship issues more effectively, or it could be that, for others, the simple act of spending time together at least once per week makes for a stronger bond. This is especially true for couples who are otherwise very busy and don’t get to spend a lot of time together during the week. Faith may play a big part in your love life if you aren’t married, too. Many people of faith report having met a future spouse during church service or another religious activity.

4. It May Help You Make More Friends

Making friends as an adult is hard work. It used to be that many people remained in their hometowns when they reached adulthood and kept the same friends they had in childhood. It also used to be more common to make friends with neighbors or people at work. These days, the digital age tends to make these things somewhat more difficult. In addition to people moving further away from their home roots, an increase in the amount of social media and people who telecommute to work makes it more difficult to make friends in person. While Facebook is excellent for keeping in touch with the people already in your life, it doesn’t help you make new friends. By attending church and participating in related activities, you meet more people who are close to your age and share the same values and interests, making it easier to form new friendships along the way.

5. It Could Help Your Children Become More Well-Rounded

Adults aren’t the only ones who can benefit from the structure and friendships created by regularly practicing religion. Your children are likely to benefit as well. Research shows that children who attend church often do better in school. This could happen for several reasons or for a combination of many reasons. The church-going routine that leads you to a better workweek can have the same benefits for kids who attend school. Children who to go church may also feel healthier overall, resulting in fewer absences. Finally, children who participate in Sunday School or children’s church activities may build stronger friendships as well.

6. It May Lead You to a New Calling

You never know what kind of call to the faith you will feel when you attend church, pray, or participate in your religion in other ways on a regular basis. It could be that you invite a non-religious friend to an event and he or she realizes the positives of God becoming a larger part of his or her life. Perhaps you’ll decide to go on a mission, volunteer to help your church in some way, or decide to host a religious activity that helps the community or gathers people for fellowship. You might even decide to go digital in the same way The Way International did. While they focus on the teaching God’s word via the internet, you might find a different focus. Perhaps you’ll decide to create a blog about your spiritual journey, for example.

Regardless of why you stopped actively participating in your faith, there is no rule that says you can’t begin to attend church again. You don’t even need to participate at the same one from your past. Whether you go to services every week, pray every day, or find some other religious activity that makes you feel more connected to God, you can’t deny the peace you’re likely to find in it.

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