Trina Justman Reichert Engagement Lead
With the season of Easter and Passover upon us, many who practice Christianity or Judaism are perhaps spending extra time in reflection or worship.
Is it just the pull of tradition, or is it perhaps something more that keeps people connected to celebrating a religious practice?
One of the Power 9 Principles of Blue Zones Project includes “Belonging” or “Having a strong sense of faith.” People who belong to a faith-based community and show up at least four times a month could add 4 to 14 years to their lives.
The Blue Zones area that Dan Buettner and his team discovered in the United States is Loma Linda, California. It is home to a large concentration of Seventh Day Adventists who live up to 10 years longer than the average American.
Buettner states, “The weekly 24-hour Sabbath provides Seventh-day Adventists a time to focus on family, God, camaraderie, and nature. Adventists claim this relieves their stress, strengthens social networks, and provides consistent exercise.”
Can you set aside time each week to relax and rejuvenate? What would it mean to your quality of life?
Let’s break down some of the other benefits people who choose to attend a faith-based service on a consistent basis experience.
First off, they are socially connected. Because of the Framingham Heart Study, we know that isolation and loneliness is harmful to our health. Attending a service regularly provides an occasion to spend time with people who tend to share similar values and creates opportunities to build lasting friendships.
In addition to just attending services, there are often fellowship hours or social events hosted by faith communities. These activities provide further enrichment to fostering relationships and help strengthen the feeling of belongingness.
Similarly, the support network that can often be provided in a faith-based setting can sometimes be like no other. When very young, I have vivid memories of people from our church showing up with prepared meals when my family was experiencing an incredible tragedy. To this day, I am confident that my parents would say that it was the outpouring of love and resources from that community that carried them through the hardship.
Finally, we know that people who wake up each morning with a sense of purpose live longer, happier lives. Many faith-based communities provide opportunities to make a difference, volunteer, and to serve. This engages members and enriches their lives in return.
As Buettner notes in his book “The Blue Zones,” Bill Withers’ lyrics seem to really be on to something in his iconic song, “Lean on Me when you’re not strong…I’ll help you carry on.”
Blue Zones Project Dodge County is a community-led well-being improvement initiative designed to make healthy choices easier through permanent changes to a city’s environment, policy, and social networks. The project has been brought to Dodge County by Beaver Dam Community Hospitals. Blue Zones Project is a division of Sharecare and Blue Zones, LLC. Dodge County is the first Blue Zones Project demonstration site in the state. To For more information, call 920-392-9408, email email@example.com or visit https://dodgecounty.bluezonesproject.com.