Can going to church or the art museum extend your life expectancy?
At Sage Collective, we champion 9 Ways of Vibrant Living, an inspired model that champions a full, happy and high-quality life. And while we’re focused on the quality of life, it’s possible that the quantity of life (aka life expectancy) is also intrinsically linked to it. So when we talk about components to vibrant living such as engagement in spirituality or religion and engagement in social life, can these components really bring about a longer life? Science says yes.
A Swedish study in 1996 of more than 12,000 people in Sweden found that “attending cultural events correlated with increased survival, while people who rarely attended cultural events had a higher risk of mortality.” A follow-up study in 2000 reported similar findings, stating: “We found a higher mortality risk for those people who rarely visited the cinema, concerts, museums, or art exhibitions compared with those visiting them most often.”
You can also find a comprehensive list of studies conducted to test similar hypotheses on the impact of social connectedness and cultural immersion on an individual’s health and overall mortality rate here. These studies include considerations of social and cultural immersion across a broad swath of types – including number of relationships, depth of social support, types of activities and their social involvement.
However, the findings ring the same across the broad spectrum of social and cultural involvement: all these things are truly good for one’s health and life expectancy. As strong believers in the power of vibrant living, we’re not surprised. It is vitally important to live a life filled with curiosity, purpose, joy, and love. Participating in cultural events such as going to the museum or attending church regularly provide all these things and more – and they just might provide a boost to your overall health, too.