Since you were a child, you’ve probably been told that going to church is good for you. And sure enough, to this day when you go, you feel a sense of happiness and peace. This experience is a part of the spirit of Catholicism, since attending Mass should be a life-changing event according to Pope Francis.
Indeed the spiritual component of church attendance is clear, but there have also been numerous studies on the psychological benefits that people get when they attend weekly Mass. And while understanding them is in no way necessary to enjoy the experience, the outcomes are interesting. They are most likely things you’ve always known or felt, but have not been able to explain. Let’s take a look:
- Acceptance and Community. The Catholic community is one big family and a huge, supportive and caring social network. In a Huffington Post article, a professor of sociology at the University of Toronto explained, “It just puts people in touch with like-minded congregants … It’s a period of time when you can actually connect with others and you’re not alone in your beliefs.”
- Singing Together. Did you know that science has shown that singing improves your mood? This is especially true for choral singing, which involves mental and physical engagement in a shared (and already inspiring) activity.
- Stress Reducing. When you attend Mass, you have no other choice but to literally take a break from the craziness of daily life. The time spent in church gives you “me time,” during which you can unplug and focus on positive and faith-filled thoughts. After, you feel calmer, happier, and more at peace.
- Good behavior. Regularly attending church services can inspire healthy behavior in a number of ways. To begin with, it promotes accountability and routine. It also encourages community service and charitable actions. Last but not least, it keeps you striving to live according to the core values inherent in the Catholic Identity.
Of course, you don’t need studies to tell you that attending church regularly is a life-affirming and important part of your overall well-being; the peace you attain comes from far more than psychological and behavioral elements. The National Catholic Reporter explains:
Celebrating the Eucharist also should make a difference in the way a parish community lives, [Pope Francis] said. At Mass, Christ gathers people around him “to nourish us with his word and his life. This means that the mission and identity of the church begin and take form there.”
How do you feel during and after weekly Mass? Let us know on our social media pages.