If you're not in touch with your spiritual side, here's a good reason to start: It may hold benefits for your mental health.

A small new study shows that regardless of what religion you ascribe to, spirituality in general is linked with greater mental health. In particular, spirituality in the study was linked with decreased neuroticism and increased extraversion, researchers found.

"With increased spirituality people reduce their sense of self and feel a greater sense of oneness and connectedness with the rest of the universe," study researcher Dan Cohen, an assistant professor at the University of Missouri, said in a statement. "What was interesting was that frequency of participation in religious activities or the perceived degree of congregational support was not found to be significant in the relationships between personality, spirituality, religion and health."

The researchers analyzed several survey results, which included information from 160 people. Forty of them were Buddhists, 41 were Catholics, 22 were Jews, 31 were Protestants and 26 were Muslims, according to the study, which was published in the Journal of Religion and Health.

Recently, a Gallup-Healthways study showed that people who are religious report better health than their less-religious counterparts, HuffPost Religion reported.

Specifically, that study examined how health was better among people who considered themselves "very religious" compared with those who considered themselves only moderately religious or nonreligious.

They found that the "very religious" scored themselves slightly higher than the moderately religious and nonreligious in areas of quality of life, access to doctors, healthy habits, emotional health and job satisfaction. However, the nonreligious people scored their physical health higher than the religious people in the study, HuffPost Religion reported.

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