Believing Is Good for Your Brain

There’s a lot of talk about brain chemistry and how drug abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), fatherlessness, childhood abuse and other factors contribute to the change of the brain’s structure for the worse.  Although you may feel like you were set up for failure from the outset (i.e., being born into a family you didn’t ask for, experiencing unfortunate events that were out of your control, feeling like a victim of your circumstances, etc.), the good news is you can still turn things around.  It may be more difficult to change your habits and thinking now that you’re an adult, but it’s not too late to make the effort to reverse some of the effects on your brain’s structure and consequently brighten your future.  There is scientific evidence that believing in God effects positive changes on your brain:

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braintorm

  • Meditation and prayer thicken parts of your brain cortex, which protects against depression (Miller et al., 2013)
  • Faith in God has significant positive impact on individuals suffering from psychiatric illnesses (Rosmarin, Bigda-Peyton, Kertz, Smith, Rauch & Björgvinsson, 2013)
  • Thinking about God reduces stress. When you are thinking about God, brain activity decreases in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) region of your brain (Inzlicht & Tullett., 2010)

Believing is more than a simple agreement that something is true.  It also entails action behind the thoughts.  For example, if you truly believed that the chair you’re sitting on has a time bomb taped underneath your seat, would you still be sitting there or would you get up and run as fast as you can?  Words are powerful – yes – but if you observe someone’s words versus his actions, you will see that his actions tell you far more about his beliefs than his claims.

Do you believe that you are more than a conqueror because God is on your side, or do you simply accept that God exists?  What does the outcome of your life say about your beliefs?

#YourBrainOnFaith  #Believe  #Faith  #Musings4Life

Journal Reference:

  1. Lisa Miller, Ravi Bansal, Priya Wickramaratne, Xuejun Hao, Craig E. Tenke, Myrna M. Weissman, Bradley S. Peterson.Neuroanatomical Correlates of Religiosity and SpiritualityJAMA Psychiatry, 2013; 1 DOI: 1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.3067
  1. David H. Rosmarin, Joseph S. Bigda-Peyton, Sarah J. Kertz, Nasya Smith, Scott L. Rauch, Thröstur Björgvinsson.A test of faith in God and treatment: The relationship of belief in God to psychiatric treatment outcomesJournal of Affective Disorders, 2013; 146 (3): 441 DOI:1016/j.jad.2012.08.030
  1. Michael Inzlicht, Alexa M. Tullett.Reflecting on God: Religious Primes Can Reduce Neurophysiological Response to ErrorsPsychological Science, 2010; DOI: 1177/0956797610375451
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