Category Archives: Brain

Is Your Soul Satisfied?

satisfy“And I — in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.” Psalm 17:15 (emphasis added)

The psalmist here equates seeing God with satisfaction.  When you consider things, people or activities that give you satisfaction, does your relationship with God appear on that list?

We humans derive our enjoyment from a variety of things.  Quality time with people we love, hobbies we enjoy, favorite foods we eat and destinations we travel to all produce “happy” chemicals in our brain such as dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin.  Dopamine and endorphins are released from two separate areas of our brain; in a nutshell, Dr. Norm Doidge connects dopamine to short-lived excitement and anticipation stemming from appetite, and he links endorphins to calming, fulfilling satisfaction that’s produced by things, activities or people, like exercise, quality relationships or other healthy practices requiring long-term commitment and investment.

When you read the psalms in the Bible, you can definitely tell that King David and other psalmists found their satisfaction in God:

“My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.” Psalm 63:5

“And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.” Job 19:26

“They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights.” Psalm 36:8

Delighting in God certainly has long-term benefits for your happiness as well as your soul.  However, it takes time to cultivate your relationship with God, and it certainly is not an overnight process.  I’m sure you’ve heard of these adages:

  • Good things come to those wait
  • There are no shortcuts to real success

So, where do we go from here?  As Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, has said, “Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.”  With regard to your relationship with God, start sowing thoughts of God’s greatness and meditate on the psalms.  Make it a point to spend time with God each day.  Start off small, and the small steps will increase to bigger steps as you find more and more satisfaction in your walk.  Enjoy the eternal pleasures that are coming your way!

“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11

#Satisfaction #knowGod #musingz4life #missing #life #soul

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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:

braintorm

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