"In a key study done in Beijing, very interesting differences were found in these two self-processing regions in religious Christians compared to non-religious subjects. In non-religious people, self-judgments (judgments about traits people believe describe themselves) were clearly associated with increases in the 'It’s About Me' brain area. Religious Christians, however, did not show increases in the 'It’s About Me' area when making these kinds of self-related assessments." Jeffrey M. Schwartz explains the effects of religion on an interesting part of the brain.
During most of the last century, the consensus was that brain structure was pretty much set, fixed and immutable after some specified period of childhood development. More recent research, however, shows that experience changes not just brain structure or anatomy but also the functional organization or physiology of the brain. And this reorganization is what people mean by “neuroplasticity.”
I’ve been acting like an absent-minded professor long before I actually became one. I am often so engrossed in my own world that I forget to keep track of my surroundings: running on automatic pilot as I walk (and even drive) from place to place, forgetting people’s names as soon as I’ve been told it for the first time, breaking or spilling things as I clumsily trudge through my day. Most people don’t realize it, but the consequences of this lack of awareness may become dire when it is applied to the landscape of the inner voice(s) that seem to constantly run inside our heads.
"To pray unceasingly is to channel our thoughts out of their fearful isolation into a fearless conversation with God... Prayer is not introspection."
We live in a world where our worth is defined by what we do. More specifically, in our culture it is defined by what we achieve. We constantly strive to prove our worth through our words and actions in a myriad of ways (e.g. career, school, money, power, religion) only to feel more exhausted, disconnected, anxious, and depressed.
But often our activity to fix the problem only perpetuates the disease. The disease is the fundamental belief that it is up to us, and we are the ones in control.
"For a long time, I thought that I (a licensed mental health professional) wasn’t one of them (theologians). I was interested in information that would actually help people—and at one point in time that didn’t include theology. Today I am one who is encouraging other Christian mental health professionals to take their theological foundations seriously."
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