Thursday, May 19, 2022

How God Changes Your Brain

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Exercising Your Braineight Ways To Enhance Your Physical Mental And Spiritual Health

Book TV: Andrew Newberg “How God Changes Your Brain”

THE EIGHTH BEST WAY TO EXERCISE YOUR BRAIN

Smile.

THE SEVENTH BEST WAY TO EXERCISE YOUR BRAIN

Stay intellectually active. Nearly every age-related cognitive disability is related to the functioning of your frontal lobe, so its particularly important to exercise this specific part of your cortex, which, by the way, has more neural interconnections than any other lobe.

Imagination even improves the motor coordination of your body, and if you rehearse a dance step or a golf swing in your mind, youll actually perform the task better. The same is true for attaining personal goals. The more often you imagine what you want, the more likely you are to achieve it.

be sure to make your intellectual pursuits enjoyable.

THE SIXTH BEST WAY TO EXERCISE YOUR BRAIN

Consciously relax.

THE FIFTH BEST WAY TO EXERCISE YOUR BRAIN

Yawn.

Yawning will relax you and bring you into a state of alertness faster than any other meditation technique I know of,

Besides activating the precuneus, regulates the temperature and metabolism of your brain.

  • Optimizes brain activity and metabolism
  • Improves cognitive function
  • Relaxes every part of your body
  • Improves voluntary muscle control
  • Fine-tunes your sense of time
  • Increases empathy and social awareness
  • Enhances pleasure and sensuality
  • THE FOURTH BEST WAY TO EXERCISE YOUR BRAIN

    Meditate.

    THE THIRD BEST WAY TO EXERCISE YOUR BRAIN

    Aerobic exercise.

    THE SECOND BEST WAY TO EXERCISE YOUR BRAIN

    Dialogue with others.

    THE PRINCIPLES OF AFFIRMATION

    Meditation Intention Relaxation And Awareness

    INTENTION

    You begin with a goal-oriented thought, and the more you focus on it, the more your brain begins to plot out strategies to carry that thought into the world.

    RELAXATION

    AWARENESS

    It heightens the quality of the experience and reminds you that there is so much experience in everything we do. Meditation broadens your scope of conscious experience, and this strengthens important circuits in your brain.

    WHAT HAPPENED TO GOD?

    CONFRONTING THE BELLIGERENT BRAIN

    That old limbic system, which is largely responsible for maintaining synaptic stability, is not as flexible as the creative frontal lobes. Thus, its easy to dream up a new idea, but exceedingly difficult to get the rest of the brain to comply. Even if you succeed in changing different aspects of your personality, dont be surprised if old patterns of behavior reassert themselves from time to time.

    | So what is the solution to this neural resistance to change? Mark and I recommend three things: a conscious commitment to make a small improvement every day, a good dose of social support to help you honor that commitment, and a hefty serving of optimism and faith.

    Oh, and one other thing: a willingness to practice, at the very least, for a few minutes every day. With practice, you can build up to twenty to forty minutes a day, which may be the ideal range of time to enhance the neural functioning of your brain.

    BEGIN WITH A SIMPLE GOAL

    PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE

  • Breathing Awareness
  • Sitting with Your Demons
  • What Does God Do To Your Brainthe Neural Varieties Of Spiritual Practice

    Storytelling may deepen a childs fantasy about God, but rituals give personal meaning to theological ideas.

    THE GOD CIRCUITS IN YOUR BRAIN

    From early childhood on, God exists in every persons brain as a combination of ideas, images, feelings, sensations, and self/other relationships. Here is a thumbnail sketch of key neural structures and circuits that shape our perception of God:

    OCCIPITAL-PARIETAL CIRCUIT Identifies God as an object that exists in the world. Young children see God as a face because their brains cannot process abstract spiritual concepts.

    PARIETAL-FRONTAL CIRCUIT Establishes a relationship between the two objects known as you and God. It places God in space and allows you to experience Gods presence. If you decrease activity in your parietal lobe through meditation or intense prayer, the boundaries between you and God dissolve. You feel a sense of unity with the object of contemplation and your spiritual beliefs.

    FRONTAL LOBE Creates and integrates all of your ideas about Godpositive or negativeincluding the logic you use to evaluate your religious and spiritual beliefs. It predicts your future in relationship to God and attempts to intellectually answer all the why, what, and where questions raised by spiritual issues.

    THALAMUS Gives emotional meaning to your concepts of God. The thalamus gives you a holistic sense of the world and appears to be the key organ that makes God feel objectively real.

    CAN YOU SEPARATE SPIRITUALITY FROM GOD?

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    But Religion Isnt Always Good

    Newberg writes quite a lot about negative emotions and negative religion, which he associates with an authoritarian view of God.

    when God is viewed as dispassionate, vengeful and unforgiving, this can have deleterious effects on ones physical and mental health. Again, the research is clear: If you ruminate on negative emotions, they activate the areas of the brain that are involved in anger, fear and stress. This can ultimately damage important parts of the brain and the body. Whats worse, negative emotions can spill over into outward behaviors that generate fear, distrust, hatred, animosity and violence toward people who hold different or opposing beliefs.

    There is another potential dark side to religion. As I have witnessed at the hospital in which I work, when people feel that they contracted a disease because God is punishing them, such individuals may not follow doctors orders, keep appointments or take medications as directed. After all, why try to get better when God is trying to punish you? Research confirms that people who hold a punitive image of God can compromise their immune system and psychological health, thus prolonging their suffering and illness.

    . but its generally not poisonous

    Newbergs comments about the destructive effect of negative attitudes suggests that perhaps the more militant atheists may actually be doing themselves harm by their anger and negativity, just as some religious believers may be doing.

    God And Your Brain How He Changes It

    Andrew newberg how god changes your brain pdf ...

    June 13, 2013 By Dale Fletcher

    Rita Hancock, MD is a graduate of Cornell University and is a board-certified Physical Medicine specialist with sub-specialty board certification in Pain Management. She has been in full-time practice for fifteen years. Her most recent book is Radical Wellbeing A Biblical Guide to Overcoming Pain, Illness and Addictions.

    Dr. Hancock recently interviewed Dr. Andrew Newberg on his research about God and the brain. Dr. Newberg is considered a pioneer in the neuroscientific study of religious and spiritual experiences, a field frequently referred to as neurotheology.

    With the permission of Dr. Hancock, Im sharing a copy of her interview with Dr. Newberg here.

    Dr. Rita:

    Dr. Newberg, one of the main messages I got from your book, How God Changes Your Brain was, No matter what religion you ar about because your thoughts will change your brain. Did I get it right that your thoughts literally change your brain?

    Dr. Newberg:

    Dr. Rita:

    The Bible says, There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love . Can you tell us about the research on how fearful thoughts vs. loving thoughts affect the brain and the body in general?

    Dr. Newberg:

    Dr. Rita:

    Dr. Newberg:

    Dr. Rita:

    Dr. Newberg:

    Dr. Rita:

    How do a persons past experiences with God affect his or her current perception of Him? And are those perceptions permanent or changeable?

    Dr. Newberg:

    Dr. Rita:

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    What Happens When God Gets Madanger Fear And The Fundamentalist In Our Brain

    THE TWO WOLVES

    Once upon a time, or so the Cherokee legend goes, a young Indian boy received a beautiful drum as a gift. When his best friend saw it, he asked if he could play with it, but the boy felt torn. He didnt want to share his new present, so he angrily told his friend, No! His friend ran away, and the boy sat down on a rock by the stream to contemplate his dilemma. He hated the fact that he had hurt his friends feelings, but the drum was too precious to share. In his quandary, he went to his grandfather for advice.

    | The elder listened quietly and then replied. I often feel as though there are two wolves fighting inside me. One is mean and greedy and full of arrogance and pride, but the other is peaceful and generous. All the time they are struggling, and you, my boy, have those same two wolves inside of you.

    | Which one will win? asked the boy.

    | The elder smiled and said, The one you feed.

    | We all harbor a pack of neurological wolves in our brain. The old ones reside in the limbic system, and they are filled with aggression and fear. Theyre fast, efficient, and potentially deadly, and theyve been running the show for 150 million years. The younger ones reside in our frontal lobes and anterior cingulate, where empathy, reason, logic, and compassion reside. These pups are playful and imaginative, but they are also neurologically vulnerable and slow when compared to the activity in the emotional parts of the brain.

    SELFISHNESS AND MORALITY

    How Religion Helps Our Brain

    Everything we do affects how our brains change, either positively or negatively, as we reinforce or diminish different parts of our brains. According to Newberg, spiritual practices enhance the neural functioning of the brain in ways that improve physical and emotional health, they can improve memory and slow down neurological damage caused by growing old.

    our research shows that the more you engage all parts of your being, your thoughts, emotions, perceptions, social interactions and spiritual pursuits, the more it enhances your brains function. But most importantly, this requires a focus on the positive on love, forgiveness, optimism, and inclusiveness.

    By contrast, negative thoughts, feelings, and speech which includes angry rhetoric and fearful proclamations cause the primitive parts of your brain to release a cascade of stress-evoking neurochemicals that damage your heart and brain, especially those circuits responsible for suppressing destructive emotions and thoughts.

    Religion helps people keep positive, and this has beneficial health effects.

    Religious belief

    Newberg recognises that research shows that religion generally improves a persons health and wellbeing.

    hundreds of medical, neurological, psychological and sociological studies on religion . even minimal religious participation is correlated with enhancing longevity and personal health.

    The benefits may also flow out to the rest of society.

    Faith

    Meditation & prayer

    Contemplation of God

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    How God Changes Your Brain

    How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading NeurocientistHow God Changes Your Brain

    Andrew Newberg talked about his book How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neurocientist (Ballantine Books March 24,read more

    Andrew Newberg talked about his book How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neurocientist . The neuroscientist examined brain scans of memory patients and web-based surveys of peoples religious and spiritual experiences. The correlations he found led him to conclude that an active spiritual life physically changes the brain, permanently strengthening neural functioning in specific parts of the brain that aid in lowering anxiety and depression, enhancing social awareness and empathy, and improving cognitive functioning. Dr. Newberg showed images of brain scans. He discussed his work on stage with meditation teacher Loch Kelly.

    Andrew Newberg is the director of the Center for Spirituality and the Mind and an associate professor in the radiology department at the University of Pennsylvania. He co-wrote How God Changes Your Brain with , an associate fellow at the center. They are also the co-authors of close

    What Does God Feel Likethe Varieties Of Spiritual Experience

    How God changes your Brain. How that can change the world B

    spiritual experiences can be defined in either religious or secular terms.

    if you think about God as a feeling, as opposed to an entity that exists in the universe, it will take more neural time and energy to process. It also suggests that people who spend a great amount of time contemplating God are more likely to perceive God in more sophisticated ways.

    a gradual shift is taking place in America, where the importance of Gods physical characteristics is declining, while an interest in spiritual values is increasing.

    SURVEY OF SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES

    SEARCHING FOR THE REALITY OF GOD

    PERSONAL VARIETIES OF SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE

    In essence, hardly anyone used the same words, phrases, or expressions to describe his or her personal encounter with the divine. Truly religious and spiritual experiences are unique, at least when it comes to our ability to describe them in words.

    The only common denominator we found was not in the description, but in the positive effect that such experiences had on the participants lives.

    Cognitive processes turn God into an idea, but sensory processes turn God into a generalized feeling that changes the way we perceive the world.

    IS GOD PRIMARILY A FEELING OR AN IDEA?

    GOD FEELS LIKE LOVE AND EVOKES PEACE

    RELEASING THE DEMONS

    SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES ADD NEW DIMENSIONS TO LIFE

    SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES CHANGE YOUR OLD BELIEFS

    BECOMING ONE WITH GOD, THE UNIVERSE, AND OURSELVES

    THE FUTURE OF GOD

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    What Does God Look Likeimagination Creativity And The Visual Representation Of Spirituality

    DRAWING PICTURES OF GOD

    It actually takes a person longer to respond to no, which suggests that the brain does not take kindly to having its behavior interrupted.

    Catholic children associated God with family. Jewish children talked about God in relationship to suffering. For Baptist children, God was controlling, providing order, organization, and structure to ones life. Hindu children identified their gods with community.

    A CHILDS IMAGE OF GOD

    Drawings of God from a seven-year-old girl and a fourteen-year-old boy . Both children attended Sunday school.

    As religious children grow older, their depictions of God become more abstract, reaching 80 percent by the age of sixteen. Only 20 percent of the pictures drawn by older non-religious children were abstract 80 percent remained anthropomorphic.

    IMAGINING GOD

    GOD IS A NOUN

    EXAMINING ADULT PICTURES OF GOD

    ADULT CHURCH ATTENDEES

    Drawing from a twenty-two-year-old Religious Science woman who was raised Catholic , and a seventy-two-year-old man who had been affiliated with Religious Science for forty years.

    Unlike the children, there wasnt a single representation of a biblical theme, perhaps reflecting the nonbiblical theology of the church.

    as the brain matures, the more abstract and mysterious ones concept of God becomes.

    cf. James Fowlers model of faith development, Stages of Faith

    COLLEGE STUDENTS

    ADULT NONBELIEVERS

    THE PICTORIAL MEANING OF GOD

    IS THERE A GOD NEURON IN YOUR BRAIN?

    ENVISIONING TRANSCENDENCE

    Does God Have A Heartcompassion Mysticism And The Spiritual Personalities Of The Brain

    Whether we are conscious of it or not, we all assign a personality to God, which appears to be neurologically based on the nature of our own personality and beliefs.

    THE FOUR GODS OF AMERICA

    or benevolent.

    THE AUTHORITARIAN GOD

    THE CRITICAL GOD

    When combined with the first group of believers, nearly 50 percent of all Americans embrace a God that is cold, critical, and harsh. This, to me, reflects an underlying pessimism about the human condition and the moral state of the world.

    THE DISTANT GOD

    THE BENEVOLENT GOD

    Since most of the Old Testament describes a wrathful God, this may be the primary reason why so few people see God as a symbol of eternal love. To see God as primarily loving, a person must embrace a liberal interpretation of the Bible, ignoring or rejecting the vindictive passages.

    THE NURAL PERSONALITY OF GOD

    The personality you assign to God has distinct neural patterns that correlate with your own emotional styles of behavior. For example, according to the Baylor study, most of those who embrace an authoritarian God tend to favor the death penalty, want to spend more money on the military, want to give the government more power to fight terrorism, and insist that prayer should be allowed in public schools.

    THE MYSTICAL PERSONALITY OF GOD

    THE 99 ATTRIBUTES OF ALLAH

    THE NEURAL EVOLUTION OF GOD

    THE CULTURAL EVOLUTION OF GOD

    GLIMMERS OF AMERICAN MYSTICISM

    DOES GOD HAVE A WALLET?

    OLD GODS NEVER DIE

    THE WAR BETWEEN THE AMERICAN GODS

    EMBRACING COMPASSION AND PEACE

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    The Importance Of Faith

    One of the most interesting neuroscientists is Andrew Newberg, who researches how the brain responds to religious belief and practices. One of Newbergs most provocative statements, made with co-author Mark Waldman in Why your brain needs God, is:

    faith is the most important thing a person needs to maintain a neurologically healthy brain

    Yet Newberg is an agnostic and his co-author Waldman is apparently an atheist. So whats going on?

    What People Are Saying

    How God Changes Your Brain

    User ratings

    LibraryThing Review

    This book is chock-full of interesting findings about our brain’s chemistry and “wiring”, interesting survey results, and in two final chapters, a basket of techniques for improving one’s mood …Read full review

    LibraryThing Review

    Fascinating. I felt the title a bit inaccurate because the book does not really focus on how belief in God changes the brain. Instead, the majority of the book discusses how meditation changes the …Read full review

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    Epilogue: Is God Reala Personal Reflection

    To me, it seems rather arrogant to believe that we fully comprehend what God is, or how God wants us to live. Even the Ten Commandments strikes me as a very limited version of what God must want us to understand, and it reminds me of the way we give simplistic commands to our pets. Instead of Dont bite, No barking, and Heel, we are told Dont lie, Dont kill, and Honor the Sabbath. Dogs often fail to carry out our commands, and people often fail to honor Gods commands. Please understand that I am not in any way trying to belittle the holiness of God. I am merely pointing out that as incredible as God is, we can only hope to understand the smallest aspect of God. Its like the story of the blind men and the elephant. Each touches only a small part, and that is what they know. And when it comes to God, we are all partially blind.

    There may be a universal or ultimate truth, but I doubt whether the limitations of the human mind will ever allow us to accurately perceive it or find any common ground, especially when it comes to the reality of God.

    THE ULTIMATE METAPHOR

    | For those who embark on a spiritual journey, God becomes a metaphor reflecting their personal search for truth. It is a journey inward toward self-awareness, salvation, or enlightenment, and for those who are touched by this mystical experience, life becomes more meaningful and rich.

    DONT TAKE THE EASY WAY OUT

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