Faith Informed by Neural Discoveries

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“Faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)

Belief helps us find solutions we crave, such as the unconditional care of a loving God. In my life faith also adds purpose and a cause worth standing for when chaos surrounds us.  Yet faith only grows and stretches our moral perspective, when integrated with credible discoveries. Take the new neural discoveries that should take our underpinnings and cause somewhat of a tectonic shift in the brain’s basal ganglia comfort zones.

Below are vital shifts that guide my flexibility as a student of the brain, while at the same time fostering my commitment to guidance from my life-changing faith.

First, give thanks that your brain is unique in its fearful and wonderful creation. Thankfulness releases your brain’s aha chemical, serotonin. Serotonin opens creativity and sparks new ideas.

Second, ask a what if question about a topic passionate to you, and then apply that person’s idea. Learn this new fact or idea from a person who differs most from you. Act on the new concept and you’ll also grow your interpersonal and intrapersonal IQ.

Third, take a new risk. Dopamine increases with each risk taken. It’s the brain chemical that helps you to risk adventures such as life-changing innovations. Dopamine is stimulated by incentives. Reward yourself for taking a thoughtful risk. Be careful here though. While too little dopamine causes boredom, too much causes impulsive or reckless behaviors.

Fourth, forgive somebody by letting a hurt or personal injustice go. Forgiveness may not change the other person, but it changes us by lowering cortisol. Imagine eliminating a toxic chemical that shuts down creativity and can shave up to ten years off your life. Poor tone in communication acts as its silent killer. Create rather than criticize to curtail cortisol’s toxins.

Fifth, laugh at the little things. Plasticity (or the brain’s ability to change itself) enables people of all ages and backgrounds to rewire even the most stoic human brain for more fun and laughter in ways that keep it open and more agile. Simply laugh more and your brain will change to do the rest.

Sixth, shift up an ordinary routine today into a different or extraordinary way that will improve tomorrow. That deliberate shift will reduce your basal ganglia (the brain’s comfort zone) where we sometimes stay and gripe about monotony we’ve stockpiled there.

Seventh, find grace’s gift in one lived experience today. Act as if you are the apple of God’s eye, and the trophy of His grace. Did Einstein know that actions literally change the chemical and electrical circuitry of the brain, when he stressed more action through his warning, Vision without execution is hallucination?

Eighth, try left and right brain actions.  From your left brain do something fun that’s also logical, sequential, objective, rational, detailed, analytical, and fact oriented. This may include visual perception, language, attention, memory, focus and speed for completing organized tasks. From your right brain capabilities, try drawing a map of the big picture, and then sketching in your details. Your right brain gets massaged more when you’re innovative, whole picture oriented, subjective, holistic, intuitive, synthesizing, and emotionally alert.

Ninth, contribute one favorite talent, interest, or capability in a novel way that will nudge others to embrace the same innovation. Students of their awesome brains craft insights with their emotional intelligence, and then add logical action plans for mind-bending results that welcomes and includes others.

Tenth, leap past one weakness that holds you back, in order to attempt a new opportunity that celebrates a personal strength. Because of the brain’s kinase A protein we can literally overtake a DNA weakness, through choices we make and actions we take. One of two gene functions can change our gene pool or DNA, if we act opposite to our natural tendency. Each cell in our body contains all our DNA. Genes make a new protein (Kinase A) when turned on or expressed. New research shows how this magical protein alters the structure and function of the cell.

Which of these neural tips could help you become a top student of your awesome brain while strengthening your basic beliefs?

Would your faith pass a beta test? In other words, is your belief big enough to stretch you and benefit others?

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Created by Ellen Weber, Brain Based Tasks for Growth Mindset