Many years ago I was watching an episode of Oprah where she told everyone to keep a daily inventory of the thoughts that floated through our minds. I thought cool! I've got this! So I took inventory. It wasn't "cool!" It was a labyrinth of cobwebs constructed by personal accusations, toxic thoughts, stress, and self defeat. Although I was generally a very optimistic, faith-filled gal, I had just gone through a painful betrayal in my marriage that had me saying things like, "I'm so stupid!" ...feeling stupid for allowing myself to be fooled - not seeing the signs. My outward portrayal of hope and resilience was not in line with my thoughts. Can you relate? And so began the long journey - and process - of truly renewing my mind. WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? Because our thoughts can change our DNA! Let's take a look at what God has to say about our minds and how science backs up what scripture says!
Neuroscientist, Dr. Caroline Leaf, explains:
- “What’s in a thought? More than you probably know. Every thought has a corresponding electrochemical reaction in your brain. When you think, chemicals course through your body in magnificently complex electrochemical feedback loops. These chemicals produce electromagnetic waves which, if you could hear them, would sound like the most exquisite orchestral symphony.”
- Body, soul and spirit are linked. When we have a thought it will result in a physical reaction in the body – for better or for worse.
- 87% - 95% of illnesses come from our brain (our stinking thinking!) You can see why it’s important to fill our minds with grace, love, beauty, peace and joy.
- Every thought builds a nerve cell - scientists call these the “magic trees of the mind.” We have 100 trillion magic trees in our minds! They create loops of thought. This is why rehearsing old traumas can be just as harmful to us emotionally as the day it occurred.
- Did you know that the brain doesn't know the difference between an actual memory and an imaginary one! So, if you can't come up with a "good memory" to draw on for healing and peace, you can actually ask God for one! It will release the same happy chemicals! Wow! This is something I use in my coaching methodology!
- Scientific evidence shows that prayer and meditating on God’s Word releases these “happy chemicals!” This is just another reason why meditating on God's Word is SO powerful. Why do we want “happy chemicals”??? We can rewire our minds! When we think about pleasant things, our bodies release happy chemicals like endorphins and dopamine which actually melt toxic nerve cells!
- Dopamine is a naturally occurring chemical in your brain that is responsible for influencing a number of behaviors, including pleasure, cognition and motivation. The feelings associated with increased dopamine levels can also be euphoric, creating a desire to release dopamine naturally in the body. You can release dopamine in your brain through a number of methods from the foods you eat, to the exercise you perform. Remember, they MELT toxic nerve cells!
- This is why prayer and meditating on God’s word (Hebrews 4:12, Proverbs 23:7, Proverbs 16:24) are so good for you! Here are some other things that can release "happy chemicals" like dopamine and endorphins:
- games that are competitive
- visualizing a happy scene
- healthy food
- dark chocolate
- deep breathing
- watching a beautiful sunset
Take some time to reflect on some of the items above and see which ones really speak to you, chemically. This week, incorporate these things into your daily/weekly routine and see how your life will begin to transform for the better!! It's scientifically proven - and encouraged in scripture!
Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."
[This Week's Prayer]
Father God, thank you for the power of my brain! I praise you because you are so amazing that you created me with the innate ability to heal and thrive! Through you all things are possible, I am able, I am wise and have wisdom to accomplish what you have set before me! I will slow down and tend to the "magic trees" of my mind. I bind up in the name of Jesus thoughts that do not represent your heart for me. I plead the blood of Jesus Christ over my mind and ask that your thoughts of God will penetrate every cell and membrane. My mind will be aligned with your word, Father God, "Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." Amen!
Certified Life Coach
BGEA Crisis-Trained Chaplain