As you learned in the previous blog, prior to the significant impact of Dr. Dossey's writings praying was considered the domain of religious faith and organized religion. As a result of his efforts, during the past twenty years research involving prayer, religion, and healing of patients has become much more precise and sophisticated. The book entitled How God Changes Your Brain by Andrew Newberg, MD and Mark Waldman (both affiliated with the Center for Spirituality and the Mind at the University of Pennsylvania) described a number of scientific breakthroughs.
Neuroscientific evidence shows a number of ways to maintain a healthy brain, which will strengthen your ethical behavior, transform your inner reality and change your perception of the world as well as your spiritualty and your notions of God and all for the better! The authors present eight best ways to exercise your brain:
1. Having faith--to be spiritual we must rely on faith. Even unbelievers can rely on their intuition and faith to guide them through the unknown aspects of life.
2. Talking with others--dialogue requires social interaction with others and if we don't exercise our language skills, large portions of the brain will not effectively interconnect with other neural structures.
3. Exercising aerobically (which can be considered a form of meditation) involves concentration and a deliberate regulation of body movements and breathing. Research indicates that doing aerobics enhances relaxation and spirtual well-being.
4. Meditating such as visualization, guided imagery and self hypnosis are equally effective in maintaining a healthy brain.
5. Yawning (what a surprise!)--has been shown to stimulate alertness and concentration; optimize brain activity and metabolism; improve cognitive function; increase memory recall; enhance consciousness and introspection; lower stress; relax every part of the body; enhance athletic skills; improve voluntary muscle control; fine tune one's sense of time; increase empathy and social awareness; and enhance pleasure and sensuality. Conscious yawning takes practice. To trigger a deep yawn fake it six or seven times; by the fifth yawn a real one probably will occur.
6. Consciously relaxing by scanning each part of your body to reduce muscle tension and physical fatigue and listening to pleasant music will help you relax more quickly. More over, listening to calming music sharpens cognitive skills and improves your sense of spiritual well-being.
7. Staying intellectually active--intellectual and cognitive stimulation strengthen the neural connections in the frontal lobe of your brain, improving your ability to communicate, solve problems, and make rational decisions regarding your behavior.
8. Smiling--smiling repetitively helps interrupt mood disorders and strengthens the brain's neural ability to maintain a positive outlook on life. Even if you fake a smile, others will respond more positively to you.
Visit www.andrewnewberg.com to learn more about Dr. Andrew Newberg and books he has written.
Visit www.markrobertwaldman.com to learn more about Mark Waldman and books he has written.