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The God-Shaped Brain and the Aging Brain

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy
The Truth Network Radio
December 31, 2018 12:00 pm

The God-Shaped Brain and the Aging Brain

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy

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December 31, 2018 12:00 pm

This week on Family Policy Matters, NC Family President John Rustin speaks with Dr. Timothy Jennings, a board-certified psychiatrist, author, Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatrist Association, and President of Come and Reason Ministries. Dr. Jennings explains how our physical bodies are very much connected to our spiritual souls, and how engaging and experiencing God, truth, and love can result in better health and better life, especially as we age.


Biology left town. We help benefit others.

We live longer have much Russian must commit down the longer people don't volunteer help. This is family policy matters, a weekly radio show and podcast from NC family designed to better inform listeners about the critical issues of the day and encourage you to be voices of persuasion for family values in your community and now your host NC family Pres. John Rustin thank you for joining us today for family policy matters.

The North Carolina family policy Council's weekly radio show and podcast which is designed to inform listeners about the critical issues of the day into encourage you to be voices of persuasion for family values in your community. I don't think it will come as much of a surprise that there is a deep, deep connection between our physical bodies and our spiritual souls in the state of our faith actually affects our physical and mental well-being.

Today we are joined by Dr. Timothy Jennings, a board-certified psychiatrist and master psycho pharmacologist Dr. Jennings is a distinguished fellow of the American psychiatric Association and president of come and reason ministries. He spent more than two decades researching the interface between biblical principles and modern brain science. In fact, he was invited to the White House in 2017 to discuss the issues of mental health, opioid addiction and faith-based initiatives with some of our nation's leaders. He's also the author of several books including the God -shaped brain how changing your view of God transforms your life in his newest book, the aging brain proven steps to prevent dementia and sharpen your mind and that's what will be discussing with him today so Dr. Jennings thanks so much for being with us on family policy matters. It's great to have you on the show. Thanks for having neglected beater based on your research and knowledge. Dr. Jennings, how does a person's view of God affect their mental condition and subsequently their health understated. The brain is in a state of flux, and it's reacting to the thought patterns decisions the behaviors we engage in. So if you decided to go out today for the first time it start piano lessons and you took lessons for a period of time. Your brain would begin rewiring to create pathways to make you more efficient, not mentally at the motor movement to play the piano, but reading and comprehending the notes that you see on the page. If you decided to take a foreign language and you begin practicing the language your brain to begin making new pathways.

This is normal brain function.

If we then worship and think about a God in the God that we worship will then determine which pathways in our brain are firing if we have an authoritarian God or a punishing God or God that incites fear, then do that will activate your pathways in our brain, which activate stress circuits in our body, increasing inflammation, and it contributes to health related problems worshiping a God of love is benevolent, compassionate, and she has the opposite effect. It turns off the stress pathways and result in better health and better life.

You talked about the impact of faith and beliefs. All our physical abilities and also the kind of re-programming of our brains. How does our relationship with this God and also with other people affect our mental health and the intersection of those different capacities of physical and mental in our bodies, so we are designed for relationship. One of the things that that people struggle with his fear of rejection, fear of not being accepted. Fear of not being lobbed carrying around an internal sense of shame for the shortcomings or or mistakes that we've made and so part of the healing process for us to actually experience it of wholeness and wellness is to reveal our true selves to somebody and experience, acceptance, and that person loves that they may not accept the struggles that were having with accept also want to see is victorious over them is like 12 step program to so effective in helping people with the substance use problems. They will come in and say hi and job an alcoholic and they don't get condemned they can accept as a person and they feel supported that they want to help them overcome that problem. Relationships are very powerful in helping us come to a state of being a hole within ourselves and people who live in isolation and don't have that relationship back to higher stress and have more health problems than people with healthy relationships well socially. Humans are resilient creatures. God created us that way. But there are individuals who have experienced deep emotional and/or psychological wounds talk about the healing process and how both the physical and the spiritual aspects of our lives really impact our ability to recover from traumatic experiences to big healing principles that really help people are truth which helps set right are thinking patterns and then the altruistic love being loved as a human being people who been abused. All people who been abused will have distortions or false perceptions that become part of their internal world or dialogue the way they perceive themselves or the world around them.

Kids who been abused.

For instance, they will grow up feeling like they are grosser their ugly or they're damaged or they're not worthy. They will have some distortion about that that gets internalized. It's a part of the healing process is helping them out re-process the events in such a way that are more historically and truthfully accurate so that they recognize that they are not defined by events that happened to them and didn't really find by their own character development and then experiencing that they can be loved as a person for who they are, in spite of some ugly things that may have happened to them also very healing seductive Jennings what the signs tell us about how the brain changes with age and author?

The brain is in it in a constant state of flux and is constantly changing and one of the things I try to keep my books. This concept of design law laws upon which reality are designed to work like the laws of help of laws of physics along gravity. One of those is a lot of exertion if you want something to get stronger. You must exercise it because if you don't use it you lose it just your muscles that's your brain circuitry as well.

If you do want strong math ability. You've got to work problems strong musical skill you got a practitioner instrument and so if we are active learners, lifelong learners engaging in expanding our databases and our understanding of reality. There are neural circuits expand our brains. They help there's weeds.

We actually turn on genes that produce proteins in our brain to keep our brains healthy make is more resistant to men.

The dimensions we age. But if we are not lifelong learners.

If we as that certain point in time say retire and will retire.

We just put our feet up eat and watch TV then that causes atrophy in the brain actually declines more rapidly. So the choices we make.

We can keep our bodies and brain robust, or we can accelerate decline was a connection between the physical and the spiritual aspects of this is our brains agent change over time and in some cases begin to lose ability and capacity because of just growing in a drawer or some sort of disability or disease. How do you see this affecting the spiritual component of people's lives. Is there a correlation people is that in in the Bible God promises all of us here now for we have the promise from him that if we choose we can have a new heart and right spirit. In other words, we can be renewed in the inner person that have hearts that lobbed hearts the trust that are honest, we can have character of mature people were loyal and faithful and kind.

We are not promised new physiology new biology until his mortal puts on immortality in this corruption puts in the corruption so that we can suffer with physical ailments and problems that make us slower, weaker, etc. physiologically doesn't mean that we cannot experience growth in our capacity to love others. Trust God and have a sense of well-being and peace with who we are listening to a radio show and cast around family. You can sign up to receive, to listen to the show online resources explains anyone, namely, 19 Jennings there is a growing trend in our nation to consider a person's value, is commensurate with their ability to function and to be quote a productive member of society" this is led to a rise in acceptance of euthanasia and assisted suicide and just the devaluing of the human person in your opinion, what is the value of the human person derive his human worth simply dependent upon an individual's capacity to perform or does it come from somewhere else. A great question and even Trenton asked the question of euthanasia question.

I submit patient to come to see me who are struggling with feelings of worthlessness, feeling like they don't matter.

Then they feel like they have to do more in order to earn somebody's log on a place of acceptance.

I point out the question. You know, for most parents. I will ask the victim to my patients that they went may put your child in your arm for the first time did that child have any value to you any worse and I said how much it. Of course you know that if you can put a price on and I said what child do to earn it in the light bulb goes up, the real is when a second there worth or value is not in what they do with and who they are.

So the question has to be answered is where we have a debate in society who are weak are we just the latest In an evolutionary chain from slime to frog stuff, you know, monkeys, or are we children of God do we have an identity in our creation or do we just randomly appear from random forces because my view of we were created in the image of the of an intelligent, loving God and thus our worth and values inherent in who we are and I think that's a great example when you speak in terms of the incident and the value that a baby that you have in your arms has just inherently and I think there is no parent in that circumstance, who would argue that that baby. Despite being unable to care for themselves has utmost importance and value to them.

So I think that's a great way to put that so how can all of this.

Help us to think about interact and truly care for those among us who are less able or even in some cases, unable to care for themselves and to do so in a way that honors both God and the person really doesn't depend on our worldview that we have the worldview of a hereafter than we understand, we are just passing through this life that we experience for every transient is that I'll describe it, but it turned at the eternity and so our goal really about being on earth now is not to build houses. It's not about earthly profit is about reaching souls to restore in them. Christ likeness the principles of lobbed it to root out the fear and self-centeredness that is so destructive and I think about when we have the world system which is the survival of the fittest system.

That system is antithetical to a gotten the way God created life and happiness to actually work and neurobiology shows us that we go down the fear based me first system we actually are less healthy when we go down the altruistic system or we help it seek to use her energy to benefit others.

We live longer, have less depression, less dementia, stay out of nursing homes longer than people who don't volunteer and help others stinks.

Well, I know clearly the Bible says that we as humans are fearfully and wonderfully made, and I think many of which is described today. The way that the brain can reprogram itself and is just always changing and adapting is just evidence of a an incredible creative designer. What words of advice and encouragement would you give to our listeners who may be kind of in a situation that is challenging with a loved one that may be facing issues of incapacity or with themselves and they may feel that their life is of limited value or that there facing challenges need to hear that they are fearfully and wonderfully made that they are a created being of a loving creator I would say exactly what you've already said and and add to that that we sometimes can lose perspective and get lost in the moment and not realize that there is a larger reality. And if we can step back and allow our our minds eye to see that larger reality that goes beyond just the moment were in the possibilities that God has for us and we don't know the future, but the decisions were making today for our personal path will have a significant impact. If we want our lives to go in a different direction than it's currently not that we step back today with the wisdom that God gives us begin making choices to move ourselves in that direction when not in a certain path so Dr. Jennings, I would just about out of time for our discussion today. But before we go I want to give you an opportunity to let our listeners know where they can find out more about the books she written, and other resources that you might recommend as they further explore the questions that we've been talking about today. Your website is calm and live life resources there and in the books can be found in any bookseller asked for the book by name or by finding right and that's again, and come and want to encourage your listeners to avail themselves of this valuable information. I know our discussion today. Dr. Jennings is the interest of many of our listeners and would just encourage them to utilize these resources were grateful for your time and your attention to these important matters and presaging being with us on family housing.

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