On religion: You can change your brain


Many of us will be making resolutions for the New Year, and there is recent research in science that you might want to use in making your resolution list.

Thanksgiving can change your brain.

Giving thanks, the actual thinking of a thankful thought, can change your brain.

Science has shown that a thankful thought shuts down the anger path in the brain.

This is a wonderful revelation. I can stop a negative emotion in its tracks by being thankful.

It is not easy to stop anger with thankfulness, but it is wonderfully life-changing when we do. Science has also discovered that the brain is re-shapeable through neuroplasticity. We can re-write our brains and change how we think and react.

Negative emotions wreak havoc on our health — mentally, physically and relationally.

When it comes to making New Year’s resolutions, wouldn’t it be a good idea to make a change that would make life better in your emotional life, your physical vitality and your family?

How different would our lives be, if we had thankful attitudes that crushed negative emotions?

So many problems that we have in our lives are from decisions made when we were embroiled in negative emotions. If we can spend less of our lives in a negative emotional state, then we will react to life’s challenges in healthier way.

When the Holy Spirit inspired the apostle Paul to write Philippians 4, teaching us to be thankful and think about good things. He was writing a timeless truth.

Philippians 4:6–8 (NASB95) — Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 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.

I encourage you: Make a resolution for 2016 to let your heart dwell on things for which you are thankful. Reshape you brain with gratefulness. The result will be health for your mind, body and relationships, which will cause you to be even more thankful.

Happy New Year!


Bob Swanger

Contributing columnist

Bob Swanger, pastor of the River Church in a Barn, has been married for 34 years has 13 children — six natural, two adopted (Russia and Colombia) and five foster) — and six grandchildren. He is a Stage-4 melanoma cancer survivor.

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