Posts Tagged ‘Brain’

Music helps your mind – 2

Then David and all the house of Israel played music before the LORD on all kinds of instruments of fir wood, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on sistrums, and on cymbals. 2 Samuel 6:5 (NKJV)

Serusha Govender, from WebMD[i], tells us of five ways music helps your mind.

  1. Group singing makes you happier. Singing simultaneously lowers the level of cortisol, which is the stress hormone, and releases endorphins which makes us feel content. In addition, the anticipation of making a melodic change while singing in a group floods the body with dopamine which give you a sense of euphoria.  According to some research, singing in a choir releases the antibody s-IgA, which boosts our immune system, especially when the song is moving.  And if you don’t have a group to sing with, doctors say singing alone releases oxytocin, which is the happiness hormone, giving you an instant mood booster.

When you go to church, participate in the congregational singing; not only will you be praising God in music but it can give you a real high.  I especially appreciate these words: “Music can be made a great power for good; yet we do not make the most of this branch of worship…Music should have beauty, pathos, and power. Let the voices be lifted in songs of praise and devotion. Call to your aid, if practicable, instrumental music, and let the glorious harmony ascend to God, an acceptable offering.”[ii]

The Greek philosopher Plato wrote, “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”  But it is not just music for our personal benefit that matters; instead, think of how the songs we sing brings us closer to God.  “The human voice that sings the music of God from a heart filled with gratitude and thanksgiving is far more pleasing to Him than the melody of all the musical instruments ever invented by human hands.”[iii]

Father God, thank you for your gift of music and song.  May I take advantage of what it can do to help me feel better, but above all, may it always be pleasing to you.

[i] http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/5-ways-music-helps-the-mind?ecd=wnl_emw_102815&ctr=wnl-emw-102815_nsl-promo-2_title&mb=K2VcbkxhrhREAZ5zC2UpheHnVev1imbCHYS8QQY8uqo%3d

[ii] White, E.G. Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 4, p. 71.

[iii] White, E.G. Letter 2c, 1892.

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Music helps your mind – 1

And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him. 1 Samuel 16:23 (NKJV)

Brain researchers have seen how your brain lights up like a Christmas tree when you listen to music.  Serusha Govender, from WebMD[i], tells us of five ways music helps your mind.

  1. Learning to play a musical instrument boosts memory. Playing an instrument of any kind will sharpen your memory recall and protect your mind from the ravages that come with old age. Because the process involves a complex list of tasks, like finger placement and reading musical notes, it expands your working memory capacity. With time and practice, your brain learns to perform more tasks simultaneously without getting overloaded which will help you remember information longer.  In addition, playing in a group, like a band or an orchestra, gives you the ability to extract smaller pieces of information from a larger, more complex landscape, which will help you fine-tune your long-term learning skills.
  2. Musical training makes you brainier. Because learning to play an instrument helps with problem-solving skills, people who’ve had musical training are usually better at math, science and engineering later in life. However, the results are better for those who start young since those young brains are still forming.  As much as some kids may not enjoy it and may complain about having to practice, the more intense the musical training, the more kids’ brains will develop.

Bu the benefits are not limited to children; adults can still benefit from musical training because the mind stays malleable throughout our lives.   As Petr Janata, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of California Davis Center for Mind and Brain says, “Keeping your working memory engaged helps slow down cognitive decline… so it’s never too late to reap the benefits.”  Play an instrument, or sing; it’s good for your brain…and for your attitude.

Father God, thank you for giving us such a wonderful way to keep our brains sharp and our attitudes positive.

[i] http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/5-ways-music-helps-the-mind?ecd=wnl_emw_102815&ctr=wnl-emw-102815_nsl-promo-2_title&mb=K2VcbkxhrhREAZ5zC2UpheHnVev1imbCHYS8QQY8uqo%3d

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So we built the wall, and the entire wall was joined together up to half its height, for the people had a mind to work. Nehemiah 4:6 (NKJV)

Today we finish the list of 25 responses compiled by Jenna Goudreau in response to the question “What would you do to be a little smarter every single day?” for Business Inside.[i]

  1. Play “smart” games. Some games, like chess and Scrabble, expand your mind. There are good brain games online or as apps for cell phones such as Lumosity, Elevate, or Fit Brains are free and help to exercise different parts of the brain.
  2. Set aside some time to do nothing. Oftentimes, sitting in silence can help you get inspiration and reflect on your day. While we want to exercise the brain, we also need to take time to let it rest.
  3. Adopt a productive hobby. Try something you can work on every day, from knitting to collecting to gardening, you can actively learn more just from doing. The Sabbath provides us with a weekly opportunity to rest both physically and mentally. In addition, we need to give the brain a daily respite from the taxation of work and study.
  4. Apply what you learn. Whatever new skill you have learned, make sure you are using that skill in your life as often as possible. Learning by doing is one of the most effective ways to become smarter.
  5. Exercise and eat a healthy diet. Choose brain foods to fuel your thinking, and avoid heavy meals that will make you sluggish. When your energy is low, take a walk. Light exercise, such as a leisurely walk, helps the blood flow to your brain thus giving you better performance.

Here’s a very interesting thought for these days:  “Those who labor with their hands, and those who labor in word and doctrine, must have a care to sustain their physical powers. . . When they can, they should take rest both in body and mind, and should eat of nourishing food; for they will be obliged to use all the power they have.”[ii]

Father God, help me to keep my brain sharp and healthy so I may battle against everything that comes my way every day.

[i] http://www.businessinsider.com/daily-habits-to-be-smarter-2015-5

[ii] White, E.G.  Christian Temperance and Bible Hygene.  Pg. 152

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Get smarter every day – 3

Who has put wisdom in the mind? Or who has given understanding to the heart? Job 38:36 (NKJV)

In response to the question “What would you do to be a little smarter every single day?” Jenna Goudreau, in the Business Inside,[i] compiled 25 ideas.  Here are some more:

  1. Take online courses. Check out this list of the most popular online courses for professionals. Make sure you don’t overload yourself; commit to one to two and truly focus on them.
  2. Talk to someone you find interesting. Even if they’re strangers, don’t be afraid to approach them. Ask about their interests and how they discovered them.
  3. Hang out with people who are smarter than you. Try to find time every day for conversation date or walk with someone who inspires you. Always be humble and willing to learn. Ask as many questions as possible
  4. Follow your questions. If you see or hear about something interesting, don’t just let the moment pass. Follow up — pursue your curiosity and find the answer to your questions.
  5. Use a word-of-the-day app. You will increase your vocabulary, or even just sound more eloquent in daily interactions. You can also try to learn new vocabulary in a different language. Every day, try to add five to 10 more words to the foreign language you are trying to pursue. You can use LiveMocha, Basuu, or DuoLingo.
  6. Do something challenging. Every day, push yourself a little further. Try public speaking by joining a ToastMasters class, lead a meeting by volunteering a proposal at work, or reach out to someone you really admire by sending a quick letter or email.
  7. Explore new areas. If you can’t travel every day, at least try to find something new where you live. You’ll meet different people, learn new facts, and understand something new about the world around you. Getting out of the house will broaden your horizons.

Father God, help me to never be satisfied with what I know but to continue to learn and explore because all that knowledge will help me continue to grow and mature.

[i] http://www.businessinsider.com/daily-habits-to-be-smarter-2015-5

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And the child Samuel grew in stature, and in favor both with the LORD and men. 1 Samuel 2:26 (NKJV)

Today we continue on the 25 responses to the question “What would you do to be a little smarter every single day?” and which were listed by Jenna Goudreau, in the Business Insider.[i]

  1. Check in with your favorite knowledge sources. Take time every day to scroll through sites like Quora, specialty blogs, or any other sources that satiate your hunger for knowledge.
  2. Share what you learn with other people. When you can explain ideas to someone else, it means you have more than a passing acquaintance with a concept.
  3. Make two “To Do” lists: one of work-related skills you want to learn now, and another of things you want to achieve in the future. Start by prioritizing the “to learn now” list and begin with one item on that list at a time. At the same time, prioritize the “future” list and research what it would take for you to achieve the items on it.
  4. Write an “I Did” list. At the end of each day, write down what you completed or check off the items in a to do list you had made. This will help you feel better about all the things you accomplished, especially if you’re feeling discouraged. It will also help you reflect on how productive you were and how you can re-structure your to-do lists for the next day.
  5. Start a “Stop Doing” list. Take note of the mindless ways you spend your time. Break old habits, and make time for new, better ones.
  6. Write down what you learn. You can start a blog or use an app like Inkpad to help you keep track of everything you learn. Not only will this be a great way to keep a record of everything you’re doing, but it’s also a good way to refer back to things you have learned. It is also a good motivator to challenge yourself daily.
  7. Stimulate your mind. Going on a daily walk or run is a great way to get fresh blood and oxygen flowing to your brain and to keep your mental health in shape. It’s also a great way to think through difficult decisions or process new information.

Father God, help me to exercise my brain daily, starting right now.

[i] http://www.businessinsider.com/daily-habits-to-be-smarter-2015-5

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Get smarter every day – 1

And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him. Luke 2:40 (NKJV)

Jenna Goudreau, writing for the Business Insider[i] says that is a response to the question, “What would you do to be a little smarter every single day?”, readers shared the following twenty-five habits they follow to fuel their brains:

  1. Come up with 10 ideas every day on anything from how to reduce poverty to solving a daily problem, or the plot for a book. This is one way to exercise the “brain muscle” regularly.
  2. Read the newspaper, which will help you become more aware of the important things happening around the word and by which you will learn to form your own opinions and connect the dots between seemingly unrelated things.
  3. Play devil’s advocate. A more modern expression is to “think outside the box” Take something you recently learned and generate an alternate, maybe even unique opinion, on it that wouldn’t immediately come to mind. Try to support it with evidence, and be open to the idea that new evidence will change your opinion.
  4. Read a chapter in a book. Aim to read a book a week. You can always find blocks of time to read, whether on your daily commute or while you’re waiting in line. You don’t have to carry a book everywhere if you download free books to your cell phone.
  5. Instead of watching TV, watch educational videos. Sometimes, it’s more fun to watch things about a subject you love than to read about it, and you can learn a lot from other people’s experiences. One great resource is the TED talks or the Youtube channel SmarterEveryDay.
  6. Subscribe to feeds of interesting information. You could subscribe to interesting pages on Facebook or Twitter feeds or follow email newsletters, such as Cal Newport’s Study Hacks and Today I Found Out.

Keep exercising your brain to keep it healthy and strong.

Father God, you gave us such wonderful brains!  Please help me to find ways to exercise my mind and keep my brain  occupied in good things so that it will be healthy and strong.

[i] http://www.businessinsider.com/daily-habits-to-be-smarter-2015-5

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Too much too late

For the culmination of all things is near. So be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of prayer. (1 Peter 4:7 NET)


Neuroscientist Dr. Frances Jensen[i] reflects on teenagers’ access to constant stimuli.  As she explains, we, as humans, are built to seek novelty and want to acquire new stimuli. When you think about it, social media provides a wealth of new stimuli that you can access at all times. The problem with teenagers is that because their frontal lobe is not completely developed yet they may not have the sufficient judgment to know when to stop. They don’t have the wisdom to decide which sites not to visit or which information they should not absorb. They are unaware of when to supervise themselves.

In addition, Jensen recommends teenagers should not be allowed to have their cellphones at night.  It may be challenging to enforce it, but there are very good reason for doing so.  When they’re trying to go to sleep they have this powerfully alluring opportunity to network socially or be stimulated by a computer or a cellphone which ends up disrupting their sleep patterns.  In addition, it’s not a good idea to have multiple channels of stimulation while you’re trying to study and memorize information for a test the next day.

You also need to consider that the artificial light of the cell phone or other device can affect their brain by decreasing some chemicals in your brain that help promote sleep, such as melatonin, Some studies show that reading books with a regular warm light doesn’t disrupt sleep to the extent that using a Kindle does.

You should have a conversation with your teen and suggest that they don’t go under the sheets and have their cellphone on and be tweeting people late at night and right before they go to sleep.  Their body, specially their brain, needs all the rest and rebuilding sleep it can have to rebuild it’s strength for the next day’s activities and to ensure they make the best and wisest decisions during these years of their life.


Father God, give me wisdom as I try to help my child control the amount and the time when they use the technological devices available to them so their brain and their entire body will get the rest they need.

[i] http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2015/01/28/381622350/why-teens-are-impulsive-addiction-prone-and-should-protect-their-brains?lang=en&utm_campaign=10today&flab_cell_id=2&flab_experiment_id=19&uid=19455910&utm_content=article&utm_source=email&part=s1&utm_medium=10today.0129&position=7&china_variant=False

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