Christian Mind

Practicing Gratitude: Grateful Heart, Grateful Life

By Diane Scallon

Did you know that practicing gratitude can rewire your brain? Yes, the brain, this amazing creation of God, can be rewired! Gratitude is a heart change that leads to behavioral change, ultimately improving your physical, mental, and spiritual health and even cultivating a delight for life.

A Neuroscience Lesson

Our brains are composed of many parts. The limbic system is responsible for our emotions. It consists of both the amygdala (looks like an almond) and the hippocampus (looks like a seahorse). Both of these regulate emotions, as well as other things like memory and body function. In addition to these beautiful parts of our brains working together on our emotions, the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin play vital roles as well. For example, when these are released, we tend to feel joyful. This happens both when we are practicing gratitude and receiving gratitude.

Let’s talk for a moment about the brain healing itself, a phenomenon called neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity—essentially, the brain’s ability to rewire itself by forming new neural connections—is involved when someone has to create new ways of functioning due to a brain injury or another health issue. The brain learns! When we practice gratitude, we train our brains to make new neural connections, leading to physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits.

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January 6, 2021: Lessons Learned?

Even at our best, we humans often botch the job of identifying what’s true and right. The important thing is to recognize what went wrong, learn the lessons, and aim to do better.

If I could gather every American who self-identifies as conservative and deliver one message to them right now, that would probably be the bottom line: Face the facts of January 6 and start identifying how to do better and be better.

Facing Up

There’s much we still don’t know about what went wrong leading up to, and on, January 6, 2021. But many points are already known. Here’s a baker’s dozen.

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Whataboutism Is a Mark of Foolishness

"The Capitol insurrection was horrifying enough as a spectacle of foolishness and symbol of civilizational decay. But another horrifying exhibit of foolishness has been the reactions to the event on social media. Namely, the widespread deployment of one of the laziest tactics to hit rhetoric since the ad hominem: whataboutism." - TGC

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Let Us Reason Together

For those who hoped that our experience of living in times of crisis might end with 2020, I do not need to tell you that your hopes have already been dashed.

We might consider the string of crises that date back to last March as separate events, or we might think of them as one multi-faceted whole. We might also discuss those who appear to have engineered them, manipulated them or benefited from them.

But one thing is for sure: We are living in a time of national crisis, and our way of life has been altered—likely forever—in ways that we could not have imagined 12 months ago.

The latest round of crisis erupted before us on Wednesday, as a day that many anticipated would bring high political drama somehow escalated into life-and-death chaos through an unprecedented assault on the United States Capitol building.

We who are only able to watch these events from afar wonder how many of them are largely gamesmanship—distractions to take our eyes off of the Great Reset that world leaders promise, beginning this month; or whether the promised reset itself is merely political theater.

It is very difficult to know what to say about any of these issues. First of all, do any of us have enough of the facts to say anything meaningful at all? Secondly, what might we say that cannot be disproven—or, at least, found to be obsolete—by the time it is posted? And what is there to be said, really, that has not been said a million times already?

Ah, there is the point!

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“Since the question of falsifiability has cross-disciplinary value, it is a question that we should ask not only of our theological opinions, but also our political and medical and economic opinions”

"This brings me to another question of discernment, viz., the question of falsifiability, or, 'What would it take to change my mind?'" - Snoeberger

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Disagreement Fatigue and 2020: How the Events of the Year Will Shape Christian Interactions in 2021 and Beyond

"...it’s been a devastating year of conflict. And we’re all tired from it. But I’ve noticed a concerning pattern of response to perceived conflict in recent weeks, particularly on social media: Fatigue has led many Christians to avoid any kind of disagreement." - Natahsa Crain

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