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The Soul's Dwelling Place: The Brain

Father Charles Ara said, “The brain is the violin and the soul is the violinist. They both need to work together in order to make beautiful music.”

The word “soul”, as translated from Old Testament Hebrew, means “all of your thoughts, feelings, personality characteristics, self, desires, and passions.” We feel our soul and share it in our connection with others in our day to day life.

William Shakespeare said, “The brain is the soul’s fragile dwelling place.” There is now evidence that this statement is quite true. Dr. Daniel Amen has performed thousands of SPECT scans revealing a brain-soul connection. The scans reveal that those who have healthy brains are compassionate, loving, thoughtful, goal-directed, and relaxed. Those we find impulsive, tense, angry, unfeeling, and unfocused are likely to be struggling with an unhealthy and/or injured brain. Peace with ourselves and God rest on the cornerstone of good brain health. (p. 6).

Interestingly, there is a brain-soul feedback loop that is quite powerful and impacts brain function and the condition of your soul. A healthy soul is imperative to excellent brain function and a healthy brain is required for the health and well-being of your soul. An injured or unhealthy brain does not run smoothly, and as a consequence, keeping your soul on track is likely to become challenging. This connection is enmeshed in all that we do. Understanding and appreciating this connection allows for an expanded knowledge of our own personal achievements and short-comings.

A spiritual connection to the divine has a healing influence on brain function and performance. When we have spiritual purpose and allow it to be our guiding light it augments the brain and our every day life becomes full and we are better able to understand and appreciate the value and worth of all life.

A Quick Primer on the Brain

The brain has billions of neurons (nerve cells) and each neuron talks with other neurons through synapses where neurotransmitters move across very small gaps that measure only at 0.02-0.05 microns. The brain contains more connections than there are stars in the heavens.

The adult brain weighs close to three pounds and consumes 20 to 30 percent of the body’s energy.

The brain is divided into lobes and is generally viewed as the back half and the front half. The back half of the brain is made up of the parietal (sensory cortex), occipital (visual), and back half of temporal lobes and does the work of discerning the world. The front half of the brain assimilates data that is incoming with past experience, plans future actions and administrates behavior. The frontal lobes are concerned with memory and processing what you see and hear.

Peering into the Soul (via the Brain)

Dr. Amen uses SPECT technology to study the brain. SPECT stands for single photon emission computerized tomography and is a complex nuclear medicine study that views brain blood flow and metabolism. When Dr. Amen studies a SPECT scan he pays close attention to three areas: 1. where the brain work well 2. where the brain works too hard 3. where the brain is not working hard enough. Interestingly, all brains do not look the same as there are variations among them. A healthy brain will show good, full, even, symmetrical activity. A healthy brain works in a balanced manner where all major areas work together.

Is the Brain Wired for God?

There are particular areas within the brain that can be “turned on” to create or enhance spiritual experience. Neurologists have known that there are patients with temporal-lobe epilepsy who often report spiritual experiences, are often preoccupied with religious issues, and tend to be obsessed with matters of the spirit. (p. 28) In 1997, a team of scientists (led by Dr. Vilayanur Ramachandran) at the University of California, San Diego, studied what they believed was the discovery of a “God module” in the brain. They believed this “God module” may be responsible for the innate instinct to believe in God. They were able to study epileptics who had deeply spiritual experiences. This group of scientists found a circuit of nerves in the temporal lobes that became electrically active when the patients thought about God. The primary results revealed that spirituality/God/the Divine could be “hard-wired’ into the brain. The scientists concluded that a seizure leads to an overstimulation of the nerves in the “God module”; illuminating the fact that our brain does contain neural machinery in the temporal lobes. Dr. Ramachandran continued studies in this area and learned that the deeply religious (without epilepsy) presented with a similar response (as epileptics) in the temporary lobes when shown words that invoke spiritual belief. If the “God module” exists, it hints that those who are atheists may have neural circuits in the temporal lobe that differs in design. (p. 29) I believe that God created us to connect with him; and therefore, did wire our brains to experience a Divine presence.

Andrew Newberg, at the University of Pennsylvania, used SPECT studies to view the brain during meditation. Meditation was chosen to study because it is a spiritual state that can be easily duplicated in a lab setting. Newberg scanned the brains of Buddhist monks during prolonged meditation. The images disclosed unique changes in the activity of the brain as the mind of the monk arrived at a meditative state. Notable was the fact that activity decreased in the parts of the brain that were involved in producing a sense of three-dimensional orientation in space. When we lose a sense of place and it likely leads to a spiritual feeling of release into a place beyond space and time. This implies that a fundamental aspect of a spiritual experience of transcendence may be hard-wired in the brain. (p. 30)

The Prefrontal Cortex aka The Contemplative, Benevolent Brain

This is the CEO of the mind and is responsible for human success! It is referred to as the executive of the brain because of its involvement in planning, forethought, judgement, organization and impulse control. Also, the PFC acts as the in-house supervisor that guides, directs, focuses and controls our thoughts and behaviors. Our conscience, sense of right and wrong, and free will abide primarily in this are of the brain. The PFC is the most developed area of the brain and accounts for nearly all of the front 30% of our brain. The PFC is involved in communicating emotions; like joy, love, sadness and happiness.

Positive Prefrontal Cortex Characteristics:

  • Compassionate and empathic

  • Thoughtful and forward thinking

  • Learns from mistakes

  • Follows through on commitments

  • Ability to express yourself clearly

  • Ability to be still and pay attention to others

  • On time

  • Fully able to exercise free will

It is important to have a healthy Prefrontal Cortex so that you can perform in an honorable manner by allowing your soul to continue on a noble path. A healthy prefrontal cortex allows the soul to experience spiritual and emotional progress. This is the guiding light that leads you to find and follow through on what is worthwhile in your life.

Prefrontal Cortex questionnaire/checklist:

Rate yourself on each of the characteristics listed below, using the scale below.

0=never 1=rarely 2=occasionally 3=frequently 4=very frequently NA=not applicable

  1. Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes.

  2. Trouble sustaining attention in routine situations (homework, chores, paperwork).

  3. Trouble listening.

  4. Fails to finish things.

  5. Poor organization for time or space (such as backpack, briefcase, room, desk, etc.).

  6. Avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort.

  7. Loses things.

  8. Forgetful.

  9. Easily distracted.

  10. Poor planning skills.

  11. Lacks clear goals or forward thinking.

  12. Difficulty expressing feelings.

  13. Difficulty expressing empathy for others.

  14. Excessive daydreaming.

  15. Feeling bored.

  16. Feeling apathetic or unmotivated.

  17. Feeling tired, sluggish, or slow moving.

  18. Feeling spacey or “in a fog”.

  19. Fidgety, restless, or trouble sitting still.

  20. Difficulty remaining seated in situations where remain seated is expected.

  21. Runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate.

  22. Difficulty playing quietly.

  23. “On the go” or acts as if “driven by a motor”.

  24. Talks excessively.

  25. Blurts out answers before questions have been completed.

  26. Difficulty awaiting turn.

  27. Interrupts or intrudes on others (butts into conversations).

  28. Impulsive (saying or doing thongs without thinking first).

Answer key: Add up the number of answers that were scored as 3 or 4 to determine if you are experiencing Prefrontal Cortex dysfunction.

Highly probable 8 questions with 3 or 4

Probable 6 questions with 3 or 4

May be possible 4 questions with 3 or 4

If your score indicates problems in the PFC there are many things you can do to improve this area of the brain. Dysfunction here is often associated with ADD, brain trauma, or toxic exposure. ADD is frequently divided into 2 major types: ADD with hyperactivity and impulsivity (Type 1) and ADD without hyperactivity and impulsivity (Type 2). Nutritional intervention is very helpful for this area of the brain. A high quality protein diet is recommended and includes consuming foods like lean meats, eggs, nuts, beans. Eat in combination with organic vegetables. Nutritional supplements to consider include: L-tyrosine (500 mg-1,500mg 2 to 3 times a day) to help increase the neurotransmitter dopamine and blood flow in the brain (leads to better energy, focus and impulse control). Exercise is also beneficial as it boosts blood flow to this area of the brain.

The Anterior Cingulate Gyrus and Basal Ganglia aka the Adaptable, Growth-Oriented Brain

The anterior cingulate gyrus and the basal ganglia are two highly integral areas of the brain that play a role in feeling settled, relaxed, open-minded and flexible. The anterior cingulate gyrus and the basal ganglia are involved in allowing you to see the choices in your life. When these two parts of the brain are healthy, they make it easy for you to operate in a cooperative manner by strengthening the emotional and spiritual connection with others. When the basal ganglia and the anterior cingulate gyrus are working well they allow us the opportunity to forgive others.

Positive Anterior Cingulate and Basal Ganglia Characteristics:

  • Ability to deal with conflict

  • Good motivation

  • Ability to see things from another’s perspective

  • Good at collaboration

  • Feeling physically relaxed

  • Ability to go with the flow

Anterior Cingulate Gyrus Questionnaire/Checklist:

Rate yourself on each of the characteristics listed below, using the scale below.

0=never 1=rarely 2=occasionally 3=frequently 4=very frequently NA=not applicable

  1. Excessive or senseless worrying.

  2. Upset when things do not go your way.

  3. Upset when things are out of place.

  4. Tendency to be oppositional or argumentative.

  5. Tendency to have repetitive negative thoughts.

  6. Tendency toward compulsive behaviors.

  7. Intense dislike for change.

  8. Tendency to hold grudges.

  9. Trouble shifting attention from subject to subject.

  10. Trouble shifting behavior from task to task.

  11. Difficulties seeing options in situations.

  12. Tendency to hold on to own opinion and not listen to others.

  13. Tendency to get locked into a course of action, whether or not it is good.

  14. Needing to have things done a certain way or you become very upset.

  15. Others complain that you worry too much.

  16. Tend to say no without first thinking about the question.

  17. Tendency to predict fear.

Answer key: Add up the number of answers that were scored as 3 or 4 to determine if you are experiencing Anterior Cingulate hyperactivity.

Highly probable 10 questions with 3 or 4

Probable 7 questions with 3 or 4

May be possible 4 questions with 3 or 4

If you have just learned that you are struggling with anterior cingulate hyperactivity, then you may be dealing with a deficiency in the neurotransmitter, serotonin; leading to difficulty with shifting attention from thought to thought and possibly feeling “stuck” on a particular thought or behavior. This part of the brain is associated with worrying, moodiness, emotional rigidity, and irritability. It is helpful to increase serotonin levels; and, there are 2 ways to do that. Start by increasing L-tryptophan levels (natural amino acid building block for serotonin) in the blood by eating foods rich in tryptophan (chicken, turkey, salmon, beef, peanut butter, eggs, green peas). Also, consider taking nutritional supplements, such as St. John’s wort (best at increasing serotonin in the brain) with 300 mg a day for children, 300 mg twice a day for teens, 600 mg AM and PM for adults, and be certain the bottle states 0.3 % hypericin, L-Tryptophan (1,000-3,000 mg at bedtime), and 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan which is 5 to10 times more powerful than tryptophan alone) to be taken at 50-300 mg a day for adults and half that a dose for children.

Basal Ganglia Questionnaire/Checklist:

Rate yourself on each of the characteristics listed below, using the scale below.

0=never 1=rarely 2=occasionally 3=frequently 4=very frequently NA=not applicable

  1. Panic attacks.

  2. Symptoms of heightened muscle tension (headaches, sore muscles, hand tremor).

  3. Periods of heart pounding, rapid heart rate, or chest pain.

  4. Periods of trouble breathing or feeling smothered.

  5. Periods of feeling dizzy, faint, or unsteady on your feet.

  6. Periods of nausea or abdominal upset.

  7. Periods of sweating, hot or cold flashes.

  8. Tendency to predict the worst.

  9. Fear of dying or doing something crazy.

  10. Avoids places for fear of having an anxiety attack.

  11. Conflict avoidance.

  12. Excessive fear of being judges or scrutinized by others.

  13. Persistent phobias.

  14. Low motivation.

  15. Excessive motivation.

  16. Tics (motor or vocal).

  17. Poor handwriting.

  18. Quick startle.

  19. Tendency to freeze in anxiety-provoking situations.

  20. Lacks confidence in their abilities.

  21. Seems shy or timid.

  22. Easily embarrassed.

  23. Sensitive to criticism.

  24. Bites fingernails or picks skin.

Answer key: Add up the number of answers that were scored as 3 or 4 to determine if you are experiencing Basal Ganglia hyperactivity.

Highly probable 10 questions with 3 or 4

Probable 7 questions with 3 or 4

May be possible 4 questions with 3 or 4

The basal ganglia is a large body of structures toward the middle of the brain and is involved with integrating feelings, thoughts and movement, and helping to shift smooth motor behavior. The BG is involved with setting the body’s idle or anxiety level. Nutrition plays a valuable role for this area of the brain. A balanced diet is key when dealing with characteristics (from checklist above) that indicate your basal ganglia is overactive. It’s imperative you not allow yourself to become hungry and/or experience hypoglycemic episodes, as this leads to worsening of anxiety. If your basal ganglia activity is low (low motivation), consider consuming a diet that is high in quality protein (organic grass fed beef, wild caught fish, beans, nuts, seeds, free range chicken and eggs), and low in carbohydrates. This type of nutritional plan should improve your energy during the day. It would be valuable to minimize caffeine intake and alcohol consumption. Supplements and herbal preparation that are often helping for this part of the brain includes Kava extract and valerian root, as they have been found to help anxiety and calm the BG. The B vitamins, especially B6 (dose at 100-400 milligrams) are helpful. When taking B6 at these doses, also take a B complex vitamin. The essential oils chamomile and lavender can also be helpful.

The Anterior Cingulate Gyrus and Basal Ganglia:

There are two highly interconnected parts of the brain that help you feel settled, relaxed, open-minded, and flexible; the anterior cingulate gyrus, which runs lengthwise through the deep regions of the frontal lobes, and the basal ganglia which are two large structures deep within the brain. When these two parts of the brain work well together, you tend to shift into more cooperative behavior, it allows one to experience emotional growth and see different options and to be able to forgive the mistakes of others. When these areas of the brain do not work well, people tend to hold grudges, get stuck in negative patterns, and it can lead to problems with addiction (substance abuse, sexual or gambling).

We all desire the opportunity to experience emotional and spiritual growth which helps our soul to work right. Being connected to others is essential because we need to give and receive love in order to feel complete. When the anterior cingulate gyrus and basal ganglia work well, we are able to be flexible, forgive past wrongs, and open ourselves to growth in new ways. It’s valuable to be able to enjoy emotional and spiritual growth and this leads to worthwhile soul experiences. A healthy and functional ACG and BG leads to the fundamental need to associate and relate to those souls around us. Giving and receiving love leads to feeling complete and is food for the soul. Healthy functional relationships are good for the ACG and BG; and, when they work well, we are better able to forgive and able to participate in spiritual growth. Sadly, when these areas of the brain are unhealthy and dysfunctional, it can lead to isolation, leaving us feeling disconnected from the things that give our lives meaning.

Deep Limbic System Questionnaire/Checklist:

Rate yourself on each of the characteristics listed below, using the scale below.

0=never 1=rarely 2=occasionally 3=frequently 4=very frequently NA=not applicable

  1. Frequent feelings of sadness.

  2. Moodiness.

  3. Negativity.

  4. Low energy.

  5. Irritability.

  6. Decreased interest in others.

  7. Decreased interest in things that are usually fun and pleasurable.

  8. Feelings of hopelessness about the future.

  9. Feelings of helplessness or powerlessness.

  10. Feeling dissatisfied or bored.

  11. Excessive guilt.

  12. Suicidal feelings.

  13. Crying spells.

  14. Lowered interest in things usually considered fun.

  15. Sleep changes (too much or too little).

  16. Appetite changes (too much or too little).

  17. Chronic low self-esteem.

  18. Negative sensitivity to smell/odors.

  19. Frequent feelings of nervousness or anxiety.

Answer key: Add up the number of answers that were scored as 3 or 4 to determine if you are experiencing Deep Limbic hyperactivity.

Highly probable 10 questions with 3 or 4

Probable 7 questions with 3 or 4

May be possible 4 questions with 3 or 4

The Deep limbic system lies near the center of the brain and is about the size of a walnut. This is the area of the brain that sets your emotional tone (how positive or negative you are), it affects motivation and drive, gets you moving in the morning, and aids in keeping you going throughout the day. The deep limbic system is responsible for the sleep and appetite cycles of the body. It influences the bonding mechanism that allows you to relate with others on a social level. Mood problems are prevalent when this area of the brain is overactive. Diagnoses include manic-depressive disorder, clinical depression, and severe PMS. These types of disorders are above and beyond the occasional bad mood everyone experiences.

Excellent nutrition is always imperative for good brain function and is valuable in healing and maintaining your deep limbic system. Getting quality fats is important for optimal brain function and getting enough Omega-3 fatty acids is essential. The cornerstone of deep limbic system nutrition is high quality protein because they are the building blocks of neurotransmitters. Low levels of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine (neurotransmitters) are all suspected in mood disorders and depression. It is vital that you consume enough high quality protein (in balance with good fats and carbs) to give the body the building blocks it needs to create these neurotransmitters.

If you are experiencing low serotonin levels you may find yourself dealing with worrying, moodiness, emotional rigidity and irritability. To improve serotonin levels, consume balanced meals/snacks and include an exercise regimen to your daily routine. Consider supplementing with Inositol (recommended dose is 12-20 milligrams/day), which is from the Vitamin B family, and has been shown to be effective in decreasing moodiness and depression. Consider St. John’s wort when needing a mild antidepressant, as it has been shown to be effective in decreasing anterior cingulate and limbic hyperactivity.

If you are experiencing depression, negativity, lethargy, trouble focusing, and mental fuzziness, you may have low dopamine or norepinephrine levels. Increasing levels of these neurotransmitters requires a nutritional plan that includes protein and the avoidance of simple carbohydrates (pasta, breads, cakes, candy). It is also recommended that you supplement with tyrosine at 1,000 to 1,500 milligrams a day. Some find that SAMe helps with deep limbic system issues because it is involved in the production of neurotransmitters. The amino acid methionine makes SAMe; however, this mechanism has been found to be impaired in those that deal with depression. SAMe can be a very helpful element for those who experience depression, fibromyalgia, and chronic muscle pain. If you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder or manic-depressive disorder do not take SAMe. In fact, it is best to take this supplement only under the supervision of a qualified healthcare practitioner.

Temporal Lobe Questionnaire/Checklist:

Rate yourself on each of the characteristics listed below, using the scale below.

0=never 1=rarely 2=occasionally 3=frequently 4=very frequently NA=not applicable

  1. Short fuse or periods of extreme irritability.

  2. Periods of rage with little provocation.

  3. Often misinterprets comments as negative, when they are not.

  4. Irritability tends to build, then explodes, then recedes, followed by feeling tired after a rage.

  5. Periods of spaciness or confusion.

  6. Periods of panic and/or fear for no specific reason.

  7. Visual or auditory changes, such as seeing shadows or hearing muffled sounds.

  8. Frequent periods of deja vu (feelings of being somewhere you have never been).

  9. Sensitivity or mild paranoia.

  10. Headaches or abdominal pain of uncertain origin.

  11. History of a head injury or family history of violence or explosiveness.

  12. Dark thoughts, may involve suicidal or homicidal thoughts.

  13. Periods of forgetfulness or memory problems.

Answer key: Add up the number of answers that were scored as 3 or 4 to determine if you are experiencing Temporal Lobe dysfunction.

Highly probable 8 questions with 3 or 4

Probable 6 questions with 3 or 4

May be possible 4 questions with 3 or 4

Temporal lobe dysfunction is more prevalent than most realize. Temporal lobe dysfunction includes periods of time where one may experience panic/fear for unknown reasons, periods of spaciness/confusion, dark (homicidal or suicidal) thoughts, significant social miscuing or withdrawal, frequent periods of deja vu, irritability, rages and illusions (such as seeing shadows out of the corner of the eye). This types of dysfunction can be inherited or caused by a brain trauma/injury. Temporal lobe dysfunction calls for the amino acid gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is an essential neurotransmitter in the brain. GABA is created in the body using glutamic acid and its job is to decrease neuron activity and inhibit nerve cells from firing erratically. GABA can be taken as a supplement and has a calming effect on those who struggle with temper, irritability, and anxiety. The recommended dose of GABA ranges from 250 to 2,000 mg a day for adults and half that dosage for children. (p. 147)

The Temporal Lobes and Deep Limbic System aka The Spiritual and Heartfelt Brain

These areas of the brain are an indispensable part of the soul’s operating system; therefore, when these areas of the brain are healthy there is access to spiritual experiences. The temporal lobes can be found underneath the temples and behind the eyes; and together with the deep limbic system, work together to create the emotional aspects of your life. These areas work together to create the emotional brain; housing your enthusiasms, longings, and your perception of spirituality. It’s here we experience our emotional flame that feeds our bliss; however, when this burns out of control, it could spark dark thoughts, causing rage toward others or ourselves (suicide, violence, assault, murder, rape, arson and other criminal behaviors). So, when these two part of the brain are healthy and functional, we have the opportunity to enjoy a good memory, balanced emotions, a connection to spiritual experiences and the ability to manage our temper. Dysfunction in this area of the brain leads to poor memory, an absence of or detrimental spiritual experiences, mood swings and an out of control temper.

The dominant temporal lobe (usually on left side for right handed individuals) allows us to comprehend and process language and is responsible for the retrieval of words. The dominant temporal lobe is also involved with intuition and is associated with religious experiences. The non-dominant temporal lobe allows us to read facial expression and vocal intonation, and it processes rhythm and music.

Is it possible that the temporal lobes are God’s neural machinery for communicating with us? The answer is yes! The temporal lobes and deep limbic system are an amazing part of the soul’s operating system and are involved in spiritual experiences. When a person senses a closeness to God/Spiritual Divine it is because positive spiritual experiences are received and experienced by healthy, functional temporal lobes. Healthy temporal lobes and a deep limbic system allow you the opportunity to experience happiness, positivity , and a beautiful connection with others. Unfortunately, if these areas of the brain are unhealthy, it can fracture your connection to God/Divine and other loved ones in your life.

Creating Health and Wellness for the Hardware of the Soul aka the Brain

Living a good life that includes being connected to God/Spiritual Divine improves our brain. It’s important to practice living a good life. The following are some recommendations to create health and wellness for your brain while simultaneously improving your connection to the Divine.

Prayerful Brain Enhancement:

Prayer and meditative states improve brain health by teaching and showing us how to focus and quiet the mind and encourage mindful discipline. When the brain is left untrained and undisciplined it leads to the brain becoming restless. The mind requires guidance and training to be at its finest. Practicing and participating in daily prayer and meditation creates the ability for the brain to focus and strengthen. These activities encourage self-control via consistency and reiteration . Furthermore, it is likely that daily prayer and/or meditation strengthen new neural circuits; creating hope, clear moral directions, spiritual enlightenment and (best of all) optimal brain function. What does optimal brain function look like? A brain that is calmer, less anxious, more relaxed and more positive. Prayer and meditation rein in the mind and results in health and wellness for our souls and ultimately for our lives. (p. 200)

Consider practice the following to improve inner focus: (p. 201-203)

  1. Repeat an important, valued prayer over and over for several minutes. Some prayers to consider include the Rosary, the Lord’s Prayer, the Prayer of Saint Francis and the 23rd Psalm. Writing your own prayers or meditation is another beautiful option.

  2. Establish a routine. Pray or meditate at certain times each day. Create a ritual accompanied by an attitude of gratitude. Pray before bedtime or before a meal.

  3. Focus on a word or phrase and repeat it over and over. Focusing on one word to bring yourself into a meditative state.

  4. Focus on the people, events, and things you are grateful for each day. Consider keeping a Gratitude Journal. Think and/or meditate on the good things in your life. Training the mind to focus on gratitude will have a beautiful impact on your day to day life. According to Buddha, “We are what we think. All that we are arises from our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world. It is good to control them, and to master them brings happiness. But how subtle they are. How elusive! The task is to quiet them, and by ruling them find happiness.”

  5. Focus on warming your hands. By keeping your hands warm it allows the whole body to feel relaxed. Imagine you are holding your hands over a warm, cozy fire.

It is better to pardon. Not forget, but forgive. The Dalai Lama

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Matthew 5:7

The act of forgiving is sacred. Carrying a grudge and holding on to anger can cause damage to your body and soul. This type of pain will destroy your spirit and causes actual physical damage to your brain. Anger and resentment cause an increased production in cortisol (body’s stress hormone) and can impair the immune system and damage cells that are found in the memory centers of the brain. When cortisol levels are too high it leads to cognitive impairment. This is why learning to let go of past hurts and forgiving those that have caused you pain is imperative to brain wellness and overall health.

The brain is the soul’s fragile dwelling place. William Shakespeare

We must move forward and begin to appreciate the role the brain plays when it comes to the wellness of our soul; and, value the importance the connection our spiritual health has to the wellness of our brain. Ultimately, there really is no separation of the soul from the brain.


Amen, Daniel G. Healing the Hardware of the Soul: How Making the Brain-Soul Connection Can Optimize Your Life, Love, and Spiritual Growth. Free Press, 2002.

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