Mindfulness Links

There are a ton of resources out there regarding mindfulness, here are a few:

Mindfulness – What is it? Does it really work? – Lifehacker

Mindfulness Helps Undergraduates Stay On Track – Science Daily

Mindfulness Stops Negativity From Sticking To You Like Glue – Huffington Post

Mindfulness: 6 Steps to Better Memory, Verbal Reasoning and Improved Concentration – PsyBlog
Mindfulness:living in the moment– Visual.ly

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for bipolar disorder: a feasibility trial  – PsyDir





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Are you in touch with your emotions?

Did you know that just maintaining a sad face drags you down? Your mind and body both are negatively by the a frown. The idea of “fake it until you make it” is more than cliche. Science backs it.

First, let’s examine the benefits of smiling. Did you know that smiling lowers your heart rate? Also
Neurotransmitters called endorphins are released when you smile. These make us feel happy.
It’s not easy to keep smiling in stressful situations, but studies report that doing exactly that has health benefits. When recovering from a stressful situation, study participants who were smiling had lower heart rates than those with a neutral facial expression.

A smile also makes one more attractive, easy going, and empathetic. In fact, a study in the European Journal of Social Psychology found that smiling actually makes you more attractive to those you smile at. A study found that smiling can make you more comfortable in situations you would otherwise feel awkward in.

Smiling even makes your immune system stronger by making your body produce white blood cells to help fight illnesses. One study found that hospitalized children who were visited by story-tellers and puppeteers who made them smile and laugh had higher white blood cell counts than those children who weren’t visited.

Studies have found that people are more willing to engage socially with others who are smiling. A smile and all the positive emotions associated with it are contagious. University of Pittsburgh study concluded that people who smiled were considered “more trustworthy” than people with non-smiling facial expressions.

Laughing too has a ton of scientific benefits. Levels of stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine tend to decrease during bouts of laughter. Laughter is used to reduce stress, relieve pain and boost immunological responses by doctors and therapists.  Laughter has been shown to lower or balance blood pressure and increase vascular blood flow. Laughing 100 times is equivalent to 10 minutes on a rowing machine or 15 minutes on the stationary bicycle. Similar to smiling, laughing also increases endrophines in the body and also makes a person more pleasant to be around.

 Laughter is relaxing to our bodies and muscles. In one study, students who watched a funny video in their classroom responded with lower levels of aggression in tense situations.
Negative emotions are bad for body. Science is beginning to confirm what certain wise men have said at different points in history. King David said, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Prov. 17:22. Your mind and mental state can have a profound affect on your physical body, your spiritual experience, and your over-all quality of life. The mind, the body, and the spirit are all inextricably interconnected. When one is affected, the other two suffer.
Here is another interesting point. When you are stressed do you clench your right hand or left hand? Assuming you  are right handed, you probably clench your right hand. This is normal, new there is stress, the body gets more tense. A long clench on the right hand or many through-out the day, though could suggest too much stress.If you notice that you do this. Try something else: Try your left hand when you are stressed out. Some athletes may improve their performance under pressure simply by squeezing a ball or clenching their left hand before competition to activate certain parts of the brain, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association. Dogs do this too with their tails. When dogs are anxious they wag their tag from right to left, but when they are happy they wag their tail from  left to right! 
I leave you with one activity for you. Try this experiment, place a weight on a string and then hold your hand steady while holding the string and letting the weight drop. See how long you can hold it still and steady. Next, think about moving the string clockwise but do not do it, only think about it. Slowly the weight will move clockwise. Now, think about it moving in a counter-clockwise direction but do not actually initiate your muscles…slowly the weight will change directions!
This is an amazing proof that our mind and emotions do really strongly effect the rest of our body, if the science was not enough for you!

Felt needs and anti-intellectualism

Today’s Church are basing preaching on felt needs. This helpful to an extent but it is lacking and inadequate. Here are some reasons why:

1. It does reach out to people who are out of touch with their feelings. (Some Men for example.) This is one reason why church are crowded with women right now and lacking in men. But there is a place for men in the Gospel.

2. It invites an easy out response to the Gospel, “Sorry, I don’t have a need at this time.” People never responded to Paul this way. He did not preach felt needs, instead he based teaching on the fact of the Gospel which is reasonably and true to believe. He reasoned with people intelligently in order to persuade them to believe in Christ Jesus. Everybody has a need for a true and reasonable Gospel.

This felt needs Gospel let’s people off the hook, leaving them saying, “Well that is fine for you, if that works for you” And it is leading society to a relativistic mindset.

I can relate to the ideas of JP Moreland. I graduated with my B.A. in psychology. I wanted to help people. But as I learned about psychology, I was turned away by how humanistic and secular the ideas were. All of it was about felt needs and telling people what they wanted to hear. I knew there was something more. The answers, most of the time, was not in emotions, but in the Word of God and in a deeper study of the Word with the mind.

anti-intellectualism in the church

In the book, Love Your God With All Your Mind, J.P. Moreland writes that the growing anti-intellectualism in the church has resulted in the marginalization of Christianity in society and the emergence of the most secular culture the world has ever seen. The real problem for us shows up when tough times hit and our house-of-cards belief system tumbles down because we’re used to “putting our hands together” but not our heads.

Some theories why this is happening:

Christians are reading less, in general. Busy doing life. More time on internet. More time pursuing selfish ambitions.

One of the main reasons. Christians are reading less Bible! Without the Bible, Christians are not loving God with all their mind. They are not able to be ready at any moment to give a defense in what they believe.

The average reading level in America and the church is general is going down.

What do you think?