The Power of Rumination: Good or Bad

Rumination is a process of thinking on something repeatedly or in deep contemplation. The brain is an amazing organ, and like the rest of our body, it has an innate ability to heal itself. Functional brain scans have revealed that negative rumination can actually hurt the brain. People who focus on negative things about life, and or themselves, have an increase in amygdala activity where fearful thoughts. are generated. Fearful or even angry rumination releases negative neurotransmitters that have a negative effect on the brain and the body. The wonderful thing is that a person can choose what they ruminate on. Choosing to think positive faith-based thoughts actually improve health and strengthen neurological circuits. Studies have shown that mediating on love strengthens areas of the brain that increase our compacity to express compassion towards others. (Newburg et al, 2010). 1 John 4:16 tells us that God is love. Focusing on God’s love for us is key to a healthy mind and body. In contrast, religious practices that focus on fear may actually hurt the anterior cingulate area of the brain, and cause people to be less compassionate and more aggressive towards others (Newburg et al, 2010). 1 John 4:18 states that this is no fear in love but perfect love (God’s love) drives fear out because fear has to do with punishment. In Christ, the believer is free from punishment and adopted as a child of God. Focusing on God’s love revealed through His son, will set the believer free from condemnation and fear. The fear of the Lord is a worshipful fear of admiration and awe. He is all powerful. He is all light and there is no darkness within Him. In Him is life more abundantly. Meditation (selective attention) is a powerful tool to help heal the brain. Studies have revealed that the daily practice of meditation helps improve working memory (Newburg et al, 2010). Furthermore, mediation increases IL-10 an anti-inflammatory cytokine and decreases inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF alpha. Inflammation is at the root of all illness so mediation has health benefits. Fearful meditation, or evil foreboding, releases stress neurotransmitters involved in the flight or fight response. These stress neurotransmitters increase cortisol. A chronic state of flight or fight response causes chronic elevations in cortisol that can increase weight gain and suppress the immune system. A suppressed immune system makes us more susceptible to illness. High cortisol levels have a negative affect on DHEA which is important for the productions of hormones and immune function.

Our thoughts have power. We can choose life producing thoughts or thoughts that will bring death. Mediation was always God’s plan for us to live life to the fullest. Scripture tells us to take wrong thoughts captive and to think on things above. In other words, we must choose to think Kingdom thoughts. God’s thoughts are good towards His children. He has great plans His children. The problem is that people do not understand how much God’s loves them. Religion makes God out to be angry and just waiting to punish all humanity. Religion tells people you have to follow all the rules or you will be punished. The truth is that in Christ, we are made righteous not based on works or following rules ,but by faith in Jesus Christ. It His love for us and His grace that empower us to desire to know Him and to follow his ways. We love Him because He first loved us. Jesus came to save the world not condemn it.

What are you ruminating on today? Is it bringing life to you or death? Start today ruminating on God’s love for you. It will heal your mind and bring health to your body. Think life and speak life! Right believing about God and who you are in Him will bring such peace and joy!

1 John 4:16 (The Message) This is how we know we’re living steadily and deeply in him, and he in us: He’s given us life from his life, from his very own Spirit. Also, we’ve seen for ourselves and continue to state openly that the Father sent his Son as Savior of the world. Everyone who confesses that Jesus is God’s Son participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God. We know it so well, we’ve embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God.

1 John 4:16 (NKJV) And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

Reference

Newberg, A. B., & Mark Robert Waldman. (2010). How God changes your brain : breakthrough findings from a leading neuroscientist. Ballantine Books Trade Paperbacks.