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I'm a 54 year old Husband, Father of Four Daughters, Pastor and Vice Principal of a private K-12 school on Long Island.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Exercise for the Mind

I was watching the Public Broadcasting Network's showing of "The Brain Fitness Program". The Brain Fitness Program explores the brain’s amazing ability to change throughout a person’s life. This phenomenon—called neuroplasticity—is the science behind brain fitness, and it has been called one of the most extraordinary scientific discoveries of the 20th century.

I was fascinated about the topic as I have spent over 20 years in education. As an educator I am aware that with the proper motivation, discipline and materials you can maximize your mental potential. Like a muscle, the brain will change and adapt to stress exerted and become stronger, quicker and clearer.

While this show's intent is to ultimately sell the program, the show is well worth the watch as it has some important and interesting discoveries and research on the subject of keeping our mind in top condition. One of the recommended books is "The Brain that Changes Itself" by Norman Doidge, M.D., a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, researcher, author, essayist and poet. He is on the Research Faculty at the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, in New York, and the University of Toronto’s Department of Psychiatry.

According to Dr. Doidge's book the brain is a dynamic, living organ that can actually change its own structure and function, even into old age. Arguably the most important breakthrough in neuroscience since scientists first sketched out the brain’s basic anatomy, this revolutionary discovery, called neuroplasticity, promises to overthrow the centuries-old notion that the brain is fixed and unchanging. The brain is not, as was thought, like a machine, or “hardwired” like a computer. Neuroplasticity not only gives hope to those with mental limitations, or what was thought to be incurable brain damage, but expands our understanding of the healthy brain and the resilience of human nature.

The book is filled with case histories detailing the astonishing progress of people whose conditions had long been dismissed as hopeless. We see a woman born with half a brain that rewired itself to work as a whole, a woman labeled retarded who cured her deficits with brain exercises and now cures those of others, blind people learning to see, learning disorders cured, IQs raised, aging brains rejuvenated, painful phantom limbs erased, stroke patients recovering their faculties, children with cerebral palsy learning to move more gracefully, entrenched depression and anxiety disappearing, and lifelong character traits altered.

Another book using these principles is "Balance Your Body, Balance Your Life: Total Health Rejuvenation" by Edward A.Taub, M.D. In this book, Dr. Taub, a board-certified pediatrician and family doctor for more than 30 years, makes total health rejuvenation a very reachable and rewarding goal for anyone, at any stage of life, with his revolutionary approach to nutrition, exercise, and spiritual well-being. Shattering the food myths that perpetuate poor health and obesity, this pioneer of Integrative Medicine and his groundbreaking program Balance Your Body, Balance Your Life introduce the world of wholesome and living foods.

While I underscore the importance of Complete Wholeness and Integrative Medicine I rely and trust in The Father, Son and Holy Spirit for my ultimate well being. I believe in applying yourself to be the best you can be but as a Christian I must totally depend on Christ for my life. Health is not an end in itself neither is balance. It just helps our efficiency so we can be ready and fit for the Lord's use.

As you study these ground breaking discoveries be careful not to embrace the doctrine of humanism or another false doctrine in any form. We can sometimes can lose site of the goal of wellness while chasing after it. The Bible says that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. It says to renew our minds with the washing of the Word of God. It says to test the spirits to see if they are from God.

So, stay healthy in Body, Mind and Spirit. Feed them well. Take care of them. Exercise them. And with God's divine grace and guidance you will achieve your greatest impact on this world and live a full and meaningful life.

Grace and Peace,

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