From the Pastor
Like all fields of knowledge, psychology is bursting with new findings on several frontiers. One of those is neuroscience (understanding how the brain and its chemistry works).
One recent finding has to do with emotions. Emotions are a cluster of chemical reactions taking place in our body. So feeling threatened releases chemicals in our amygdala (a part of the brain). Dopamine is a chemical related to happiness, oxytocin has to do emotional bonding, and so on.
Here is a new finding: Whatever situation you encounter, and whatever chemical reaction it triggers, that initial state lasts only 4-7 seconds. Put another way, whatever chemicals have been released in your body, be they dopamine or oxytocin or who knows what, within seven seconds your body has reabsorbed those molecules.
That raises a fascinating question. How is it then that the feeling of being hurt, or angry, or mad can last so long? For the intensity of feeling to last, it must be reinforced. We replay the experience that led to us being hurt in our minds, and another burst of the relevant chemicals is released. Isn’t that fascinating?
Now, this could lead to a simplistic analysis: All I need to do is choose not to think about something and my negative feelings will go away.
We are more complex than that.
Yet Scripture encourages us to think about constructive things. “..Meditate on God’s word day and night…” (Psalm 1:2); talk about it with your family when you sit at home..” (Deut 6:7); “give thanks in all circumstances..” (1 Thess 5:18a); “whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable – think about such things.” (Phil 4:8).
Keep in step with (and feed) the Spirit, rather than a self-serving one.