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Faith rites boost brains, even for atheists: book

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posted on Aug, 18 2009 @ 09:41 PM
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www.reuters.com...





PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Buddhist monks and Catholic nuns boost their brain power through meditation and prayer, but even atheists can enjoy the mental benefits that believers derive from faith, according to a popular neuroscience author.

The key, Andrew Newberg argues in his new book "How God Changes Your Brain," lies in the concentrating and calming effects that meditation or intense prayer have inside our heads.

Brain scanners show that intense meditation alters our gray matter, strengthening regions that focus the mind and foster compassion while calming those linked to fear and anger.

Whether the meditator believes in the supernatural or is an atheist repeating a mantra, he says, the outcome can be the same - a growth in the compassion that virtually every religion teaches and a decline in negative feelings and emotions.



I have been meditating/chanting a mantra for a long time and I do feel calm and compassionate. Not to say that I still don't have my moments of anger and many other negative emotions but I feel that without my rituals; I would be in the loony bin.

I have also found that self hypnosis can be an aid in dealing with negative emotions.




posted on Aug, 18 2009 @ 10:18 PM
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reply to post by whaaa
 


No offense, but an hour a day with your hands clasped around a book, rather in prayer, will do more to improve your cognitive faculties. Though I suppose you could read a bible also if you so wanted, but not all will agree on the level of benefit you would gain.

Solving arithmetic problems regularly and learning/practicing a musical instrument are powerful brain boosters as well. However, musical training is most effective when learned early while the brain is still growing.

So this has nothing to do with god favoring the faithful, and it's not a unique property to prayer. However, yes, there are several studies which show real beneficial and therapeutic effects to deep meditation/prayer.

PubMed: Reading and Solving arithmetic problems boosts cognitive functions.

PubMed: The underlying anatomical correlates of long-term meditation: Larger hippocampal and frontal volumes of gray matter.

[edit on 18-8-2009 by Lasheic]

[edit on 18-8-2009 by Lasheic]



posted on Aug, 18 2009 @ 10:23 PM
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Originally posted by whaaa
......I have been meditating/chanting a mantra for a long time and I do feel calm and compassionate. ......




whaaa, it is good to see a thread from you long-time-ats-er!!!!


OT's glad you have found solace...


Here's a great book on the healing of "damaged" emotions... www.amazon.com...


Hope all is well!

= = = =



posted on Aug, 18 2009 @ 10:25 PM
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reply to post by Lasheic
 


Lasheic??????

The last time i saw you, you were accusing some newbie of being me....I just stumpled on it, did you ever respond?


Are you glad whaaa, is doing well?

OT



posted on Aug, 18 2009 @ 10:52 PM
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reply to post by OldThinker
 


Thanks OT. My favorite style of ritual/meditation involves standing knee deep in a stream or river with a flyrod in my hands.



posted on Aug, 18 2009 @ 11:09 PM
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Originally posted by whaaa
reply to post by OldThinker
 


Thanks OT. My favorite style of ritual/meditation involves standing knee deep in a stream or river with a flyrod in my hands.







don't get me started.....


went to lake pyratuning (sp?) on the border of PA and Ohio last weekend, with some boys that worked for me at FMC, back in the day....didn't catch a thing but a bud light



And sleeping on the ground hurt this ole guy bad.....



posted on Aug, 19 2009 @ 02:59 AM
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reply to post by whaaa
 

So this is one of those self-cancelling effects, is it? Prayer and ritual make us smarter, to the point where we lose faith in them? Study of religiosity vs. intelligence.

Discussed on ATS here, though with frequent derailments.



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