Some interesting research has been done recently on how spirituality can affect the brain and vice versa. A lot of research has been done on the frontal cortex, the rational part of the brain, and the Amygdala, the “fear center” of the brain associated with emotions. However, new research is coming out about the Anterior Cingulate, as it is related to spirituality. The development of the Anterior Cingulate can help balance the basic emotions of the Amygdala, and the raw logic of the Frontal Cortex.
When we approach God from a place of only emotion, whether that be fear or joy, the emotion does not last, it shifts and changes causing distress in personal faith. If our faith in God is only based on logic, it lacks the passion and sense of belonging to get us through the hard times. However, if we find a balance between the two we will come to a greater understanding of The God of Knowledge who is also the God of Love, as well us come to a place of greater compassion for others. How do we develop this part of the brain? Prayer, meditation, and faith-based singing. Research showed that if children/youth engage in those three things the Anterior Cingulate can grow by over 50%! I encourage all of you to continue in prayer, practice meditation, and keep listening and singing along to those old hymns, spirituals, or modern worship songs.