Divine Design: Neuroplasticity

In recent decades, neuroscientists discovered something they call neuroplasticity. It means that your brain is like plastic; neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to change and rewire itself. Our brains aren’t fixed. Our reactions, behaviors, and struggles aren’t forever unchangeable. Anxiety can be changed by our ability to rewire the brain.

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Anxiety is ultimately about trying to protect ourselves from the things that we think are threatening our well-being. Ask yourself, what seems to be threatening your well-being? Specifically, what triggers anxiety? Think about that for a moment. Is it the amount of work you have to do, a situation with a friend, or wondering what others think of you? Ultimately, anxiety isn’t your problem—it’s your solution to try to find safety, avoid rejection or failure, to protect yourself.

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Our brains are wired to help us survive and to protect us. Fear and anxiety are ways our brains seek to spare us from heartbreak or tragedy, or loss. We are created to experience safety. If we’re not experiencing safety, our brains will keep reacting, bringing on anxiety to motivate us to find a solution repeatedly. This leads to fixed neural pathways in our brains reacting to life.

But that’s not the end of the story; there is great news. Just like God designed our physical bodies to heal when we get a scrape, He designed our souls and our minds to heal as well. The brain can be rewired, and anxiety can be overcome.

That’s one reason the Bible says in Romans 12:2 to “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind”. In the same way that repeated decisions lead to fixed neurological pathways, when we choose new responses, calm our minds and bodies and take steps to heal, we can create new pathways.

We do not have to stay stuck dwelling on our worries. One way to not stay or get stuck is we can present our concerns to God and occupy our mind with truth. Over time, we can experience peace instead of anxiety. An additional way is to  do self-care and self-massage daily to reduce tension and muscle knots.