TEACHING OUR BRAINS TO PARTNER WITH HOW WE PERCEIVE REWARD

PART 2

Written by JEANNENE S. for Who’s Teaching the Babies?®

I love praise and worship! Whether in the midst of community or in the privacy of my own car, there’s nothing like pouring your heart out to God and reminding yourself of His goodness, why you love Him, and how much He loves you. However, I have had those moments when I’m worshipping from the depths of my heart and I hear inside myself, “Do you really mean that? Do you really understand the words you are singing, and do you really believe them?” I find those times to be moments where true transformation happens inside of me—I am not just singing what I know in my head, but I begin to sing from a place of seeing and understanding, with a motivation to make it real in my heart and life. Somehow, these moments in worship hold the opportunity to do that…

In Part 1, of “Teaching Our Brains to Partner with How We Perceive Reward,” we discovered how our perception of the Word of God as either a reward or simply a method, affects our faith in our Heavenly Father’s character and His Word. This perception of reward is not only directly related to our faith, but it also affects how our bodies—our brains—experience our speaking of the Word. If our brains perceive and anticipate a reward through the speaking of the Word, they will experience a reward through the reward center of the brain, and this will prove to motivate our future choices. We know that keeping God’s ways and loving His Truth is a benefit to the maturing of our spirits and healing of our souls, but God has also given us a grace for our brains to be a help and not a hindrance in this process He designed. Here, our experience and transformation is body, soul, and spirit. Since motivation is sometimes all that stands in the way of our persevering in Truth, how great it is that we have an advantage in our bodies to become motivated for good!

The Scientific, Medical, and Educational communities have learned the benefits of partnering with this reward center of the brain for the benefits of: learning, motivation, and healing, to name a few. If the brain understands that the choices being made (and what the body is about to experience) is beneficial or a reward, it will release dopamine in the reward center of the brain so that the person not only experiences reward, but is motivated to seek more of that reward.[1] One such way that has been discovered to activate these areas of the brain is through music. On his website, BrainBased Jensen Learning, Eric Jensen, PhD, describes this process, where music in a learning setting causes a release of dopamine in the brain leading to positive feelings about learning.[2] He explains that this is important because of the effect it has on long term memory and its contribution to a love of learning.[3] “How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103). So, what is being taught and made available to learn is not only palatable, but also desirable! Since true learning and application involves the process of change and transformation, how much more can we receive and be motivated towards that transformation when we associate it with reward? It’s no wonder that praise and worship have the power to transform us body, soul, and spirit.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16).

Listen to a Sample

by Who's Teaching the Babies?® | Identity Statements with Background Music

[1] Nestler Laboratory. “Brain Reward Pathways.” Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Neuroscience Department Laboratories, https://neuroscience.mssm.edu/nestler/brainRewardpathways.html. Accessed 6 Sept. 2016.

[2] Jensen, Eric, PhD. “Music Tickles the Reward Centers in the Brain.” BrainBased Jensen Learning. https://www.jensenlearning.com/news/music-tickles-the-reward-centers-in-the-brain/brain-based-learning. Accessed 6 Sept. 2016.

[3] Jensen, Eric, PhD. “Music Tickles the Reward Centers in the Brain.” BrainBased Jensen Learning. https://www.jensenlearning.com/news/music-tickles-the-reward-centers-in-the-brain/brain-based-learning. Accessed 6 Sept. 2016.

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Identity Statements

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