The work of Dr. Caroline Leaf, a Christian neuroscientist, helps us understand how to overcome toxic patterns of thought.
Thought patterns have a physical basis in the brain
Every you believe creates a stronghold in your thinking. This includes the lies you lies believed as a Mormon. These strongholds of thought are not just spiritual, but physical. For example, if you’re a smoker, your brain has been physically re-wired to constantly desire a cigarette. Dendrites are parts of nerve cells – in the brain and nervous system – that transmit neurological symbols. Your brain build dendrites that reinforce your habitual patterns of thinking. That’s why quitting smoking is so hard. You have to train your dendrites to go in a different direction.
Thinking can be retrained according to truth
What retrains our thinking? What renews our mind? Truth. Old, toxic thinking must be replaced with truth. That truth comes in the Bible. To overcome toxic thinking, you have to read the Bible over and over. It helps to memorize it – over and over. Music has tremendous power to help truth reshape our thoughts. That why the Bible set to music is so powerful.
We each have to engage in an ongoing sorting process, in order to grasp key concepts like grace. We have to consciously say NO to certain ideas, and to deliberately say YES to the truth alternative. Toxic thinking is so rooted in us that it will likely to take a while to retrain your brain. Be patient. Be repetitive with truth. Don’t give up. Of course God can heal or transform someone in an instant. But when you work over time to change your thinking, you learn so much more. Then you have something to offer to others.