Book Review – Magnificent Mind At Any Age by Dr. Daniel Amen

magnificent-mind_packageI read the book, Magnificent Mind At Any Age by Dr. Daniel Amen, a year or so ago, but return to it frequently to validate what I think I remember. It is a wealth of information on how the brain functions and how we can either care for it and enjoy the benefits or pretend we have no control over it and reap the consequences. He says it’s important to acquire skills for living life to the fullest and that ‘natural supplements, diet, exercise, and thinking strategies’ are vitally important to our brain’s health and our over all well being.

Dr. Amen, a clinical neuroscientist and psychiatrist began establishing clinics in 1989 “specializing in innovative diagnosis and treatment planning for a wide variety of behavior, emotional and cognitive problems for children, teenagers and adults.” What sets his clinics apart is their extensive research. “His clinics have the world’s largest database of brain images related to behavior.” He is recognized world wide as a leading authority and has authored numerous books.

Amen’s work has shed light on many misconceptions of ‘modern’ psychology. For many years doctors and therapists have promoted the idea that we are not in control of our emotions or, we can’t help how we feel. He has proven that feelings and emotions are the direct result of what we choose to think. Because we do have control of what we think, it follows that we are also responsible for our feelings. I find it interesting that the proverb, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he,” has been proven true with the latest scientific research!

For more about Dr. Amen’s findings and how they relate to coaching, sign up for my newsletter and see the article: “What Makes Change So Hard? Scientifically Speaking – Our Brains!” contact me on face book, or email me at [email protected] if you’d like to receive it.

His you tube videos are a bit dry but worth watching if you’re into this stuff.

The Work it Took #9 Tim & Tina’s Turnaround

we've come a long wayAfter 6 months of Tim & Tina were beginning to have trouble knowing what else they wanted to change. We began a session by recounting the work they had done so far. Their marriage was all but over when we began, but with work, these things had changed:

  • Mutual respect when communicating – being as polite with each other as with a friend
  • Communicating in general – recognizing old patterns quickly and stopping them, keeping the dust devils from turning into tornadoes
  • Forgiveness for wounds from the past
  • The ability to shift the focus from negative to positive
  • Non sexual affection
  • Verbalizing admiration and appreciation
  • Reviving Intimacy
  • Recognizing triggers and being respectful
  • Allowing the other to have their own emotions without taking them on personally
  • Planning ahead for stressful situations
  • Parenting
  • The desire to have a legacy of a good marriage
  • Keeping God’s truths at the center of the relationship

After talking about how far they’d come, Tim confessed, “I have some forgiving to do as well. It’s frustrating that Tina has lost faith in my words but I know I caused a lot of pain in our relationship which caused her to act in certain ways. I have to forgive you Tina for holding onto that pain too long and I have to forgive me – that’s even harder. I want this marriage more than anything else in life but it’s caused more pain than anything. I want nothing more than to give. I’ve felt convicted of my own part in this and I realize it takes action and it takes time. Maybe most importantly, it takes consistency on my part. That’s what I want to be about.”

It was nice for Tina to be able to be the support person. She was ecstatic to see his determination and commitment to be faithful to the work of creating a great marriage. They were both aware that the work would never end, but it was getting much easier. It was a work they were beginning to enjoy. It seemed so good! Tina certainly wasn’t prepared for the big let down that was about to drop.

Words Can Hurt But You Are Stronger #2

strong-armI ended my last post by saying, “Understanding the power I have to control which words I allow to affect me has been intriguing, freeing and empowering, both in the spiritual sense and in the physical sense.”  Oh to be free from the power of unkind words!  The great news is that once we deeply desire and long to rise above their power – we can!”

Living in the power of the Spirit means different things to different people.  To many the greatest power the Spirit offers is the expectation of the miraculous. I am not at all discounting this, however, if we fail to aknowleget the power of the Spirit in our daily lives we’ve missed out in a big way!  “Peace I leave with you.”  This is a gift!  A gift to be used and appreciated daily. Speaking of miraculous…. to actually receive that gift – a life of peace – would it not be miraculous for most of us? Sadly most refuse to accept it, choosing to dwell more often on Words That Hurt than on words with healing power. Yes, it takes effort. Nurturing and developing our gifts does take effort. . . I’m thinking about the really cool iPad accessories I got at Christmas that I opened, but have failed to learn how to use (sorry guys.) Funny thing is, they would be useful and appreciated if I put in the effort to learn how to use them.  

So we’ve been given this gift – peace.  Do we make use of it, appreciating what it can do for us? Or do we allow hurtful words that were said once to replay in our minds and hurt us a million times?

In the physical realm, I love the study of the brain.  Dr. Daniel Amen has  has proven that “negative thinking actually shuts down the coordination of our brain.”  Inferring that when we choose to dwell on hurtful words we cannot live out the potential we have.  That is quite sobering! You may have seen Dr. Amen on PBS or read some of his work.  He has all kinds of tips for fighting off hurtful words.  One that is easy to put into practice is “…bring your attention to the things you are grateful for in your life, your brain actually works better.”  This doctor actually looks at people’s brains and has done the research to substantiate this claim. Hmmm… “give thanks in all circumstances” seems like I’ve heard that somewhere before.  And to think… it’s for our own good!

If you have tips that help you fight off hurtful words, please share.  Your journey may help someone.

Words Can Hurt But You Are Stronger! #1

strong-armEven the strongest characters, occasionally have their hearts wounded by words that come at them like flaming arrows.  How is it that some seem to deflect these flaming arrows, on a regular basis, virtually unscathed while others seem to be shaped by them?

A popular theory is that if parents, teachers and friends are affirming and positive that a child, when grown, will be a strong, healthy individual with great self-esteem. In a way, I wish that were true, but it only takes a minute to think of people I know personally who have overcome a terrible childhood and because of it, are now armed with a shield that protects their heart. And then there are others, like me, who came to depend on those affirming words heard as a child in order to feel good about themselves and be strong in this world but ….when the apron strings were cut, I wasn’t so strong.  Certainly every child deserves to have adoring parents and granted, it does affect a child positively, but there are no guarantees as to how a a person will survive once in the real world.

I guess it’s best that way. It keeps us all in the same boat with equal opportunity to grow into the strength intended for each of us.  So how do we do that? The strength of the Spirit within each of us is the same, yet some of us hold onto this weakness with a mighty grip quenching what the Spirit in us longs to give. Why not let go of that grip and be free?

Just imagine wearing a shield that could deflect flaming arrows. Now imagine those arrows as carrying words that have hurt you – and still do hurt you.  Wouldn’t it be cool to have protection from them? What if the only words that could penetrate the shield were words of truth? Truth, truth and nothing but the truth.

Yeah, I admit sometimes the truth hurts too – but those are the words I want to embrace, even if they hurt.  Maybe I need to do something with them – like ask for forgiveness – or take action so they are not true any longer or just learn how think about them productively.  Where the truth gives life – embracing lies can be deadly. Hurtful words are most often lies and lies, when believed, can be deadly.  It’s truth that makes us light in the world. It’s truth that sets us free. Understanding the power I have to control which words I allow to affect me has been intriguing, freeing and empowering, both in the spiritual sense and in the physical sense.  Oh, it’s good to be free from the power of unkind words!

Desiring Growth?

Some say that the desire for growth is always rooted in dissatisfaction, I beg to differ. I may be odd, but dissatisfaction rarely inspires me. Initially I feel a bit down, negative and stuck, whereas contentment gives me freedom. I realize that I’m not stuck! Unhindered by negativity, I have the clear frame of mind to look at all the options, think out of my box without pressure, and remember to keep my eyes open for new ideas and possibilities   Dissatisfaction blinds me.

growthDesiring growth is a human phenomenon.  Throughout childhood we look forward to the next phase of life marking milestones and marking walls by the quarter inch.  Once our full stature is reached we continue to look ahead still marking milestones with graduations, marriage, children, careers and accomplishing goals – until we stop, or die.

When I believe dissatisfaction is a good foundation for growth I tend to focus on the negative and that leads me in a path I’d rather not travel. Often the first negative thought is not nearly as bleak as the next, nor that one as hopeless as the one that follows – it’s a downward spiral. Worse yet, dissatisfaction wells up in me a need to blame.  Blaming myself doesn’t help me any more than blaming you or even the circumstances.

Desiring growth, movement or change is not a choice – we are human – it is what we do. Cultivating contentment is a choice that God intends for us to make. When we choose to be grateful and live with a real sense of peace, our eyes are unveiled to possibilities that are veiled when we are dissatisfied.  Untainted by negativity we make healthy, wise decisions and fulfill the longing that never dies – growth.

Besides all that, contentment is way more fun!!  Not to mention the fact that we are called to be content.  We know God doesn’t intend for us to stagnate so I’m quite certain he wouldn’t call us to contentment if that is where it led.  Wanna grow?  Try contentment.  I’ve been so very blessed when that is the choice I’ve made.