Written By Dr. Caroline Leaf:
Pushing through hard times or challenging situations is not always what we want to do. And I am not just talking about toxic thinking and emotional situations, but also about learning situations in school, university or corporate environments.
We all know the Bible rightly exhorts us to “keep on keeping on” through “hell and high water”, as the saying goes. Well, as someone who is passionate about the Bible, Quantum Physics and Neuroscience, I like to show people how God has designed us to be able to do the things He wisely advises us to do – one of which is pushing through, or scientifically “targeting the struggle”. Our brains are equipped for this exact thing, it’s part of our design!
Pushing yourself to face up to a challenge, and to choose to go just beyond that difficult circumstance where you have to really apply yourself in focused ways, increases your brain power. As you make mistakes, acknowledge and learn from them; getting up and trying again enables you to increase your intelligence, happiness and sense of achievement. In fact, slowing down, acknowledging and correcting your errors activates the circuits in and around the basal ganglia of your brain to go in to high learning and neuroprotective mode. So, when we think deeply and consult with the Holy Spirit, we direct our attention differently. We develop the correct attitude to the events and circumstances of life. This reflects as healthy integration in our brain networks and manifests as increased mental health and wisdom.
Effortless performance is not a desirable way to learn and grow as a person in all areas. Things that are obstacles turn out to be desirable in the long run – especially when we reach out to God! Memories (thoughts) are living structures of infinite size and the more we generate impulses through deep Godly thinking, the more mental health we build. We build particularly good mentally healthy memories when we learn from our mistakes! Developing a growth mindset is about focusing on the process – the experience – as well the outcome. Setbacks are opportunities to gain information and learn!