Everything we crave in our material lives, can be found in our spiritual lives- without any of the nasty side effects. This story by CNN highlights this point. So take time to develop a daily spiritual life. The rewards never end. Give thanks daily, give of yourself in service or sacrifice daily, and pray daily.
By Jacqueline Howard, CNN
Updated 4:39 PM ET, Tue November 29, 2016
act like love and drugs
Now, a new study shows through functional MRI scans that such religious and spiritual experiences can be rewarding to your brain.
They activate the same reward systems between your ears as do feelings of love, being moved by music and even doing drugs, according to the study, which was published in the journal Social Neuroscience on Tuesday."These are areas of the brain that seem like they should be involved in religious and spiritual experience. But yet, religious neuroscience is such a young field -- and there are very few studies -- and ours was the first study that showed activation of the nucleus accumbens, an area of the brain that processes reward," said Dr. Jeffrey Anderson, a neuroradiologist at the University of Utah and lead author of the study.
"Billions of people make important decisions in life based on spiritual and religious feelings and experiences. It's one of the most powerful influences on our social behavior," he said. "Yet we know so little about what actually happens in the brain during these experiences. It's just a critical question that needs more study."Mulling over Mormon MRIs
For the study, 19 devout young adult Mormons had their brains scanned in fMRI machines while they completed various tasks.
The tasks included resting for six minutes, watching a six-minute church announcement about membership and financial reports, reading quotations from religious leaders for eight minutes, engaging in prayer for six minutes, reading scripture for eight minutes, and watching videos of religious speeches, renderings of biblical scenes and church member testimonials.
During the tasks, participants were asked to indicate when they were experiencing spiritual feelings.
As the researchers analyzed the fMRI scans taken of the participants, they took a close look at the degree of spiritual feelings each person reported and then which brain regions were simultaneously activated.
The researchers found that certain brain regions consistently lit up when the participants reported spiritual feelings.
The brain regions included the nucleus accumbens, which is associated with reward; frontal attentional, which is associated with focused attention; and ventromedial prefrontal cortical loci, associated with moral reasoning, Anderson said.