Something Has to Change: Episode 28

Meggan Stephens

7/10/20246 min read

low light stage microphone photography
low light stage microphone photography

Take One, Pass it Down

If we're being honest, we can admit that much of what we've learned has been passed down to us from other people, i.e., parents, grandparents, former teachers, and if you're a church attendee, pastors. Our understanding of God, self, life, and the way in which we should eat, think, sleep, and live is shaped by our environment, by those who've gone through life ahead of us. But what happens when what has been passed down is incorrect? What happens when we've taken everything we've heard as truth without question or further investigation?

Stephen shares an example given by a video he recently viewed. Basically, a group of people were playing a game, similar to telephone but instead of passing down a word or phrase, one person started with a particular movement. The movement was illustrated to the next person in line, then the next, so on and so forth until the end of the line. By the time the last person in line was shown the move, it had completely changed from the original movement. We could say the same is true with theology and information in general.

Because so much of what we've been taught has been handed down, it's likely we've taken on many practices without rhyme or reason as to why, solely because our parents or grandparents did them. It's likely we believe what we believe because that's just how we were raised; it's what we were taught. As mentioned in previous podcast episodes, it's important to question your habits, practices, ways of thinking, and ultimately your beliefs. The reality is that some of these habits and beliefs are negatively affecting your brain, increasing your likelihood of developing sickness and mental illnesses, more lovingly referred to by Dr. Amen as brain health problems.

Brain Health

Just at the blood contains life, so does the brain. The brain is headquarters; it holds the mind. It can be seen as the control panel for everything your body does from thinking and feeling, to learning and remembering, to walking and talking. It is responsible for all of the automatic things your body does daily without you having to remember to do them such as breathing, temperature control, regulating organ function, and the beating of your heart that pumps the blood through your veins. Your brain is a vital organ that needs just as much care as the rest of your body. The problem is you can't see it, so you're unable to determine whether it is in good health or bad health. However, there are other symptoms that can give you a clue as to how well your brain is functioning.

Things That Affect the Brain

We live in a world plagued with disease and illness. The most common illness is that of the mind, a mental health disorder, with anxiety being the number one mental illness in the world. Most people believe that mental illnesses cannot be cured, only treated. However, according to Dr. Amen, a mental illness is simply a brain health problem, and problems are meant to be solved. You just have to seek out the solution.

When the brain is not receiving the care that it needs to function properly, it presents its cry for help in many forms including fatigue, anxiety, depression, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder), ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), IED (Intermittent Explosive Disorder), and countless other ways. These feelings and disorders are a result of multiple factors that negatively impact the brain such as automatic negative thoughts (ANT), toxins, unnecessary weight, high impact sports like football and soccer, alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, sugar, caffeine, excessive screen time, orange juice, and a sedentary lifestyle. All of these factors restrict essential blood flow to the brain. Bad gum health and loneliness also contribute to poor brain health and can lead to the development of depression and dementia.

Toxins are everywhere and in just about everything from what we eat, to what we wear, to the things we put on our skin. In fact, there are certain toxins we ingest that the body is unable to break down and the body stores it in our fat cells, causing weight gain. As your weight increases, your brain size and functionality decrease. That alone can be enough to scare the obesity off of anyone. Our foods and drinks are not only full of toxic chemicals and pesticides, but also ridiculous amounts of added sugars and preservatives. If we're going to achieve a healthy brain, we have to start with how we eat. A healthy brain will undoubtedly lead to a healthy mind and body.

Things to Increase Blood Flow to the Brain

As we age, the blood flow to our brains slowly begins to decrease. This is why high percentages of men over forty suffer with erectile dysfunction. A decreased blood flow in one part of the body is a major indicator of decreased blood flow in other parts of the body. It's important to increase the blood flow to the brain if you want to experience optimum physical and mental health.

You can begin to increase the blood flow to the brain by developing a healthier diet full of brain fueling foods such as fatty fish, cruciferous vegetables, and adding things such as rosemary, cinnamon, beets, and oregano to your recipes. Blueberries and avocados are also in the "brain food" category as they contain powerful cell regeneration nutrients and can improve mental clarity. You can also research the benefits of adding a ginkgo supplement to your daily vitamin routine. According to Dr. Amen, of the brains he scanned, those who regularly took ginkgo had healthier brains than those who did not.

A sedentary lifestyle is highly damaging to both brain and mitochondrial health. The cells in our body need a boost and they get that boost by your muscle contraction. With majority of the population working behind a desk for eight or more hours a day, the likelihood of walking and exercise is slim. The nutrition expert, Dr. Casey Means, suggests getting up and walking around every 20-30 minutes throughout your day. Getting 7,000-10,000 steps a day has proven to be highly beneficial for both brain and physical health. Exercise not only increases blood flow to the brain, but aids in mental clarity, weight loss and management, better sleep, improved mood, stress management and more. It's also not as hard as you think, just get up and move.

Something Has to Change

The "something" that has to change is how we treat our brains. I believe we all would like to live long, healthy, happy lives. Yet, we often make choices to opt for things that are bad for our brains rather than those things that are good for it. If you love life and you love your brain, choose the things that bring health to both. A healthy brain will produce longevity of life.

Taking your health into your own hands can be difficult and overwhelming, but you're worthy of whatever you can believe. Believe you're worthy of optimal physical, mental, and spiritual health. Prayer along the way is important, but also remember that prayer alone will not solve all of your health problems. Healing your body and your brain begins with what you put in your mouth. Food has power. After all, the very first sin was committed by eating a forbidden food that led to death. However, with knowledge, you can begin to use food for you rather than against you. Don't let your choice of food lead you to an early grave, and as always, don't quit on yourself.

Stephen suggests downloading the app "Think Dirty" in order to test your everyday foods and hygiene products for high toxicity levels. He also suggests having some tests done in order to find out exactly where you are in your journey to physical health. Those tests include: glycemic profile, hormone panel, and methylation tests. There are also some genes you can have tested such as: MTHER (mind & gut), MTRR (upper gut), MTR (lower gut), AHCY (mind), and COMT (mind). Knowing the results of these tests can help you determine where to start as well as keep track of your progress as you journey to a healthier you.

Major Takeaway: Live a life that benefits your brain.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that one out of every four people universally will experience a form of mental illness at some point in their lifetime. That number is around 4.5 billion people which is nearly the entire population of China. With numbers this high, you can't help but wonder why? What is causing the continual rise in diminishing mental health throughout the world?

Stephen, the host of Contemporary Speaks believes it must have something to do with the brain itself. Agreeing with Dr. Daniel Amen, a renowned brain expert and child psychologist, Stephen dedicates Episode 28 of Something Has to Change solely to the topic of brain health. If we can learn and implement the things that are good for our brains, perhaps we can embark on physical and mental health like we've never before experienced.

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Watch the full episode