November - From the Director's Desk

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:4-7 NIV)

This is a very packed scripture. I could write pages on this, but I just want to highlight the wordthanksgiving.St. Paul did not say “by prayer and petition present your request to God.” He says “with thanksgiving.” When you commune with Him,with thanksgiving, that’s when you experience the peace of God – the peace of God that guards your hearts and your minds, which we all need, especially in this day and age.

Multiple neuroscience studies, all peer reviewed and critically appraised, show the biochemical changes that happen in the brain when we practice gratitude and thanksgiving. It literally changes our biology.

Like any habit, when you stimulate the neural circuits of gratitude more and more, they become stronger and more automatic. It also expands to include more brain areas. We call that neuroplasticity. That specific neural circuit opens up for hormones to cycle throughout your body that can improve mental function, physical function such as sleep, and even improve physical activity. All from gratitude and thanksgiving!

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Yes, sometimes it’s hard to hear from someone, “Hey, be thankful” when that person does not really know what you are going through. But God does, and when He says give thanks, it is literally God’s will for us to have peace and joy and health all through meeting God with a thankful heart.

So today I encourage you to give thanks, no matter the circumstances. Even when it’s hard, soon it will form a habit, and it will just be ingrained in your biology.

The British poet William Wordsworth once said: “Your mind is the garden; your thoughts are the seeds. The harvest can either be flowers or weeds.” Now, it is up to you. Choose thankfulness.

This month’s From the Director comes to us from downtown member Gaddiel Reyes, a husband and father, Navy veteran, and aspiring physical therapist. He also serves on the Advisory Council for the Bear Levin Studer Y.

Our Mission: To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.