“According to Dr. Earl Henslin, author of This is Your Brain on Joy, the emotions of joy and anxiety travel the same pathway in the brain.”
The quote stopped me short. I allowed the statement the sink in a moment before continuing.
“This means that if you choose joy, there is literally no room for worry in your brain. You’ve kicked it out.”
Amazing. I’ve often noticed how praise lifts my mood. But, I’d never realized that there is an actual physiological reason for the adjustment. Anxiety cannot reach your brain when you resolve to choose joy. God knows our body, not just our mind and directs us to dwell on the things that are true, honorable, right pure, lovely attractive, excellent and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8).
This summer we boarded a train in Colorado. Originally, commissioned to haul goods to remote mining locations, this cog locomotive traveled deep into the Rocky Mountains on a single track. Because the train was built initially to haul goods, only one engineinitially traversed the track. No switches were needed, since no others were in existence.
Maybe God designed only one pathway to our brain knowing that we should only use it to haul joy. Anxiety wouldn’t need it’s own track, He must have reasoned, as we would have no need to transport it. Instead, His Word reminds us at least 365 times to “fear not”: more than enough times for every day of the year.
As we enter the Thanksgiving season, let’s resolve to derail anxiety from stealing the joy of the season. Instead, let’s keep our mind filled up with praise. Granted, worry will lie all along the track divert our thoughts (Genesis 4:7), but let’s remain diligent to “take every thought captive” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
“Father, thank You for giving my mind a singular pathway to joy. May I be diligent to keep it clear of debris, pushing aside any anxiety that would slow me down. Please direct my ministering angel to remind me of this daily. Have him put it on his to-do list. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”