March 23, 2017

Study Shows Religious Retreats Change Chemicals in Your Brain

Well, here is something to think about, and something positive for a change. Scientists in the US found remarkable results when they studied the effects of attending a week-long retreat involving silent contemplation and prayer, as based on Christian meditation themes.

I had always liked the spiritual retreats that our family and church fellowship went to annually when we lived in Ukraine, and this study underscores that such retreats are not just spiritually helpful in learning and getting together with other Christians, but something powerful physically also happens to us that has a very positive effect on our sense of peace, our ability to receive new information, and a feeling of strong optimism and motivation. This is the first such study on religious retreats. The study is titled as follows:

"Effect of a one-week spiritual retreat on dopamine and serotonin transporter binding: a preliminary study"
The science behind the study relates mainly to the organic chemical dopamine, which has a number of functions. Dopamine is more than just the "reward chemical" - it plays at least three important roles as a neurotransmitter. The religious retreat study outline describes some of the positive effects of spiritual retreats:

"Dopamine participates in the mediation of cognition, emotion, and movement ...all of which are affected by spiritual retreats. Specifically, dopamine is involved in reward pathways by inducing positive emotions, motivation, and also improved cognitive abilities..."

One participant said: “The seven-day retreat I participated in was singularly transformative and helped me connect more easily to Spirit and re-connect to God,”

I for one would like to go on more spiritual retreats.
The study was published online: 22 Mar 2017 by the Jefferson-Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine in Philadelphia, PA.

The full report is at the following link:

Image CCO Public Domain by mccartyv.

Tags: positive news, first study on religious retreats, inspiring news,

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