Does praying work?
A fascinating article on the the power of prayer citing some of the amazing and inspiring work of Dr. Andrew Newberg on how praying changes the body and brain. Especially interesting is how prayer can be even more impactful on performance than meditation, mindfulness or visualization exercises alone. What do you believe? Is prayer a good way of getting into the zone, or finding your flow? Or, does praying REALLY tap into something bigger than the body, and give you access to divine guidance and support as well?
When believers pray, something happens in their brains that actually makes them better athletes.
Neuroscientist Andrew Newberg, director of research at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital’s Marcus Institute of Integrative Health, has spent a large portion of his career studying the effects of religious faith on our mental hardware. “When you pray, it changes your brain,” he says.
In his research, Newberg found that prayer allowed his subjects to more quickly and efficiently achieve flow, that coveted state of mind most commonly described as being “in the zone.” During flow, a cascade of neurochemicals descend into the brain, including dopamine (which regulates pleasure), serotonin (which reduces stress), and norepinephrine (which activates the fight-or-flight response). The brain also undergoes electrical changes.