The Nun Study
In the last couple of posts, I have mentioned the famous Nun Study. This has really peaked my curiosity and desire to find out all I could. David Snowdon spent many years following this group of aging nuns to better understand why some of the sisters were able to age gracefully, retaining their mental faculties, and others were not. He has written a book: Aging with Grace.
As I have studied this information and began to recall all I have learned from Dr. Caroline Leaf, ( a world known cognitive neuroscientist with a PhD in Communication Pathology, and a woman filled with God’s powerful Word), I recognized parallel findings between what was found through the study of the Nuns and what Dr. Leaf has found through her study of recent scientific findings, her own clinical practice, and the Word of God.
It all goes back to the basic premise found in the scriptures. “We are truly wired for love.” Current scientific research is confirming what God has been saying all along: “We are hard wired for hope and great expectation.
In the Nun Study, a discovery of the early records of the 678 nuns shed tremendous light on Aging with Grace (without mental diseases). The nuns whose beginning essays were filled with the most positive emotions had far better statistics of living longer and healthier than the ones whose essays revealed negative emotions.
This agrees most completely with God’s Word as well as with recent research findings: negative toxic thinking leads to disease including Alzheimers. Dr. Leaf shares how exciting it is to her to see that research is beginning to catch up with the Bible.
The brain’s innate optimism was stumbled upon by accident by researchers (published in the book The Optimism Bias), but was there all along in God’s fabulous Word. God has graciously wired our brain to believe that the future will be much better than the past and the present. Research is showing that this bias is true in every race, region and socioeconomic bracket.
The outstandingly good news is that we can change our thoughts. We can rewire our brains for thinking good thoughts and melting toxic ones. Dr. Leaf has several books available on just how to do this. Two years ago Team Fabulous studied through an eight week course on Renewing Our Minds based on the material by Dr. Leaf. (All team members have access to this archive baby step training course.)
Researchers believe these findings about optimism could fuel a revolution in psychology.