Break the Fear Cycle: Brain Expert Shares Advice for Building Resilience During Challenging Times
Chattanooga, TN, May 28, 2021 ― Forced social isolation, shuttered businesses and canceled or scaled-down worship services have contributed to an overwhelming sense of loss and fear among people all over the world. And there’s a scientific reason for these emotions, explains Timothy R. Jennings, M.D., board-certified psychiatrist, master psychopharmacologist and founder of Come and Reason Ministries.
Dr. Jennings is a much sought-after speaker who regularly addresses non-medical professionals on the subjects of Spirituality in Medicine, Depression and its Spiritual and Physical Connections, and Alzheimer’s Dementia. He also speaks to medical professionals on the topics of Psychotherapy in Clinical Practice, Major Depression in the Primary Care Setting, and the Neurobiology of Depression — among many others.
He describes how the measures taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 can have physiological and psychological impacts that, like dominoes, will topple our sources of strength and resilience.
“Research shows that social rejection, isolation and loneliness activate the brain’s stress pathways, thereby increasing inflammatory factors, diminishing immune response and increasing vulnerability to viral infections and cancer, and make you less resilient in life,” he says.
In the shadow of government mandates that restrict our interactions with others, what can we do within our four walls to build our resilience and guard our overall wellbeing?
Dr. Jennings suggests we can boost our resilience through physical exercise, eating a healthy diet, getting regular sleep, cognitive training, having a healthy relationship with God and spiritual development — measures that can actually alter the way our brains react to stress.
“Healthy spirituality confers resilience in a multitude of ways,” he says. “It develops your higher cortex, which calms your fear circuits. You have less fear and you’re less anxious if you’ve got a developed prefrontal cortex. And if you have a loving relationship with a God you trust, that’s part of your prefrontal cortex. And if people have more love, they have less fear.”
Another part of our prefrontal cortex is altruism — something those with healthy spirituality are more likely to engage in — and helping others also calms fear circuits.
Our ability to face a crisis and bounce back is, in part, inherited from our parents and even grandparents through our genetic makeup, Dr. Jennings explains. But through a combination of mental, physical and spiritual adaptive measures, we can boost our resilience and improve our ability to overcome life’s challenges.
Dr. Timothy R. Jennings operates a private practice in Chattanooga and has successfully treated thousands of patients. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and Life-Fellow of the Southern Psychiatric Association.
He is also a prolific author whose books include The God-Shaped Brain: How Changing Your View of God Transforms Your Life; Could It Be This Simple? A Biblical Model for Healing the Mind; The Aging Brain: Proven Steps to Prevent Dementia and Sharpen Your Mind; and The God-Shaped Heart: How Correctly Understanding God’s Love Transforms Us.
To hear his presentations and to learn more about Dr. Jennings and his approach to brain and body health, please visit: www.comeandreason.com.
Possible discussion topics for Dr. Jennings:
- How do positive social interactions reduce our inflammatory markers?
- How does wearing masks contribute to feelings of social isolation?
- Explain epigenetic markers and the role they play in our ability to be resilient.
- Explain how our life experiences can alter our gene expression and lead to improved resiliency.
Reviews, photos, links to previous interviews and Q&As are available upon request.