This Is Your Brain on Joy by Dr. Earl Henslin

What does our brain have to do with our happiness?  Does all that grey matter really govern over our ability to experience joy?  Of course it does, and Dr. Earl Henslin explains how it all works in This Is Your Brain on Joy.  What’s better is he manages to keep it simple for the everyday reader.  I have to admit that when I began reading this book I did not expect much, and I thought it would be a rather boring book.  I was very wrong.  In fact, as I was reading the first part of the book I was happily distracted by an amusing look into the author’s own life and family.  It was this and other points like it that kept me interested and reading.  You will be too!

In this book we are introduced to the concept of brain imaging and its impact on psychology today.  The brain has many different parts that interact quite beautifully, and though there are some that love to dive into the intricate details of what a brain does and how, all I needed was a very simple understanding.  This book introduced me to the different parts of the brain in such a way that was very easy to remember, such as the Temporal Lobes being called the Temper Lofts or the Basal Ganglia being called the Basement of Giant fears.  I have never known the parts of the brain before but now I get what goes on, at least a little.

The book continues on after explaining all of the major parts of the brain to give you a test.  OH BOY! Not a test!! Well…. it is a long test…. but after you take this test you may understand yourself or someone else a lot better!  It actually is very interesting to see how you score yourself and how someone else may score you, or to score your friend the same way.  This test explains what parts of the brain you may have problems with however much that may be.  Once you know what problems you may have the book directs you to jump ahead to whatever chapter applies to your brain issue.

In each of these chapters on the different parts of the brain and their related issues they all begin with a story of someone who had that same problem.  Some of them are famous stories and others are quite unique and personal.  The chapter then continues with an extensive description of the problem to be followed shortly by many solutions to the problems.  This is not a book that tells you to go get a prescription from your doctor for this or that medicine, but instead describes all things that you can do to help.  That includes good movies to watch, good supplements and foods to eat or not eat, what music and exercise to try, and yes, what medicines will do you good if you so need them.

But this also isn’t just a book about what to do if you have a mental problem, its a book about christians and how they can use this new knowledge in order to serve God and each other better and much more happily!  How can we use the knowledge that we have an anger, depression, or one of many other issues caused by our brain?  Well first of all we can be more understanding with fellow christians in their issues that we may have previously simply called a sin problem.  What if their brain has an overactive anger region?  Many christians wonder why they are depressed or stressed, or why they can’t pray away their fear, or why they suffer with addiction.  We use this knowledge also to glorify God and to experience his love!

This book is a great read, though it can be incredibly slow at points.  For the most part the book makes up for it with interesting stories and humor.  If you want a book that will tell you all you need to know about how your brain works then this is the one.  Just take into account all the time it takes to absorb all of that information and then to implement it.  It certainly offers information worth using in your everyday life.  Dr. Earl Henslin provides a great resource for those in need, so check it out for yourself if you are, it will do you a lot of good!

Dr. Earl Henslin has a doctorate in clinical psychology and is a licensed marriage and family therapist. He is a former part-time faculty member at the Rosemead Graduate School of Psychology at Biola University and author of six other books. He helped found Overcomers Outreach to aid churches in establishing support groups. In addition to clinical practice, Dr. Henslin stays busy leading seminars for professional counselors, business executives, and laypeople, helping them to become “brain healthy.” He is also a diplomate to the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress.

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