Book Review: This is Your Brain on Joy

this_is_your_brain_on_joyIf I could do this review in just one word, it would be “Wow!” Seriously. I wish I walked away from every book with the understanding of the topic the way I did this one. And I hope that everything I write will do the same.

This is a book about your brain – not so much about how you think, but about your brain itself. It even includes pictures.

A lot of time and energy has been put into helping people’s mental health. We look at their actions as symptoms of unhealthy minds and try to treat those mental health issues with medication and/or therapy.

Dr. Henslin goes a step further. He believes that mental health is not the goal – brain health is. And when a person’s mental health is off, that is not the problem, but rather another symptom of a deeper issue in the brain itself.

And so into the brain we go on a journey that I found both fascinating and enlightening.

This book included everything necessary for a captivating read: humor, pictures (both literal and mental pictures), stories, and good content.

Dr. Henslin does an excellent job of explaining the medical terms of the brain in words that anyone can understand.¬†For instance, the upper temporal lobes act like “Temper Lofts”, while the basal ganglia houses our “Basement of Giant Fears”. Using these descriptions throughout helps the common person (like me) understand the brain in a whole new way.

Throughout the book we work our way through five main areas of the brain, exploring how a person acts when that part is healthy and when it is unhealthy. The recommended treatment for unhealthy brains usually follows a regimen of proper nutrition and supplements, exercise, Scripture and prayer. In very damaged situations, short-term medication may be necessary in order to bring the person to the place where the other things can begin to work. Dr. Henslin also suggests various aromas, music, movies, and books that are targeted to the person’s specific need that will promote brain growth and health.

Now if this sounds too easy, let me assure you that it’s not. Dr. Henslin strongly recommends (almost demands) that all of this be done in conjunction with at least your medical doctor, if not also your pastor, therapist, etc.

In cases where standard treatment has shown no improvement, or even made it worse, he recommends a SPECT brain scan to highlight the areas of the physical brain that are causing the problems.

Some of the things covered in this book are:

  • SPECT scans
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
  • ADD and ADHD
  • bi-polar disorder
  • depression
  • eating disorders
  • specific medications
  • and the whole gamut of mental health issues that have become a part of our daily vocabularies.

There is no way I can do justice to this book in a short review. I highly recommend This is Your Brain on Joy to anyone who works in the mental health field or who is close to someone who has (or has not) been diagnosed with a mental health issue.

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