Vert Mooney, MD

Vert Mooney died yesterday afternoon on his way home from work, apparently from a heart attack or stroke.  He was a pioneer in so many aspects of rehabilitation and one of the world’s foremost spine surgeons, a wonderful husband and father, and a friend and mentor whose absence will be deeply felt.

I woke up in the wee hours this morning feeling his absence.  His voice is still fresh for me, “Onward and upward, man!”

I’m certain that there are many aspects of Vert I will miss that will come to mind in the coming days, but the very first that I’ve noticed is how much I value his firm graciousness and his insistence on respect for all opinions.  As a pioneer in medicine, it wasn’t uncommon for him to be attacked by vested interests and by people whose cages he enjoyed rattling.  I recall a scientific meeting many years ago in which we presented several research papers to about 500 orthopedic surgeons and then took questions.  Our work was obviously controversial because we had scientifically demonstrated the efficacy of alternatives to expensive surgical procedures; not exactly what spine surgeons wanted to hear.  One of our group was so concerned about the reception of his paper that he actually fainted at the lectern and had to be revived.  After we presented, Vert was the moderator, taking questions from the floor.  Immediately he was hit with angry “questions” that were really diatribes by angry red-faced surgeons who were used to telling other people what was what.  Vert, with deep roots in the scientific and academic communities and as a founder and past president of all of the major pertinent professional associations simply responded with, “Thank you for your question” and asked for the microphone to be passed.  He was polite and not dismissive, allowing people to have their say, trusting that our findings, based on good research, would stand on its own, which was true.  As the diatribes diminished and actual questions began to surface, he encouraged all of us, but most especially the junior members of our research group to respond, which, with Vert having our back, we were able to do.  That was a very special moment for me and provided a template for how to be a mentor and senior scientist.  Being a pioneer is fun, but it is often difficult and the absolute best way to defuse difficult situations is with grace.  Vert was firm, not backing away from a fight, but always treating everyone in the conversation with grace and respect.

Today, I send prayers to Vert’s family and many friends, for our shared loss and thanking God for his gift of Vert’s presence.  Millions have benefited from his work, many of us directly, and the world is so much better because he led and inspired us.

Why God-Wired?

God-Wired is a collection of stories about young people and old people, rich people and poor people, famous people, and people of whom you have never heard and their magnificent brains.  The experiences described in these stories have moved me from the life of a rebellious and cynical scientist who found God inconvenient and embarrassing to become a rebellious and optimistic scientist who finds God valuable and necessary. 

These stories have caused me to seriously consider the Bible as not only the inspired word of God but consistently revealed in every neuroscience conference and scientific journal and textbook describing the structure and function of the human brain. 

These stories also include methods by which you can implement the invitation of the Apostle Paul more than 2000 years ago:

“Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will know what God’s will is for you, his good, pleasing, and perfect will.”

 God-Wired is based on this message from the Apostle Paul who was inspired by God to lead people to transformation, through the grace and redemption made possible by the life and death and resurrection of Jesus.  Before God sent Jesus to offer you the opportunity to be transformed, He designed your mind to be renewed.  The offer still stands, which is the focus of the Bible.  God’s design of your brain and its ability to help your mind be ready for transformation is the focus of this blog. 

 In God-Wired I will share with you recent discoveries about your brain’s ability to renew your mind.  The first lesson is this: Your brain is constantly trying to renew your mind, which poses a challenge to each if us; how to be responsible for our renewal.  It’s a responsibility that we can’t avoid because our brain is constantly changing in response to what it experiences, which is sometimes controlled by us, and often influenced by those around us.  This is a crucial part of God’s free will that we can’t turn down because we can’t stop our brains from developing

How we accept the responsibility for the renewal of our minds through the development of our brains is an important focus of my practice as a psychologist and is the primary focus of God-Wired, where I have included several exercises I use with my clients to help guide their development that I now offer to you with humility and respect for the power that God has put within our grasp. 

If you are a believer, I hope that God-Wired will help you become even more excited about God’s potential to use you to do His work and perhaps learn how to move closer to “His good, pleasing, and perfect will” for your life.  As a faith-based neuroscientist, that has been my experience.  Have you gone too long without awe and inspiration?  Well, in God-Wired, you will find information about your brain that will amaze and inspire you.  If you are like me, you will develop a new appreciation for how magnificently God has created you and you will be humbled by the intricacy and complexity of your brain.  Although the magnificence of God is found throughout nature, I believe that His most amazing creation is your brain, helping you to understand these words and get excited about what you are learning, a brain that is developing as you read this, right now!

If you are a faith-seeker, considering a relationship with God, I hope that God-Wired engages your curiosity and inspires you to take the step of faith.  Because you haven’t yet developed a relationship with God, perhaps the most amazing thing about reading God-Wired will be that learning how your brain works will help you understand how God wants you to live.  This glimpse of the potential to renew your mind will lead you closer to God, as it has moved me and many others.

If you are a faith-skeptic, I hope that you will postpone judgment as I share my story and the stories of others who have been transformed through the renewal of our minds, facilitated by the science that I once thought required me to reject God, but I now realize was crucial to my faith journey.  I believe that an open mind that is curious and always asking questions inevitably moves towards a relationship with God.  That has been my own experience, beginning my career 40 years ago as a God-rejecting scientist-in-training moving casually through life, and given the opportunity to step into the lives of people with severe disabilities who had reason to seriously question and be angry with God, but often found God necessary as their minds were renewed to meet their new circumstances.

Why do I say God-Wired?  Because I believe that God is the Architect of your brain, with approximately one trillion cells packed into 3 pounds of matter.  In that space, God has organized 100 billion neurons, with 10,000 connections each, to be the foundation of your mind, your personality, and your abilities, with millions being added every day.  What is even more amazing, in relationship with each other my brain is wiring your brain and your brain is wiring my brain, every moment we interact.  We are doing life together in a very fundamental way, and we should be intentional about how we carry that off.

Although all of the information in God-Wired is available in the scientific literature and is taught in graduate schools, I believe that this is the first place it’s been made available from a Christian perspective, helping to bridge an unnecessary gap in modern society.  God-Wired includes the latest from the fields of neuroscience and psychology that is bringing about a revolution in how to help people transform their lives.  Important scientific studies are referenced and you will find additional resources in God-Wired that can help deepen your understanding and appreciation.

One final thought; this blog-thread is an opportunity that I have to pay back to my patients and colleagues and teachers and family some of the most important lessons I have learned that go beyond what they have individually taught.  The confluence of knowledge and experience that is found in every life should be offered to others in the hope that they may benefit.

The Hippocampus – Your Autobiographical Memory

The neurons in our brains are organized into about 150 different areas, each of which has a specific function.  These areas interact within our brains and with our body and are affected by other areas in our brains and by parts of our bodies. 

One of the most important parts of our brain is called the Hippocampus, which is in both sides of your brain just above where your ears are attached to your head.  If you were to look at the brain from the outside, you would not be able to see your Hippocampus because it is covered by the temporal lobe of the cerebral cortex, one of the four large areas on the surface of your brain.  The Hippocampus in each half of your brain is about as big around and as long as your index finger, becoming more slender as it moves towards the back of your brain to attach to the Hippocampus on the other side of your brain.

The Hippocampus is the center of your autobiographical brain, how you see yourself and what you believe about yourself and your place in the world.  The Hippocampus is a crucial brain area for the development of your sense of self.  In the Hippocampus, information about the episodes of life is briefly stored before the information that is more important gets processed into memories.  Early information is pushed out by later information and information that is less important vanishes after a few hours.  Important information pushes out information that is less important, with less than 1% of the information that comes in each day being transformed into permanent memories.

In the Hippocampus of a happy and successful person, the information that gets processed into memories helps her develop belief in her courage to handle difficult situations, self-esteem by appreciating her successes, her character and responsible habits, her helpful personality and skills in cooperating with others, and an attitude of respect and grace for others.  The happy and successful person has developed the ability to select which 1% of the information that comes in each day gets transformed into permanent memories, allowing her to write a thoughtful and intentional autobiography.

Whoa!  She is able to select the 1% that comes in each day and write her own autobiography?  How is that possible?  Well, it is only possible if she has the attitude that she is going to be the manager of her life, if she refuses to “conform any longer to the patterns of this world…” so that she can be transformed by the renewing of her mind.  She has to become as careful about what she puts into her Hippocampus as she is about what she puts into her body, which begins with being “healthfully selfish”, something I encourage all my clients to become. 

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.  Let’s take a look at a very practical and useful exercise that you can do today to begin the renewal of your mind, the…

Happy Hippocampus Brain Exercise

We can take advantage of the temporary information processing of the Hippocampus by using the “Happy Hippocampus” brain exercise.  Okay, I know that’s a real corny name for the exercise, but it’s very accurate and it’s easy to remember. 

Recall that the Hippocampus is where information is processed before it is sent to other parts of the brain to become permanent memories.  Most of the information processed in the Hippocampus does not become a permanent memory, simply because it is not that important.  The information that is more important stays in the Hippocampus longer so that it can be distributed to other parts of the brain, where it develops into a picture of us, how we see ourselves. 

Although the Hippocampus was our biographical brain as we were children, being written by parents and teachers, as we go through adolescence, we begin to write our own stories, and the Hippocampus becomes our autobiographical brain.  What I mean by this is that we can decide a lot of what gets written in our autobiographical brain by deciding what gets put into our Hippocampus.  Obviously, since we want to write the best autobiography we can, we are going to be careful about what we put into our Hippocampus.  Along with this, we want to put good information into our Hippocampus in such a way that it has full effect, that it gets written with indelible ink.

I want you to start the Happy Hippocampus brain exercise by identifying what you want to develop in your autobiographical memory.  For a simple example, let’s start by choosing to develop your courage, one of the behaviors that successful and happy persons consistently demonstrate and model for others.

What is courage?  Courage is the ability to do something in spite of being afraid.  To see ourselves as courageous is to see ourselves acting in spite of our fears. People are courageous when they act with integrity in spite of opposition.  Courage is extremely important.  CS Lewis writes, “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.”  When each of us is tested and maintains our integrity, courage is involved.

One very interesting aspect of courage is that it reinforces itself, becoming self-fulfilling.  When a person acts courageous in a situation and her courage is successful, the next time the situation arises, she is more likely to be courageous, and she will gradually see herself as a courageous person.  If she sees herself as a courageous person, she will more often act with courage.  This is a very important point.  If we think of ourselves as more courageous, we tend to act in ways that are more courageous.  If we act more courageous, we tend to think of ourselves as being more courageous. 

Stop for a moment and consider this: As I think, so I become, and as I act, so I think.  This means that how I think is at the root of how I act and how I act is at the root of how I think.  This is what Paul was talking about when he wrote, “Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”   We are wired by God to act in ways that are consistent with how we think, and think in ways that are consistent with how we act.  This is both wonderful and troubling because I can either think and act well or think and act horribly.  What is most exciting about the close relation between how I think and how I act is that you and I have responsibility for both how we think and how we act.

Oops!  “I thought that I am only responsible for my actions, not what I think.  What I think is sometimes much worse than how I act.” 

Unfortunately, although people looking at you from the outside can’t tell exactly what you’re thinking, your thinking does influence your behavior.  Sometimes the influence is very subtle and sometimes the influence is very strong.  The bottom line is that how each of us thinks influences how we act.  Using our autobiographical brain to think healthy thoughts is absolutely crucial if we are to act in healthy ways.  We can use the Happy Hippocampus Exercise to develop the autobiographical brain that we need to have a healthy life.

The Happy Hippocampus Exercise is deceptively simple and is much more influential than you will first appreciate.  It works gradually to write an autobiography that conforms to how you want to be.  It has these simple steps: 

Every day for the next month, pick three episodes 1 that demonstrate the behavior you want to develop, in this case ways in which you were more courageous today than you were yesterday.  Use a note pad to help keep track of this during the day.

Write a few words on the note pad that will be episode cues, reminding you what you did to demonstrate the behavior you want to develop, in this case, courage.

As you get ready for bed each night, review the note pad to refresh your memory about the three episodes.

After you go to bed and just before you drop off to sleep, pray a gratitude prayer, thanking God for your family and your other blessings.

After your gratitude prayer, recall the episodes and allow them to be the last information that you process before you fall off to sleep.  If you have to keep thinking through these episodes, that’s fine, just stick with it until you drop off to sleep.

If you awake during the night, use your episode cues again to help get you back to sleep.  Recall these thoughts in place of any thoughts that awakened you, especially if they were troubling thoughts.

Several important things are accomplished by the Happy Hippocampus Exercise.  Let’s review what is accomplished by using courage as our example, helping you to develop more courage as a personal resource.

Remember that earlier information in the Hippocampus gets pushed out by later information.  Since the most recent information in your Hippocampus is the three examples of how you were more courageous during the day, this information will hang out in the Hippocampus longer.

The longer the information about you being more courageous sits in your Hippocampus, the more likely it will be to be distributed to other parts of your brain.  This helps to make the information into memories.  Memories are chunks of information that are resistant to loss and help to influence how you think about yourself.  So, by giving your Hippocampus three thoughts about how you were courageous during the day, you are developing new memories that have to do with courage.

As the information about you being more courageous sits in your Hippocampus, it distracts your brain’s attention from how you didn’t act courageous during the day.  This is an extremely important point.  None of us is perfect and we all have some things each day that we do well and some things that we don’t do well.  If you select episodes that describe your courage, another part of your brain can stay silent, the amygdala.  This is important because the amygdala is responsible for processing information about threats and shortcomings to get you ready to defend yourself.  If you go to bed and your last thought is about how you weren’t courageous, it will trigger your amygdala, causing your body to go on alert.  Although you may still go to sleep because you’re exhausted, your sleep won’t be as restful.

When you wake up in the middle of the night worried about a problem, the discomfort you feel is your amygdala getting you ready to defend yourself.  Unfortunately, the amygdala doesn’t fully appreciate that you need a good night sleep and that there is nothing to be done about that traffic ticket or unpaid bill until the next day.  Fortunately, the neurochemicals that your amygdala has triggered only last for about 90 seconds.  As long as you don’t keep thinking about what is worrying you, after 90 seconds, you will be ready to go back to sleep.  So, as an alternative to thinking about your worries, use those 90 seconds to get up and go to the bathroom and go back to bed and choose to think about your three Happy Hippocampus episodes from the prior day.  You might have to throw in another gratitude prayer, but this will definitely be more helpful in getting you back to sleep than lying in bed obsessing about that traffic ticket or unpaid bill and feeding your amygdala threatening thoughts.  We’ll talk later about how to get along better with your amygdala.

Recent research has shown that the brain actually grows new neurons in two locations.  Guess what?  The Hippocampus is one of the areas!  Right now, reading this blog and learning about the Hippocampus is actually causing stem cells in the Hippocampus to start growing new neurons.  In about 3 weeks, the neurons that are being born right now will be fully mature and ready to go to work for you.  So, if you stimulate new neurons and every night for 3 weeks keep working on courage, guess what happens?  Right!  Those new neurons are going to work to preserve your more-courageous self-image.  We could call these your “courage neurons” because if you keep processing information about how each day you act more courageously, those neurons become part of your God-wired brain, with you as the co-author.  Pretty neat!

The final and very important point I’d like to make is that you are not only thinking about being more courageous in the Happy Hippocampus Exercise; you are gradually changing your behavior.  It’s probably going to be difficult to find three episodes from your day in which you were more courageous than the day before, at least at first.  Without these episodes, the exercise won’t work.  Don’t try and fool yourself by pretending to be more courageous.  Being courageous takes practice and requires skill.  You develop the skill to be courageous gradually, learning how to better handle people and situations that used to baffle you or intimidate you.  You can’t just think it and do it.  You actually need to take opportunities each day as they come along and practice being more courageous in ways that are likely to be successful, but feel risky.  Research has shown that “fake it till you make it” is not only ineffective, but can also cause problems.  We’ll talk about this more in another blog entry that is titled, “White Lies and the Devil”.

So, that’s the Happy Hippocampus Exercise.  It requires that you be thoughtfully intentional, looking for opportunities each day to develop an aspect of yourself that you value.  The opportunities have always been there, now that you are looking for them, they will become more obvious.  Once you recognize an opportunity, you can choose to use it or not.  There will be plenty of opportunities, so choose with thoughtful intentionality.

  1. I call each example an episode because this is the type of memory you will be accessing, called “episodic memory”.

God-Wired Foreword

“Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing, and perfect will.”  Romans 12:2

Neuroscience is starting to catch up with the Apostle Paul, who spoke with assurance about the transformational capacity of the mind more than 1900 years ago.  Paul asked his readers to accept by faith what neuroscience has recently demonstrated.  In the past few years, neuroscience has not only identified many of the processes by which the renewal of our mind takes place, but also the responsibility that we have to do this carefully and with intention. 

 This blog-thread presents my approach to counseling, psychoneural transformation, which assumes primacy of the mind over the brain, using the brain’s capacity for development.  Our brain is constantly renewing itself in interplay with our mind, a process that is rapid and chaotic in childhood and adolescence and continues to be vibrant and powerful throughout adulthood, on into very old age.  This constant renewal is both hopeful and exciting, but it also has a dark side, which is why Paul encouraged the focus of transformation on God’s “good, pleasing, and perfect will”, guided towards a God-honoring life.

 This blog-thread is about the intersection of faith and neuroscience that produces healthy transformation, presented from a perspective that argues that faith and neuroscience must be jointly considered, each respecting the other.  Currently, this is a minority perspective, because most scientific communities and most faith communities have not matured to the point where respectful conversations accepting of each other’s positions are commonplace.  There are of course, wonderful exceptions, and I hope that this blog contributes in some small way to these conversations.

 This blog-thread reflects my personal transformation and presents case studies of the transformation of people I have worked with professionally as a counselor and psychologist in the field of Rehabilitation.  Most of these are presented anonymously, out of my professional responsibility as well as my respect for them and their families. 

An important pattern that will become apparent is that my professional abilities have always been limited by my knowledge and worldview, with my early work less effective than my recent work.  But this is true for all of us, carpenters, mechanics, attorneys, physicians, counselors and psychologists.  We all serve our clients better as we develop expertise with greater knowledge, skills, and abilities. 

 What is different for psychologists, counselors, and many healthcare professionals is that whenever faith is important to our patients, our resistance to addressing faith as a legitimate issue unnecessarily limits our effectiveness.  The faith of their clients is not a pertinent issue for carpenters, mechanics, or attorneys, and many physician specialists such as radiologists or pathologists.  But for those of us who interact with the minds of people to whom we provide professional care, whenever their minds are affected by their faith, our ability to facilitate transformation is limited to the degree that we ignore their faith. 

 And yet the contributions of science to healthcare are not to be ignored.  My recent work is more effective than my early work not simply because I allow my clients’ faith to be a legitimate part of our work together, but because I bring to this work my expertise with scientific knowledge, skills, and abilities.

 Do I force faith into my work with my clients?  Of course not.  The last question in my intake interview is, “Who do you turn to for emotional support?”, with a follow-up question, “Do you have a particular faith or believe in a higher power?”  By asking the question, I make available to my clients the space for a conversation about faith’s place in their lives.  By making it the last question, I allow the issue to be bypassed comfortably when the 20% of my clients who either have no faith or are antagonistic to the idea of faith describe their position.

 How do I integrate faith into our professional relationship with the other 80%?  It depends on the client.  When faith is a peripheral issue, it usually will not be an aspect of our interaction.  When the person’s faith is a central issue, it will have more prominence, but it will not crowd out science.  In these situations I can only honestly share my experiences and those of other people of faith that science illuminates faith and faith gives meaning and purpose and a moral compass to science and scientific practice.

 This blog describes my life in Rehabilitation, as a person and as a professional.  Rehabilitation is the venue for the “bad things-good people” God-challenge to be actively addressed every day, with meaning and hope arising from the fear and sadness of catastrophic life events.  My primary message here is that Rehabilitation is the ultimate proof of how God designed us for resilience, meaning, and happiness, implemented by a God-wired brain in concert with other God-wired brains.  Rehabilitation is the best modern example of God’s work with the Apostle Paul that led him to encourage us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we can know what God’s will is for our lives “his good, pleasing, and perfect will.”

Job Stress and Distress

Note: Dr. Matheson prepared this introduction to the Personal Prayer Relaxation audio exercise for a small group experience in which he assisted at Windsor Crossing Community Church in Chesterfield, Missouri in March 2009.  The introduction and audio are focused at a Christ-centered approach to handling stress so that it does not interfere with making good life choices.  If you are uncomfortable with a Christian approach, the Personal Mantra Relaxation audio exercises may be more appropriate.  Please download either audio and enjoy the benefits.  We welcome any feedback.

God has wired us so that low or moderate levels of stress can be beneficial, but sustained stress gets in the way of what He wants us to do with our life.  When stress becomes distress, God’s guidance can sometimes be hard to discern.  We can learn to do something about this, which is our focus today.

Let’s begin by taking a look at the difference between stress and distress.  Stress is a short-term response to a threat that focuses our attention and prepares us to defend ourselves.  The stress response is an important way in which we take care of ourselves. 

Distress occurs after the threat has passed, but our stress response remains at a high level.  Once the threat has ceased, our blood pressure and heart rate and breathing should subside to normal over about 90 seconds.  Blood that was shunted to the vital organs should move back into homeostatic balance in the hands and feet. 

Distress also occurs when the threat persists for a long period of time, locking in the “fight or flight” response.  This brings about dozens of unhealthy changes, including headache, hypertension, heart disease, and stroke.  One unhealthy consequence of distress that has received little attention until recently is neurophysiologic exhaustion or “brain fatigue”. 

I want to focus on brain fatigue briefly because it lowers our ability to stop stress from becoming distress. 

When we have brain fatigue, lower levels of stress cause us to get locked into distress.  On the other hand, if we are not experiencing brain fatigue, normal stresses of the day are handled appropriately and do not become distress. 

Brain fatigue is especially important when we are experiencing persistent stress, such as when we are struggling in a relationship or in our career or when need to look for a new job.  Persistent stress can cause brain fatigue so that stressful events that we would normally handle well become distressing. 

God has wired our brains so that we can interact with the stress response.  This is both good news and bad news because we can make the stress either better or worse.  You have had lots of examples in your life in which you have done both, with minor stressful events blown out of proportion and becoming distressing, and other major stressful events handled very well.

I think God wants us to do everything that we can to improve our brain’s ability to handle stress in a healthy way.  Research shows that combining a healthy prayer life in community with others who are successfully dealing with stressors sets the stage for using neuropsychological strategies such as personal prayer relaxation to help prevent stress from becoming distress.

Personal prayer relaxation is based on the idea that we can use a thought to trigger a relaxation response and interrupt the stress-distress cycle.  The personal prayer is a word or short phrase that you practice linking to a state of deep relaxation.  Once it is linked, the prayer itself will trigger a relaxation response.  Let’s begin by selecting a personal prayer.

Recall a time or place or experience that was especially soothing, in which you felt safe and secure.  If you are spiritual person it may well involve an experience in which you surrendered control and let God take over or recognized the transcendent nature of God.  It may have happened when you were baptized or it may have been later when you were out in nature or with loved ones or in some other circumstance in which you became aware of God’s presence and safety. 

My personal prayer is “Hosanna”, which recalls July 11, 1991 when I was camping in the Sierras with my son, the night after a total solar eclipse.  I awoke Jonathan at midnight to experience the Milky Way with the sun and moon in conjunction; the night would never be darker.  Away from the lights of civilization, at 10,000 feet in the dry Sierras, the Milky Way exploded with light!  With my five-year-old son on my shoulders, we stood in awe, looking at billions of stars in the unmistakable pattern of our galaxy.  I was strongly aware of God’s presence and said a quiet prayer that He would sustain us and help me be a capable husband and father.

Many years later, I chose the word “Hosanna” to recall that experience and I have practiced linking “Hosanna” to a state of profound relaxation.  Now, when I say to myself, “Hosanna”, I can see and hear and feel and smell that moment, and I have a profound sense of God’s presence.  I feel both relaxed and safe. 

I use my personal prayer to put myself asleep each night after a gratitude prayer, and if I awaken during the night with anxiety triggered by stress, I pray once again and use my personal prayer to fall back asleep.  No matter what, I do not continue to think about the stressor, realizing that in about 90 seconds, the neurochemical stress response will pass and allow me to return to sleep using my prayer.

Personal prayer relaxation is a skill that must be practiced in order to be effective.  After the basic introduction, the personal prayer relaxation process requires about 20 minutes without interruption in a quiet location.  Listen to and follow the recorded audio instructions as best you can, allowing thoughts to come and go with the commitment that any important thought will return later and can be addressed after you have practiced linking your personal prayer to a state of deep relaxation. 

If you are like most people, you will almost immediately begin to feel the beneficial effects and within about two weeks you will be able to use your personal prayer to get better control of your stress response.  The more you practice, the better you will become. 

Combined with a reasonable diet and good exercise and regular prayer, personal prayer relaxation will help you to gradually address problems with mental fatigue, improving your ability to handle the temporary increase in stress that normally occurs with job-seeking.  You will sleep better and think more clearly. 

Through its positive effect on your mental fatigue, personal prayer relaxation will help you to be ready for the opportunities that God is preparing for you.