Book Review: Feel Better Fast And Make It Last by Dr. Amen
And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself." - Matthew 22:37-39 ESV
We've all heard the Bible passage, "Love the Lord Your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength" -- and in the world of apologetics, there is always an emphasis on "with all your mind." Yet many of us still suffer with depression, anxiety, anger, stress, and trauma -- all linked to the brain and societies new normal, even for Christians.
On an intellectual level, there is the problem of evil ("Why do bad things happen to good people and why does God allow it?"). On the other, there is the very real problem (the practical side, if you will) of "how do I fix the damage to my brain caused by this trauma?" Feel Better Fast and Make It Last by Dr. Daniel Amen tackles the latter aspect.
Dr. Amen argues that, while it is normal to feel such emotions, we can improve our brain's health with relatively simple steps. While not written from a strictly Christian standpoint, this book has useful brain tips for everyone.
Dr. Amen provides some well-known quick tips and tricks to improve brain health such as:
- Taking vitamins and supplements
- Writing in a gratitude journal
- Learning something new
- Going for a walk or doing some form of exercise
- Deep breathing or meditation
Dr. Amen also scatters some "Tiny Habits That Can Help You Feel Better Fast" techniques throughout the book, as well as strategies for each topic (i.e "Nine Strategies To embrace change and turn your ruts into superhighways of success.") He also uses acronyms to help you remember each tip and includes interesting stories from his clients that had positive results.
I was especially excited to see that Chapter 12 was about Love. (Brain specialist Dr. Caroline Leaf says that our brains are wired for love; see her books here.) Dr. Amen's focus here is on "love your neighbor as yourself": take care of your brain health because there are people all around you who love you; it's being selfish if you don't. "Focusing on getting and keeping your brain healthy is the most loving choice you can make for self and others."
Appendix B offers a self-evaluation brain test to see what areas of your brain you may need improvement in, so that you know what brain health tips to implement.
- From a Christian standpoint, I wasn't sold on the idea of hypnosis as a brain health technique (to calm/relax stressed individuals). I'm sure it's worked for his clients as he states; I just wasn't thrilled with the idea.
- The book is a slow read, since there is a lot of information about the brain itself to digest.
In conclusion, I believe that we are to Love the Lord with our minds, not only intellectually, but also practically. Dr. Amen does a good job at bringing useful tips to the table here. Despite some technical reading in spots, I found myself wanting to put the book down for a break, only to find "just one more" tip I wanted to read. He sums up his book's purpose beautifully when he says, "Our brains are wired to keep doing what we've always done -- but we can change the ruts into superhighways of success. Making small changes is the secret to feeling better fast..."
I received this book free from Tyndale House in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review; All opinions expressed here are mine.