An Interview with Dr. Sylvia Bartley; Neuroscience, Spirituality, and Emotional Health

How are neuroscience and spirituality connected? Dr. Sylvia Bartley shares how she manages her emotional health with mindful practices based on her experience with neuroscience and spirituality. 

Dr. Bartley is a healthcare executive widely recognized as a neuroscientist, an advocate, and champion of social change, dedicated to eliminating health, education, and economic disparities. She published her book, “Turning the Tide: Neuroscience, Spirituality, and My Path Toward Emotional Health,” which outlines the links between our brains and our souls while inspiring readers to change the world with that knowledge. 

In this interview, learn how understanding our purpose and values - our spirituality - leads to improved physical and emotional health in the long run. On her conscious journey of achieving a sense of wellbeing while living with depression, Dr. Bartley wanted to focus on holistic and mindful methods. An introduction to meditation was one tool that helped.

“When I meditate - it makes me feel better, it makes me feel calm,” Dr. Bartley explains. “Even when I’m in a deep depression and it doesn’t feel like it’s working, I still do it, and I still try to do it because I know the scientific benefits will be there which ultimately means hopefully I will feel better eventually.”

As a neuroscientist, Dr. Bartley found there is a tremendous amount of emerging scientific evidence for the theory that our sense of self can be strengthened through meditation. Research shows that increasing blood flow to certain parts of the brain through meditation improves our sense of wellbeing.

“Spirituality should focus on compassion, humanity, and how we can use our purpose to improve or support people in this world,” Dr. Bartley shares. “It’s a personal journey. It’s a personal relationship. It can take different forms. It can come in different constructs. My mom has a strong relationship to god in that Catholic faith. That is her spiritual journey, but that is not my spiritual journey because I didn’t fit in that construct. I really believe spirituality is the journey to the power or source that is greater than us.