Abide App founders Neil Ahlsten and Eric Tse on VatorNews podcast

Kristin Karaoglu · May 28, 2021 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/524f
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Why prayer is more powerful than meditation because it adds a relationship component

Founders of Abide App Neil Ahlsten and Eric Tse sit down with Bambi Francisco Roizen for the VatorNews podcast.  

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(Editor's note: On June 9 we will continue hosting our Future of Mental and Behavioral Health 2021 virtual event. We'll have top-level VCs and C-level executives from the leading mental and behavioral companies, such as BetterUp, Teladoc's BetterHelp, Amwell, Doctor on Demand, Kaiser Permanente, Bessemer Ventures and more. 

In 2021 it’s finally okay to talk about our mental health and that’s why we’re excited to be sponsored by BetterHelp. But what IS therapy? It’s whatever you want it to be. Maybe you’re feeling insecure in relationships or at work, or not very motivated right now. Whatever you need, it’s time to stop being ashamed of normal human struggles and start feeling better. Because you deserve to be happy. BetterHelp is a customized online therapy that offers video, phone, and even live chat sessions. Plus, it’s more affordable than in-person therapy but just as effective. See if it’s for you.

Here are some takeaways

- Christian wellness overlaps with what you'd think about mental wellness. Mental, physical, nutritional, The identity of a lot of people incorporates a spiritual side to that so it's a holistic approach of mind, body soul. 

- Over 65% of US market identify as Christians. They see Christianity as a core identity of who they are. In meditation space, Abide is trying to speak to people and say, this is a practice has a lot of roots in the bible as well. The reason Abide is approaching meditation this way is because there are other benefits.

- Both founders worked at Google and met at Google; They held brainstorming hackathons with 200 people to come up with ideas for an app for Christians. The two left their jobs in 2-14 to start the company, which first started unsuccessfully with user-generated content. They've since pivoted to guided content.

- On the app, there are guided reflections, sleep content, quick-help content and breathing exercises. It's similar to a meditation app, but Abide also ties in first principles of the bible and people even get prayed over. There's morning mindfulness exercises as well as long and short content.

- In Psalms 1:2, it says "But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night." We are called to God to meditate.

- One big difference between meditation and prayers is that in meditation you empty your mind and fill with mindfulness, but with prayer you fill it with values and principles that you believe in. Most people who pray trust that experience and are willing to press into it.

- Another difference is the relationship aspect of prayer. When you're meditating, you're in yourself. Prayer brings in the aspect of relationship. You're doing the reflection and checking in. But there's a belief that God is present with you in that space. If you look at MRIs, prayer lights up a different part of the brain because it includes the relationship sense. This fosters another level of neural development and connection.

- From a scientific perspective. Take the best of meditation and best of relationship, that's the experience we're able to give.

- Studies show prayer encourages adherence, largely because a person is accountable to God. There's a stronger motivation to adhere to prayer over meditation. (Religious vs Conventional CBT

- In prayer, a person actively articulates their thoughts. Meditation works this way as well, if you're articulating or labeling your emotions: "I'm feeling angry." Or "I feel stressed." 
When a person gets angry, they have increased activity in the amygdala, an alarm to protect the body. But when you put a word to how you’re feeling - “angry” - the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (behind the forehead) gets activated -- this is the area associated with thinking in words about our emotions. (Study out of UCLA)

- When a person prays, there's increased activity in the frontal lobe and decreased activity in the parietal lobe. Both good things. https://www.andrewnewberg.com/research/

This podcast is sponsored by BetterHelp and VatorNews listeners get 10% off their first month at BetterHelp.com/Vator. This podcast is also brought by Octave, your partner for mental health and emotional well-being. Learn more at FindOctave.com. Also thanks to NeuroFlow which is working with hundreds of healthcare organizations to provide best-in-class technology and services for the effective integration of behavioral health. Learn more at neuroflow.com

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Kristin Karaoglu

Woman of many skills: Database System Engineer; SplashX event producer; Author of Startup Teams

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