Best-selling author and physician Dr. Caroline Leaf shares with the Heal Squad how to rewire your brain to alleviate mental health issues such as anxiety, trauma, shame, and even bad habits. Dr. Leaf is a communication pathologist and cognitive neuroscientist who has spent the last 30 years studying the mind-brain relationship. Her innovative work and research has led to successful treatments of ADD, PTSD, addiction, anxiety, depression, autism, brain trauma and so much more…in other words, she knows what she’s talking about!
In this interview, Dr. Leaf reveals the science behind rewiring our brains and how thoughts lead to over 90% of our physical ailments, and can even age us. Luckily, she shares how you can prevent this from happening with easy-to-apply tools and lessons that will dramatically improve your mental and physical health.
1) There is a difference between the mind and the brain
The mind and brain are 2 separate entities: the brain is a part of the physical body while the mind actually runs the brain.
2) How to stay in the wise mind
All humans have both a messy and wise mind. An unmanaged messy mind can be dangerous and lead to toxic patterns and therefore, must be managed by its wise counterpart. One way we can stay in the wise mind is through constant mind management. Observe how you are functioning when angry, anxious, etc. so that you can take action steps to ease your mind the next time you find yourself in that state. You can get your anxiety and depression under control by 81% by doing this!
3) Mental health issues are normal!
Having anxiety, depression, or any mental health issue does not mean you are broken. In order to change your mind, you must understand it. Look for patterns of anxiety and depression and view them as warning signals, not things to be suppressed. We welcome these feelings as they point us to something that we must tend to. Shifting this mindset to a more positive one (i.e. viewing your anxiety is a guide) alone will help your brain work with you instead of fight against you.
4) You own your thoughts
No thought owns you, even if it sometimes seems like it. While it is hard work, it is scientifically proven that we can change our thoughts.
5) Use this easy trick when feeling overwhelmed
When feeling overwhelmed or experiencing a panic attack, or when with someone experiencing said symptoms, try this trick: breathe in and breathe out. When you inhale, say in your head “think feel” and when you exhale say out loud, “choooose.” This combines breathing and cognitive exercises and allows you to take back control.
6) Use the “suit of armor” technique when around toxic people
All you have to do is imagine yourself with a suit of armor on so that anything negative anyone says will just bounce right off.
Listen to the the 2-part interview here: