LeadershipMind DevelopmentPersonal Development

Who Switch Off My Brain?: by Caroline Leaf

For more than 25 years Dr. Carolyn Leaf has been researching the human brain, with particular emphasis on unlocking its vast untapped potential. Her passion is to help us achieve much more of that potential by cleansing our thought-life of toxins.

This book contains yet another clear explanation of how science continues to prove that the mind-body connection is real. All behavior starts with a thought. Thought stimulates emotion, which drives our actions. She describes it as a symphony of electrochemical reactions in the body, which affect the way we think and feel. Therefore, toxic thoughts produce toxic emotions, which lead to toxic attitudes, resulting in toxic behavior.

This book can be seen as a detox manual that describes the anatomy of a thought and the influence it has over emotions and attitudes. When we understand more about how it all works, we can learn how to control and change our thoughts, which will result in changed emotions and changed behaviors.

At any one instant, your brain is creatively performing about 400 billion actions. Each of these harmoniously regulated actions have both chemical and energetic components that are responsible for triggering emotions.

So when you feel happy, your brain releases specific types of chemicals or neurotransmitters called endorphins or “feel good chemicals.” These endorphins are also the body’s natural pain killers. But when you feel sad, afraid or angry your brain releases different types of hormones. Actually, your brain and body can be compared to a prolific pharmaceutical factory producing a variety of chemicals depending on what type of emotion you’re experiencing.

Emotions that regularly release a torrent of destructive chemicals that are the most damaging over time are: unforgiveness, anger, rage, resentment, depression, worry, anxiety, frustration, fear, excessive grief and guilt. Scientific research shows that around 87 percent of illnesses can be attributed to our thought-life, while only 13% are caused by diet, genetics and environment.

Dr. Leaf reports that studies link most chronic (lifestyle) diseases to an epidemic of toxic emotions in our culture. These toxic emotions can cause migraines, hypertension, strokes, cancer, skin problems, diabetes, infections and allergies, to name just a few. And despite all the marvels of modern high-tech medicine, these illnesses are increasing worldwide.

The verdict is in. The mind and body are totally integrated, which means that not just your brain, but every cell in your body has memory. If your thought-life is toxic then you have toxic memories physically built into the neuronal connections of your mind, and the chemicals that accompany those toxic thoughts are coursing through your body in a series of feedback loops. The long-term effects may take years, but along the way you will suffer nagging illnesses, aches and pains. And all this time you will be deaf to the signals your brain is screaming at you, trying to get you to wake up and take notice before it’s too late. But the good news is that your brain can start to recover from years of accumulation of toxic waste in less than four days!

So what are some of the steps to detoxing? Start by understanding that your brain and body work together every second, and that your thoughts are things. Understand that most of us engage in a pattern of thoughts that repeat over and over every day. Become very conscious of what you’re thinking. How many “could have,” “would have” or “should have” statements have you uttered today? How many “if onlys” were a part of your internal dialogue today? How many negative scenarios have you created of your future? How many times have you replayed a painful conversation or situation in your head? How much time do you spend speculating on “what bad thing might happen?” So become conscious of what you’re thinking and speaking. It might surprise you.

Also, find something to redirect your thoughts to, something you really want to do or something that makes you feel really happy when you think about it. This activates beneficial feel-good hormones and chemicals which literally flood your cells, raising your mood and your attitude. Then you begin to act out of those uplifting emotions rather than the old fearful ones.

Develop an attitude of gratitude. Be thankful for what you have now so that you can more easily reach your goals and dreams. Focus on happy memories of good times and consciously anticipate special events that are coming up. Associate with uplifting people. Spend time with those who bring you joy and happiness, not people who drag you down or irritate you. Hug your children often. Showing love is the greatest de-stressor there is. Research shows that loving touch automatically causes the release of natural healing chemicals in the body.

Know what your goals are and think about them every day. Focus on them, write them down, create positive scenarios around them, and see yourself achieving them. Remember, every time you feel good, you are coming closer to them. Find a way to play as often as possible. Laughter really is the best medicine, as it instantly releases a flood of feel-good chemicals that boost the immune system, simultaneously reducing levels of stress hormones. In fact, laughing 100 to 200 times a day is equal to 10 minutes of rowing or jogging!

Do your exercise anyway, in addition to laughing. Increased blood flow from the heart nourishes and cleanses the brain and organs. And if you break into a sweat, you will also get the added benefit of mood improvement prompted by the release of endorphins. Drink lots of pure water and eat healthy food to nourish your body and brain properly. Be conscious of what and why you are eating. And realize that sometimes when you think you’re hungry, you’re actually just thirsty.

There are additional suggestions which are beneficial, but basically this book is about changing your thoughts, which will change your emotions, which will change your life. It’s sometimes hard to see what’s happening because you’re right in the middle of it, but it all starts with being aware of your thoughts, and understanding how they are controlling your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual life. Dr. Leaf understands that toxic thoughts and the chemicals created by them do destroy brain cells, and that’s why her book is named Who Switched Off My Brain? Only you can control your thoughts.

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Title: Who Switch Off My Brain?

Author: Carolyn Leaf

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