What does the content of your mind look like? Do you sometimes have thoughts you don’t want to have? Do you sometimes feel emotions you don’t want to feel? My guest today has recently published a book called Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess: Five Simple, Scientifically Proven Steps to Reduce Anxiety, Stress and Toxic Thinking which contains techniques and practices that can help any of us whether we have a diagnosed mental health problem or not.
My guest is Dr. Caroline Leaf, a cognitive neuroscientist, researcher and best-selling author. Since the 1980s, Dr Leaf has researched the mind-brain connection, the nature of mental health and the formation of memory. She was one of the first in her field to study neuroplasticity and how the brain can change with directed input from our minds. Over the years, Dr Leaf has helped transform the lives of many people around the world – she’s helped people with traumatic brain injury, stress, anxiety and depression, but the tools that she shares are relevant for anyone who wants to improve the functioning of their minds.
We begin our conversation talking about the difference between our minds and our brains – these two terms are often used interchangeably but Dr Leaf explains why this is a mistake. She explains how it’s our mind, both our conscious mind and our non-conscious mind, that actually control our brain. It is because of this, she says, that we are much more in control of our symptoms than we might think.
Dr Leaf believes that many of the conventional clinical approaches to mental health and well-being are misguided and limiting. Her approach reframes things like depression and anxiety as a response, rather than an illness. Signs and symptoms, she says, always point to a thought or belief that has caused them. So instead of medicating them away, Dr Leaf believes that we need to spend more time looking for the cause.
It is Dr Leaf’s firm belief that we can all benefit from what she calls ‘mind management’. Whether we want to build a healthier, more resilient brain, whether we want more focus or whether we want to reduce negative thoughts that are affecting us, Dr Leaf has pioneered a five-step protocol to help us do so. In this conversation, she reveals just what those steps are and how we can all put them into practice in our everyday lives.
Disclaimer: The content in the podcast and on this webpage is not intended to constitute or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.*
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Watch the video version of this interview – click below.
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Dr Leaf’s book:
Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess: Five Simple, Scientifically Proven Steps to Reduce Anxiety, Stress and Toxic Thinking†
Related Feel Better Live More episodes:
#163 How to Silence Your Inner Critic (and Why You Should) with Dr Kristin Neff
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