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Renewing the Mind-Brain

Craig Lesher
I Feel Goood, LLC

Book Review: Switch on Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking and Health by Dr. Caroline Leaf, Baker Books, 2013, 240 pages

If you have a drinking glass Super Glued© to your hand, you are probably relieved to know there is a solvent for that. Similarly, there is a process for reshaping or dissolving bad memories and accelerating healing, forgiveness and reconciliation. Why is it, someone asked, that I can’t remember what I need to but conversely I can’t forget what I want to? This post reviews a book about reshaping memories by Dr. Caroline Leaf, PhD.

Dr. Leaf, is a cognitive neuroscientist with a PhD in Communication Pathology. Since the early 1980‘s she has studied and researched  the Mind-Brain connection.  During her years in clinical practice as a Communication  Pathologist she developed tools and processes that help people develop and change their thinking and subsequent behavior. Her book is life-changing. She explains, “There are intellectual and medical reasons to forgive,” and she attributes several illnesses to toxic thought.

In Switch on Your Brain she shows the way to renewing one’s mind and using free-will to take back control of the brain. Yes, she sees brain and mind as two separate entities. The mind transcends what the brain computes.

Part 1: How to Switch on Your Brain in the first half of this 240-page paperback, also available in kindle at amazon.com, explains how memory and emotions are stored in the brain and how the connectedness of quantum physics can work against us unless the mind intervenes to transform or reshape memory. This concept is liberating. Part 2 describes a five-step, 21-day detox-the-brain plan that takes 15-30 minutes a day.

In Part 1, The author describes the brain’s functions in a way that I was able to grasp. Even though amygdala and hippocampus are foreign to me, it helps to know that those brain areas were named that way because they mean almond and sea horse respectively in Greek. The key to Dr. Leaf’s process is to first allow the five-senses which mostly pass through the brain stem to bring memories to mind in the limbic system. Memories may then be re-experienced by placing them and their associated emotions in the frontal lobe or executive center. Since these memories are like soft plastic in this area of the brain, they are subject to change. Dr. Leaf explains how to take advantage of this neuroplasticity in renewing our minds. In Part 2, she explains how to put this information into practice. Her metacognitive-map and thought drawings are ingenious ways to visually represent on paper what the brain stored in memory.

I have found that Dr. Leaf’s five-step detox process is not only helpful just as she describes it in the book, but it has breathed new life into my prayer and Bible study times. Reshaping memories and Step 5 reach points are daily actions now. But not everybody needs to know how a watch works to tell what time it is. If you’re memories won’t let go of you, however, take a look at Dr. Leaf’s book and the 21-day detox.

Next up: Book review. The COACH Model for Christian Leaders: Powerful Leadership Skills for Solving Problems, Reaching Goals, & Developing Skills by Dr. Keith E. Webb, DMin

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