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TMHS 623: Why Mismanagement Of The Human Mind Is Creating A New Mental Health Epidemic – With Dr. Caroline Leaf
We’ve come a long way when it comes to understanding mental health, but just like many other areas of science and biology, we still have a lot to learn. As rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide skyrocket, it’s more important than ever to have conversations about mental health. It’s even more imperative that those conversations are centered around knowledge and empowerment, and that’s what I love about today’s guest.
Dr. Caroline Leaf is a cognitive neuroscientist and bestselling author who specializes in mind management. Today she’s back on The Model Health Show to share the importance of managing your mind, and specific details on how the human mind actually works. You’ll learn why mental health is a prerequisite for overall health, how toxic thoughts create inflammation, and the interesting science behind how your environment influences your mind.
This episode is full of enlightening conversations like the concept of human consciousness and biofield, polypharmacy and what’s behind Americans’ declining life expectancy, and how managing our emotions can increase immune function. You’ll learn about the epigenetic controllers of mental health, and the five-step process you can use to change the way you think. I hope you enjoy this interview with Dr. Caroline Leaf!
In this episode you’ll discover:
- An important distinction between the brain and the mind.
- How the mind-brain-body connection works.
- The three parts of the mind.
- What percentage of the mind is your consciousness.
- How the non-conscious mind works.
- The impact your environment has on your non-conscious mind.
- How your mind can affect the way your body absorbs nutrition.
- Why reframing how you define success is critical.
- How toxic thoughts can upset your body’s balance.
- An important conversation on human lifespan & increasing rates of disease.
- The role environment plays in mental health.
- How to change your brain and immune function.
- What influence genetics has on depression.
- The connection between inflammation, stress hormones, & thoughts.
- How our compartmentalized healthcare system isolates the mind.
- Five steps of the Neurocycle.
- The power of utilizing instinctive elaboration intentionally.
- Why failure is a misnomer.
Items mentioned in this episode include:
- DrinkLMNT.com/model — Get a FREE sample pack with any order!
- Foursigmatic.com/model — Get an exclusive 10% discount on your daily health elixirs!
- Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess by Dr. Caroline Leaf
- Switch On Your Brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf
- Think & Eat Yourself Smart by Dr. Caroline Leaf
- How to Reprogram Your Brain to Make Healthy Choices – Episode 616
- Connect with Dr. Caroline Leaf Website / Podcast /Facebook / Instagram
Thank you so much for checking out this episode of The Model Health Show. If you haven’t done so already, please take a minute and leave a quick rating and review of the show on Apple Podcast by clicking on the link below. It will help us to keep delivering life-changing information for you every week!
SHAWN STEVENSON: Welcome to the Model Health Show, this is fitness and nutrition expert, Shawn Stevenson, and I'm so grateful for you tuning in to me today. Important new research has come out from the field from neuroscience in determining that, our thoughts are actually creating our brain. Now, I know that you might think that our brain is creating the thoughts. However, our special guest today, one of the leading neuroscientists in the world, is going to help us to really have some inner investigation to understand how this really miraculous dance takes place with our mind and our brain.
And she's going to break down how our mind is really creating our brains, how our mind is creating and generating our thoughts. And also going to talk about some of the latest research determining how negative thinking can actually create negative alterations in our brain, even leading to brain damage. Now, of course, this should make a little bit of sense right off the bat because all of our thoughts create correlating chemistry in our bodies. This is how we feel, the things that we feel, is based on our thoughts, can instantly change our biochemistry in a heartbeat. Now, the power of that thought, the power of that emotion, of course, it's going to have cascading events and determine the level of impact that it has, but every thought that we have impacts every single cell in our bodies.
Now, here's the good news. We have the ability to think the thoughts that we want to think. We have agency over our thinking. Now, of course, popular culture has led us to believe otherwise that our thoughts just happen or that we're just thinking in response to the world around us, but we have the ability to think independently of what's happening in the external world. And so, today's episode is also going to direct us to that inner power and that inner authority which is more important than ever. Because truly, mental health and brain management is coming from a place of mind management. And again, we have on leading authority in the world on this subject matter, so I'm very, very excited about this. Now, as we're thinking on the mechanistic side, the outcomes of thoughts and the neurochemistry involved for our brain cells to start to create new connections, the synaptic connections and the dendrites and the axon terminals, and all this integration that takes place when we are having thoughts, especially habitual thoughts, for that data to transfer over from one neuron to another, it's based on electricity, there's an electrical currency exchanges taking place. Now, there are certain nutrients that enable this electrical conduction to take place, signal transduction, and these are minerals that carry an electric charge, namely what we put in this category of electrolytes.
It's got electric and lytes in it. But electrolytes are these catalysts that enable the body to do just about everything that it does, is sodium-potassium pump mechanism that is a precursor just to have activities function in our bodies, but also the critical role of electrolytes like magnesium when it comes to supporting our brain health. A 2016 study reported that magnesium is able to reduce the activity of your sympathetic fight or flight nervous system and turn on the activity of your parasympathetic, rest and digest nervous system, helping to calm down the body, calm down the brain. Another study published in Pharmacological Reports states that magnesium is able to interact with the inhibitory GABA receptors that can help to induce anti-anxiety effects. And what about sodium? We have talked about the sodium-potassium pump.
Well, researchers at McGill University found that sodium functions as a, "On-off switch," in the brain for specific neurotransmitters that support optimal function and protect our brain against numerous diseases. This is in no way something to ignore or to think light of. We really need to shine the spotlight. Alright, that's enough with the lights. Alright. We're going to turn the lights on this conversation and make sure that our brains are well-lit... I couldn't stop myself, to really bring light to the fact that electrolytes, man, that's a lot of lights, are so critical to the form and function of the human brain and also all of our biology. Truly, it's so important.
Now, obviously, we want to get electrolytes from real whole foods. However, today, there is a serious issue with soil degradation and the amount of electrolytes that are accessible in even organic foods. This is definitely a place, and you'll often find this with your biology working better, and your brain working better when you access higher quality electrolytes in a concentrated form. For me, I use L-M-N-T LMNT. Go to drink, LMNT.com/model, and you get access to the very best electrolyte formulation that has used hundreds of thousands of data points to have the right ratios of the most critical electrolytes to cognitive performance and also just the performance of our biology overall, and here's the key. This is without the nefarious addition of sugar, which is added to so many different electrolyte formulations, it's not necessary. And also, sugar has the opposite effect oftentimes with our neurological function.
Alright, so this is what separates LMNT, in one domain and also their data points, and also the value that they deliver, alright. Again, no artificial colors, no sugar added, none of the nonsense, just the high-quality electrolytes that our bodies thrive on, go to drinklmnt.com/model and you get a special bonus gift with every purchase. They're going to send you a bonus sample pack, so you could try all the different electrolytes that they have, alright. So, head over there, check them out, take advantage of this free gift. Go to drinklmnt.com/model right now, get yourself charged up. And on that note, let's get to the Apple Podcast review of the week.
ITUNES REVIEW: Another five-star review titled “Growth” by Joe Hermerding, "Shawn Stevenson's podcast has triggered tons of growth in my life. Not just with nutrition and exercise, but also intellectually and emotionally, when I listen, it accelerates my growth. I would recommend it to anyone who loves to grow."
SHAWN STEVENSON: Wow, that's what it's all about. Thank you so much for leaving that review, over on Apple Podcast. And without further ado, let's get to our special guest and topic of the day. Our guest today is Dr. Caroline Leaf, and she's a neuroscientist and communication pathologist, and the author of several bestselling books, including "Switch On Your Brain," "Think and Eat Yourself Smart," and her most recent book, "Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess." She's been featured at every major media outlet that you can name. And also, a little fun fact, her book is actually one of the staples here at The Model Health Show studios. It's one of the books that I keep on my bookshelf, she's one of my favorite people, one of my favorite teachers, and make sure to stay tuned for after the interview, for some bonus information and empowerment as well. Now, let's jump into this conversation with the amazing Dr Caroline Leaf. Dr Caroline Leaf, welcome back to The Model Health Show, but first time in person, here in LA with me.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Oh, thank you Shawn. It's so nice... It's so much nicer in person than on Zoom. Zooms just don't do it, do they?
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, they should even change their name, Zoom.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: I think so.
SHAWN STEVENSON: What is that supposed to mean? Fast? It's really slower, it's a slower connection...
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: I know... I don't know. It's really slow, it's just a whole...
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Yeah, just to be with a person is so much better, I love it.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, that's the Zoom.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Exactly.
SHAWN STEVENSON: So, I want to start off by asking you an important question, and a lot of people have been asking about this, since you've been on the show. When I'm out doing interviews, other places people ask about this distinction. So, I'm going to ask you about... A lot of people believe that the mind and the brain are synonymous, but there's actually a difference. Can you talk about?
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Oh, absolutely. So, I've got a model brain here. For the Model Brain... Model Shawn Show... Model Brain Show. So, the brain is of physical component, and if we think of it this way, if you had someone dead, sitting here with us now, their brain wouldn't be doing anything, and this is quite significant, if you think of that and you sort of think, "Well, what has that got to do with mind and brain?" But your brain can't do anything without you being alive, so if you think, what is the thing that actually makes a brain do something? It's the fact that you're alive. So, that's what the mind is. So, it's a different way of looking at the mind, the mind is your aliveness and being alive, we're able to have this conversation, we're able to have a relationship, we're able to talk about things and explore things, you can... Life happens, you show up in life. So, your mind is actually using the brain and the body, so it's a mind, brain, body connection, to enable us to function. So, as we're sitting here now, we are making, between the two of us each actually, making somewhere between 800 and a million cells every second, literally. And if you were dead, you couldn't do it, so what's making you make those cells and what's making your heartbeat and what makes the blood flow through your veins? It's your mind, making the brain work.
So, the brain really is just the physical substance, it's a very complex organ. We don't know that much about it. We know a fair amount, but not that much. But the mind is actually the most obvious kind of thing because it's our aliveness. And people often say that consciousness is the hard question of science, but consciousness is one aspect of three parts that the mind has. It's only one part of mind, it's the smallest part of mind, and is it that difficult to understand because both of us are consciously aware of being awake, those people that are watching and listening now, they're consciously aware of watching and listening and being awake. So, consciousness and the rest of the elements of mind, which we can dive into, are the most obvious... It's not the hard question of science, I would say it's the most obvious question of science because the product is sitting right in front of you. You, alive, functioning in life. So, does that kind of make that distinction?
SHAWN STEVENSON: Absolutely, so I'm going to ask a very rote and maybe a little bit simplistic question but...
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Go ahead.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Where is the mind, then?
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: So, that's what... It's an excellent question. So, we have what we call the bio-field, and that's really just your gravitational field that is around you, we're not floating at the moment because of gravity, so we have... We can't see gravity, but we can see the product of gravity, which is us sitting and things not floating, so we don't see mind, but we see the product of mind, us communicating, you responding, you thinking of your questions, me thinking of my answers, you have a family, I have a family, that's all other evidence of mind. So, the mind... If we had to use signs to explain the mind, we could measure it with gravitational fields, so what we have found is that each of us has our own unique gravitational field, that is unique to you as a person, and it's not just around you, but it's in you, how far out it goes, we're not absolutely sure, but there's an electro-magnetic field as well, that works with the gravitational field, and that's what we pick up inside the... The blood flow, the cells, the heart, the lungs, everything about the life-ness of us, is being driven by these electro-magnetic fields and gravitational fields and energy fields, which we would call quantum, so you can use quantum physics, classical physics to explain this energy force.
So, when someone dies, we weigh a little bit less, it's just under two pounds less when we... Something like that, when we die. So, there is something that moves out and then the body starts immediately disintegrating, the instant someone starts is basically their life has gone. So that's that the body starts to disintegrate in the brain. So, mind is your life, it's this life force, there's so many philosophical and spiritual roots we can go down, but it's super interesting to explore that as well. So that's kind of... Does that make sense?
SHAWN STEVENSON: Of course. The thing is that we tend to be very seduced by what we can see.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Totally.
SHAWN STEVENSON: And that's the limit of our kind of human awareness where we are right now, because for years one of the most fascinating things that I saw, there's so much more research being done about the heart brain as well. So, all this electromagnetic...
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Connection.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Connection going on with the heart, the neurons found in the heart, but this tube tourists, right? This kind of field.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Yes.
SHAWN STEVENSON: That expands even from the human heart as well, there's so much more to us.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Oh, so much.
SHAWN STEVENSON: That we can't see.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Exactly.
SHAWN STEVENSON: With our certain spectrum of vision, but we're so much more expansive, and so to consolidate things and say that it's all springing from the brain itself is kind of a limited thinking.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: It is so limited because Shawn, if we had to come back to the dead analogy, if we had a dead person sitting here now, and let's say that we had that dead person's brain in our hand, kind of a gross analogy, but it does kind of catch your attention. We could stare at that brain all day long, and it would never produce a thought, it would never produce an action, it would not be able to make that body that it's attached to if it was still inside the body, do anything if you are dead. So, the fact that we can put technology on a brain and see a response is exactly that. It's a response. It's not the gen... It's not that the brain is generating, it's the brain is responding to an energy field that is coming into the brain and it's changing the structure of the brain, it's changing all the energy fields of the brain, the neurochemicals of the brain, etcetera, which then instruct the body. And that's really what mind is doing, it's driving that force. So, the brain can do absolutely nothing without the mind, and the mind needs the brain otherwise what's the minds? It's got to have some sort of solid thing to settle into, and that's where the brain and the body fulfill that role, if you want to put it that way.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Now you said that consciousness is only one third of this equation.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Yes.
SHAWN STEVENSON: So, what are the other two thirds?
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Okay, so consciousness is one of the smallest thirds, so it's actually... Not even a third, it's around about... If we estimate it's somewhere between 1... Maybe 5%, at an absolute push, 10%, but from the research I've done and looking at my colleagues in the field, it's about 1% of who we are. The conscious mind is only awake when we are awake, and it operates quite slowly, it operates at about 2000 actions per second. And then you've got the non-conscious an N-O-N. I know with my accent sometimes people don't quite get that. So non-conscious, I'm not saying unconscious, I'm saying non-conscious, N-O-N. And the non-conscious mind that is the biggest part of us, that's pretty much a 100% of who we are, and the... It's literally the conscious mind is linked to it, but it's only about 1 to 5% of who we are.
So, the non-conscious mind operates 24/7, it's infinite in its speed and capacity, it is constantly enabling us to actually function moment by moment in life. It's aware of everything going on around us, and it's processing everything so that we can actually function, that we can sit, that we can avoid falling in the middle of the road in traffic, that we can help reach out and drink a glass of water that we are aware of being in a studio. Into a non-conscious mind that is taking in literally a 100% of the signals in the environment, including what people are thinking, feeling. All of that's generating an energy and your non-conscious mind's taking that in. Your conscious mind is deliberately and intentionally focusing on certain things, and those certain things are within our limited capacity that we can consciously focus on.
But the non-conscious mind is taking in pretty much everything in our environment, so some of the stuff in our environments is going to be not so great and that can affect us, but we can come back to that. So, the third part of mind then is the subconscious, and the subconscious is a portal, like a doorway between or a bridge... I think a portal is a better explanation, between the conscious and the non-conscious. So, I think of the non-conscious one way of visualizing this is to think of the non-conscious as an enormously infinite forest filled with trees and the subconscious almost as like this dome, the sort of imagine sort of dome. And when those movies that you see where there's this whole opening up in the atmosphere, that's kind of a nice visual for the subconscious. And then the conscious is this maybe one of the trees moving through the... This door, this portal opening up and then the tree kind of floating through that into our conscious mind.
So, that's if you can visualize that and the conscious mind being small, then this portal sort of being a hole and then this infinite non-conscious. And it's the non-conscious mind that works 24/7, so it's helping us to build our life experiences into the brain and body and mind while we awake and every experience. Every... Like this conversation and what happens from here and going... Are we going from here to the airport and flying, and you going from here to your family, but all of these experiences are experiences that we are having in our mind processes that into our... All the parts of the mind work together to process that into the brain, body and mind students replaces, and then that impacts how we function. Then you get the unconscious, and the unconscious is not a state of... It's not a mind part of mind, it's a state. So, it's sleep, and it's if you're knocked out by a baseball bat or something or if you're under anesthetic something like that. That's the unconscious, so we literally get unconscious versus we are in conscious, non-conscious and subconscious. So non-conscious is operating 24/7, the subconscious and the conscious is operating only when we're awake.
SHAWN STEVENSON: So fascinating, this is so exciting to hear this and to talk about this because, we just to hear that our unconscious mind is taking... It's limitless, it's taking in every single thing.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Everything.
SHAWN STEVENSON: And if you even just take a moment right now, you can start to play a game and isolate and start to pay attention to some of these things that are getting picked up, that you have filtered out it's not part of your conscious. And this reminds me the reason that this is so kind of tangible, is at my wife's birthday party we had a magician, and he did a little bit of hypnosis. And so, I've seen this occurrence where you have picked up something in your environment, but you're not aware of it.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Exactly.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Until you're under that hypnotic state. And then you can retrieve this thing that the magician intended you, or the hypnosis intended you to pick up or identify, it is so fascinating that we are just recording everything like that. But there are some people who have the capacity to recall all this stuff. So those are the people who have that really, it's beyond photographic memory. You know Jim Kwik, right?
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Yes, I do. I just interviewed him today. We did a live together today.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Of course, you did.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: He was speaking at the Biohacking conference.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Of course, you did. But somebody that he had introduced to me many years ago and she was a TV star. And she could recall stuff from like specific dates like 40 years ago. It was so fascinating. But we have this capacity to dial in, but we are just not trained. And that's what's so great about your work is like you're giving us an inroad into how all this stuff works.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Exactly. You summarized that so nicely. And I like the dial in because it literally is as with our conscious mind, which is limited and slow, but it's got veto power. Being limited in time and slower doesn't mean it's not powerful. It's incredibly powerful. And also, all three of parts of the mind are serving an important role. So, when you dial, talk about the concept of dialing in, we are dialing into what? We're dialing into the messages coming from the nonconscious through the subconscious. And that's what's really fascinating because your nonconscious as you reiterated what I was saying earlier on. Is that our nonconscious is taking in everything around us. And not everything, and I mentioned this, is great for us. There's certain maybe political views or things that happen or comments that people make or just bad stuff going on around us that we are taking in and it's impacting how we function because everything that we take in is building into the physical brain and the body.
So, if it's toxic, it's actually creating a damaging state. It can damage, it can increase things like autophagy and it can influence the proteins, the way the proteins fold in the cells and it can influence the functionality of the cells. And it changes the brain structure. But fortunately, there's a protective mechanism in place. So not only is the nonconscious mind taking in everything and actually in charge of this building process, we are... It also searches. So, it's also forming, it's our deep wisdom. It's searching to find anything that's potentially toxic, like this little wire-y tree that I've got here. So, let's say we do have some sort of an experience that, or we are reading the news and we are not really processing it, but it's going in or things are going on around us in our environments, which is contextually things are going around us all the time.
Your nonconscious will search for those. And when it searches for those, then basically what it does is it searches for those to find them, to root them out. Because the more we keep of those. So, think of this huge forest and in it, it's mainly green trees with healthy thoughts. I've got a little... Do we have... Let's take these flowers for the healthy thought would look like those flowers and then that would be the toxic thought. The majority, hopefully of most people's minds is filled with the healthy thoughts. But we do have toxic experiences. It's inevitable. You're going to have toxic experiences, big, small, whatever, but it depends on the person's lifestyles and the expo... Like someone in a war zone is going to have more. Ukraine at the moment they're having 100% of toxic issues happening all the time. The point being is that your nonconscious is looking for these and looking for the ones that are blocking your peace, which you'll then block your cognitive wisdom, your clarity of mind, your decision making, your physical and mental health, your brain health.
And it sends those... Finds the ones that are the most disruptive and sends those through the portal and sends those as thoughts, and thoughts look like trees. And they send 'em through the portal into the conscious mind and sends them with a bunch of signals so they don't just come through and disappear. They come through with a lot of noise. And the noise that they come through with our emotions and what we're saying and doing, our behaviors and how we feel in our body and our perspectives. And so those are the signals. So, when we talk about dialing in, if we dial into those, what I call warning signals, we're then going to find the thought that they're attached to. And that thoughts come from the nonconscious in a protective manner. And if we then pay attention to that, we can then go and deconstruct and reconstruct that thought into something that is manageable.
'Cause the story has happened to us. We can't change what's happened, but we can change what they look like inside of us. But if we don't dial in, those thoughts are still there. They go up into the conscious mind, we can always suppress them, and they go back stronger than before because each burst through the portal creates another energy flow added. So, it goes back even stronger than before. And these are not programs. These are very intelligent thoughts that are dynamic and alive. You're intelligent, you're not a pre-programmed being there's no... There's a lot of teaching around this subconscious being this pre-programmed lots of boxes or filing cabinets...
SHAWN STEVENSON: Factory setting.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Or settings, yeah, or like tape recordings. I don't know. These different verbal ways that people have used to explain it. But it's way more than that. It is... Every experience is a dynamic, very intelligent concept, a thing that's happened. It's a thought that looks like a tree. So, if you look at this tree shape, this toxic one, there's roots, which is the origin. There's a tree trunk, which is the processing, and there's the branches, which is our unique interpretation. And that is a living dynamic thing that is driving your functioning. So, if you... The nonconscious finds those and if you don't pay attention to the warning signals that they are coming up and that are coming up with them, those things will drive you in the wrong direction, and drive you crazy. Those are the things that are frustrating us and lead to levels of trauma and levels of battling with depression, anxiety, this kind of stuff. But if we pay attention to them, if we embrace them and process them and reconceptualize them, we reduce the size, we take the energy away. They just become something little, and the healthier way of thinking takes over. Does that make sense?
SHAWN STEVENSON: Of course.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: It's kind of complicated stuff, but when you think about it, it's not that complicated, I don't think.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, yeah. This is so fascinating. The most beautiful part is that we have the ability to... I'm thinking of like Mr. Miyagi.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Yes.
SHAWN STEVENSON: And be able to kind of trim these branches or even more so get down and deconstruct and reconstruct like you said.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: That's the thing, yeah.
SHAWN STEVENSON: And create the mental outcome, the brain outcome as well, because the brain is a manifestation of the mind that we want. We can consciously do this, but if we are not aware of this, we're going to be at the effect. And I love this. This is something that I've never heard before. I never heard you say, is that what can seem like a negativity bias, if we were conscious of it, is this wisdom, this inner wisdom, where our mind is seeking out things that are toxic in order to protect us.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Exactly, you got it. That's exactly. Because we are in a day and an age where we are literally taught to be suspicious of our emotions. And in being suspicious of our emotions, they are allocated a category, either they're good or they're bad. And if they're bad, there's something wrong with you, your brain, your chemicals, your genes. There's something wrong with you as an individual, and therefore you need to... They're symptoms of an illness that you need to suppress. And that model has taken away people's ability to be human, literally, and process through the emotions of life, which we have to. It's all part of repairing and growing. But if you remove that from people, it creates a lot of dangerous torments on the brain and the body that no kind of supplement or great diet or whatever is going to actually fix. It's your mind, that's got to drive the process, and then those other things come alongside and support, 'cause you have to obviously as you so clearly explained with your work that the diet is so important. But if you don't have your mind right, you could lose 86% of the good advice that you're giving someone in terms of what they're eating. Most people don't realize that that nutritional ability of your body to absorb nutrition is coming from the way that your mind is working. So, we have to monitor and manage our mind which is what I talk about in mind management.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. And by the way, I just want to throw this out there. The person with the superior autobiographic memory that I mentioned before is Marilu Henner. So, she was an actress back in the day.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Okay. I remember that vaguely. I read about that. So that's an exception. They used to call that kind of situation a terrible name, I'm sure you remember it, idiot savant, which is just like... And it was used for a whole category of people that would do these really different things that they would recall all kinds of stuff. So, there's all different ways. Some people do definitely can have maybe a bigger portal that they can actually access stuff quicker and remember just the way that their nonconscious mind stores memories, et cetera. And people also can train themselves to remember a lot more, as Jim, as you know with, Jim Kwik. His story of being traumatically brain injured and learning at being able to do what he does, is a story of how we can train our minds and train our brain.
SHAWN STEVENSON: That's a new oxymoron. I didn't know idiot savant. That's a new one for me, to put that together.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: It's actually a terrible one, it's an old and we used it way back in the '80s and '90s, and I think they've dropped it now because it's quite insulting if you think of it.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Of course, of course.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: It's a terrible name.
SHAWN STEVENSON: This really brings us all to this point. Your data has shown that the way we use our mind is actually predictive of our success in life.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Yeah.
SHAWN STEVENSON: So, what do you mean by that?
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Well, I think let's start with defining success. And most people will think success is being really good at your job, being financially wealthy, an influencer in our current language or lingo, and a lot of external stuff, but it's not. It's a sense of peace from what I understand from my research, and just looking back in ancient wisdom, going back, and looking at philosophy and looking at ancient texts and that kind of thing. Success is not physical stuff. Those are just the kind of add on benefit. True success is a sense of peace within you, 'cause when you have peace, things are working like they should. And you can deal with the ups and downs of life, you don't expect to be happy all the time, you're not pursuing happiness, you are actually pursuing the meaning of life, which is very different. And happiness happens to be one of those things that comes along like maybe the nice car or something like that. But this pursuit of happiness with positive psychology, this pursuit of constantly being like an avatar. Where you've got to be happy all the time and as soon as you're not happy, you're sick, that is that philosophy which has been growing over the last 56 years is... And got really bad in the last 38 years is dangerous.
And it's created for the first time in history, we have people... Well, not the first time in history, the first time in modern generations where we've had modern science and medicine, that can keep people alive longer, what we have... We had an upward trend of people living longer. That's now reversed. And that was picked up, the trend started being picked up in '96, and it's been confirmed periodically over the years. And basically, that trend is showing that people are dying eight to 25 years younger than they should from preventable lifestyle diseases. And I know you know a lot about this 'cause it's really in your wheelhouse. So, if that's the case, if it's preventable and if it's lifestyle 95% of diseases is genetic, that means around about 95% are related to preventable lifestyle issues. So, what that means is that people are getting diseases in this modern age of advanced medicine. People are dying between eight to 25 years younger from preventable lifestyle diseases, which is totally in your wheelhouse because that's what you talk about so much in terms of looking after your lifestyle.
And to look after lifestyle, you have to... That's you managing your lifestyle, what's the you? Mind. It's mind decisions. And we've got this almost distortion around success is if I take this many supplements, do this amount of workouts, do this, eat this way, achieve... Have these goals, hustle culture, whatever it may be. Maybe even there's the shift in the other direction, we've got to have a lot of self-care, there's a huge amount now. We've gone from a hustle culture and now the next phase is, make sure you have a lot of self-care and taking time off for me. You watch the social media; you've watched the trends. From hustle, hustle, hustle to succeed, and now it's gone in the other direction. All of these are... People it's human saying, "Something's wrong." It's swinging from one extreme to the next. Balance is obviously, homeostasis is the whole functioning of our body. And that's what the nonconscious mind is forever looking for, a homeostatic balance. So, anything toxic upsets that balance. So, we have a mechanism in place in our mind, brain, and body to be able to generate these signals. And if we just pay attention, "Hang on I'm getting tremendous gut issues." Or there is a persistent pattern of complaining or there is a persistent irritation or something like that. We shouldn't be ignoring those.
We also shouldn't be throwing a positive affirmation on top of them and thinking, "Okay, I'll just bury them with an affirmation. I'll bury them with a psychoactive drug." Which is what basically what antidepressants and psychotropic drugs do, they're not disease. They're not disease based. Not fixing a disease, they're basically just changing the brain, so that you may temporarily feel better. But that's not the solution. The path to success, the path to greatness comes from processing. It doesn't come from suppressing. And so that's the way I see success is that success... A successful person, in my opinion, is someone who's able to look at themselves now, "How am I functioning now? And how can I improve that? And how's it impacting me physically and mentally?" Because how I function is going to impact me in the world. Because it's not about me, it's happening in the world, but I'm going to have to put my own oxygen mask on and very quickly put on the next person's oxygen mask.
So, then how's me affecting my loved ones and my environment and my work? And it's that monitoring process, that's self-regulation, that's mind management. And in that, we then change our lifestyles. And as we change our lifestyles, we then can start changing these statistics, because we now have this eight to 25. And what the 25 years, Shawn, is frightening. That's related to people that get a diagnosis. So, people that have a mental health diagnosis, and we can talk about diagnoses and how valid they actually are when it comes to mental health. They are the ones that fall into the 25-year bracket. So, if you have a diagnosis, generally you will have more than one because it will start with maybe "I can't. I'm sad. I'm depressed." Okay, you got depression, I can't take the... They take antidepressants they can't focus, so now they have got back and now they have ADHD. And there's a drug attached to each or then they say "Hey, this is not working. It's making me anxious." I get another diagnosis, another drug. Before you notice, we're in an era of polypharmacy, and multiple diagnoses. And that's changed in the last 38 years. It's been a growth factor. And it's actually made things worse.
So, people are living in that, under that, which is pretty much the whole planet at this stage, except for the developing countries which don't have this model. That people are living... People that are getting that kind of diagnosis, they are the ones that are dying to 25 years younger than they should, up to 25, I should say, years younger than they should. And then we talk about Gen Z, it's the first generation growing up. You've got it... Your children are... Your daughter is? How old is she?
SHAWN STEVENSON: So, I have a 26, My son is 22. And my youngest is 20, I'm sorry, 11.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: You've got three kids; I've got four adult children. Yours, you've got one young, two adult children. And they basically the Gen Z is your young one, and Gen Z and Gen Alpha. Gen Z is not... Your two elder ones are Gen Z, your younger one is Gen Alpha. So basically, what we're seeing is Gen Alpha and Gen Z are the first generations to grow up thinking that if I'm sad, there's something wrong with my brain. And drugs or medication is a normal route. And I'm not saying... I know your child... Your children don't have that 'cause you'd have... We have brought our kids up differently. But if you take the average child. If I go and speak at a school now. And I speak to a group of children in that age group, and you ask them what is depression. They'll tell you it's a chemical imbalance. They'll tell you that. And you'll say, "Why do you think you're depressed?" "Oh, because I've got a chemical imbalance." "Why have you got a chemical imbalance?" "Because I'm... " "How do you know?" "Cause I'm depressed."
So, it's this tautology, that doesn't make sense. Whereas 10 years ago, 20 years ago, I could go into a school and talk about this. And I'd say, "What do you think depression is?" They'll say, "Well, I'm getting bullied at school, and my parents are going through a divorce. And I don't want... I've just moved from a new school and no one's accepting me." So, in other words, they're told their story. So, we've taken children's stories away from them. We've taken adult stories away from them because we telling everyone, even people that have gone... All of us have just gone through COVID through this pandemic, loneliness, etcetera, etcetera, not being able to have face-to-face interviews like this. I mean, that has affected all of us. So, people are depressed, they are more anxious. And so, they should be shown, that’s not a new disease that's growing. It's not a mental health pandemic. It is a very normal human reaction. So instead of us putting the fear of God into people and saying, "Oh, no. This is the next pandemic wave, and our children are dying, and suicides are increasing." Yes, they are. But not because there's a mental health pandemic. It's because we have a mismanagement of mind pandemic. We are not allowing people to process their emotions. We're not allowing people to have normal responses. The minute people have a normal response of grieving for a loss... For a loved one longer than a few weeks, you get a diagnosis.
I mean the paradox is just... I mean the... What is it? The cognitive dissonance in the whole thing is crazy. Grief is now... Prolonged grief disorder is now another disorder...
SHAWN STEVENSON: Add it to the list.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: In the DSM and ICD. It's another thing. How does losing a loved one... You never get over losing a loved one. Time just lets you cope but you never get over it. Time does not heal. Time just lets to cope. Now, it's called a disease. Meanwhile, there's absolutely no foundation for these biological 50 years, 60 years search to find some... And billions of dollars to find a biological base.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, you just said it. We're taking away the humaneness.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Yes.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Just by again... And by the way, I'm putting this study up for everybody to see this was just published this year. And the title of this study is the Serotonin Theory of Depression is just a systematic umbrella review of the evidence and they're really bringing to light this theory like you have this chemical imbalance. And then that's so we can prescribe something to try to treat this chemical imbalance...
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Exactly.
SHAWN STEVENSON: When in reality, our emotions in many ways... And I'm so grateful because our emotions are the thing that we tend to see or tend to notice, but they're springing up from something much more deeper. And our skill set what we're really requiring, what you're doing is giving us the skill set to be able to process our emotions process, our mind, and what's coming out. Because what it's doing still it's a natural human response to feel anxiety about certain things or to be depressed about certain things or to take sadness and to medicalize it is a crime.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Totally.
SHAWN STEVENSON: And I'm so grateful for your work and also another thing that you shared.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: And then if I may just jump in...
SHAWN STEVENSON: Sure.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: They showed the authors of that study to end Joanna Moncrieff and Mark Horowitz and colleagues I know them personally, I've interviewed them on my podcast, and have been following them and working with them for years. And that serotonin imbalance is... Do you know that in 1970, I think it's '79, they were already, had already thrown it out of the psychiatric world, in 1991 it was put in the psychiatric textbooks that it is a myth, and it isn't the truth. Yet 85 to 90% of people globally and though of the ones watching us now think that they have depression because they have a chemical imbalance, so it never was. Joanna Moncrieff and Mark Horowitz and colleagues from UCL University College London took the six different ways that serotonin has been studied, from how the levels in your blood to the receptors, to the transit, what they call the search gene, which removes it from the blood and so on from the synopsis.
Well, all of those studies not one single one over 17 years of studies and thousands of people, not one was significantly conclusive that serotonin imbalance is linked in any way to depression. So, none of those studies were true, yet we have people being told that you have depression because you have a chemical imbalance, you have depression because your brain is different. And that comes to things like brain scans, like SPECT scans, and I use qEEG in my research, but qEEG does not tell you if you have a brain disease, because that's what the... If there's a tumor, we can pick up something, but it's simply telling you how your brain is responding. So, SPECT scan and FMR and MRI, qEEG, EEG they are not telling you whether your brain is diseased or not, you can't look at those and say that's a depressed brain, that's a schizophrenic brain. Because it's not doing that your brain changes every moment, so it's simply showing you the response to how you are in that moment.
And you can have a long moment, you can have be sad for a minute it could be going on for weeks or months, and that that will reflect, but that's not the cause, the cause is not in the biology, the cause is in our life circumstances, and then that changes our biology. But if you get it the wrong way around, you point fingers at the individual and you say, "What's wrong with you, versus what's happened to you? What's your story?" And that's what we've got to shift, so and that's the other shift, it's the one that telling people that they have a chemical imbalance and all that stuff, that's what's causing people to die eight to 25 years younger, it's a complete mess.
SHAWN STEVENSON: We've got a quick break coming up, we'll be right back.
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I feel right now the emotions springing up from me is a little pissosity because you just shared the fact that this has been disproven.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: For years.
SHAWN STEVENSON: For a long time, this serotonin theory and also this chemical imbalance, which number... Also don't forget the fact that, oftentimes you're not testing the person actually looking at their blood.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: No.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Or any of this stuff.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: No.
SHAWN STEVENSON: It's based on the conversation. But the point is...
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: And you can't even test for sure... Because sorry to interrupt you, but the studies, it's not... There's not a test that you do, you have to actually do research to look at.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Right.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: And even then, it's simply a guesstimate, because you don't really know what it's doing with all the other chemicals.
SHAWN STEVENSON: But then we wouldn't have this market of SSRIs.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Well, exactly, and we wouldn't have any other gene myth and that it's heritable, that schizophrenia is heritable, and it creates fear, it creates expectations. So, people it's environmental, we have to look at our society, we have to move it away from looking at the individual, that you have depression, there's something wrong with your brain and your chemicals and your genes. To what's going on in your life, what's the circumstance, what's the environment, what's the impact of the environment on you?
SHAWN STEVENSON: Because you're not broken.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Exactly. Sure, you're going to have an impact because the mind uses the brain, so the brain does get damaged like that, but you can undo the damage, you can rewire that damage.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. Billions have been made.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Billions.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Selective serotonin rehab taken inhibitors and not to mention all the other medications used.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Oh gosh.
SHAWN STEVENSON: To treat a symptom.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: And the psychotic the damage they do to the brain and the lung.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Now here is I'm a big results person, look at where we are, has it worked?
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: No, not at all. The research is conclusive that we are worse off now, then we have ever been in when comes to mental health, that every single... If you... What's being done now is groups of scientists are pulling all these studies of the different psychotropics, which is the, is anti-depressants, antipsychotics, antianxiety meds, and Restylane even as anti-stimulants, even their names are wrong. They say anti as though they are fixing something like antibiotic directly targets a pathogen, so it's a disease base, but an anti-depressant does not target a disease base. It's not specific to a disease, it's simply... It's because there isn't a disease foundation, it's simply creating a psychoactive effect in the brain like cocaine or any of the street drugs, even the ketamine’s and all these things they not fixing anything in the brain. And that's the big lie that's been told, this is actually called medical battery, and there's a whole group of scientists that are working on this. Because they're pulling all these studies and they are showing how all the data that was not revealed to the public, and that it wasn't actually significantly effective. And how they played with the numbers to create these so-called significant effects of the drugs they're not there, they don't exist.
SHAWN STEVENSON: You've also shared something so powerful, which is the fact that our thoughts can actually... Negative thinking, chronic negative thinking in particular can create brain damage. And I've got to mention this point, this ties back to something you mentioned earlier about polypharmacy. And we'll put this study up for everybody to see as well, this was published recently, and this was published in BMC Medicine, and it was the relation of severe COVID-19 to polypharmacy and prescribing of psychotic drugs.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: There's been so many of those studies coming out.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Increasing the risk of infection and also the severity of disease.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Exactly.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Because we're not actually dealing with the toxicity from the thoughts that are coming up, the habitual negative thoughts we're not processing.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Exactly. Shawn I'm so glad you brought that study up and I'm so glad you brought this comment, that concept up, because these toxic issues, if we don't process them and by listening to the non-conscious and the signals and everything we've been saying. You get an immune response, immediately to a toxic thought that's exactly the same as, for example, the COVID virus, so we all understand when that COVID virus.
If it gets in your brain through the... Through your nose, through the epithelium, into your brain it doesn't go directly into the brain, but it sits on the... In the inner factory lobe of the brain in the inside the brain, but it affects it, okay? And then it affects our body, now we know immediately that's a pathogen. So, we know that the immune system immediately sends out immune factors, and what does it do? It goes and sends out the immune factors to create, and I'm going to do this very simplistically, inflammation in the area where there is a potential threat to your life. So, wherever there's a threat the immune system sends out soldiers they build camp literally around that source, and they... The inflammation is pro-inflammatory, it’s healthy, you know all this I'm just explaining something.
So, we get this, everyone kind of knows this, then when the pathogen is controlled, then that you get the anti-inflammatory response. So, then the immune system builds a memory, so that next time when that particular effect comes back, your immune system knows how to respond more effectively. Which is what we're trying to do with viruses, the vaccines, and things like that. So, we'll get that, but do you know that you get the exact same thing with a toxic thought? So, let's say that you haven't dealt with a trauma, let's say that there's someone in your office that's driving you crazy, let's say you've got a relationship issue. You're not resolving something between you and a partner, let's say that you have got this constant nagging situation that's happening in your life, that you've got this constant intrusive thought that keeps coming up. And intrusive thoughts, by the way are your best friend, because they contain the information that will give you control back of your life.
But if you are not dealing with those, those things are getting the same immune response. So, in other words your brain's immune system and your body's immune system do not know the difference between whether it's the COVID virus or whether it's that toxic argument you just keep on having with your husband or your wife or your partner or your boss or whatever. They are the... They see them the same way, because that experience, you're having is a physical thought made of proteins, it is a change in every cell of your body. As is that pathogen that's how the COVID virus is little hooks, it's a real physical thing, as physical as that thing is how physical or toxic thoughts are. And we can change that, and the hope is the beauty of this whole thing is, "Okay, well if I don't take drugs, then what do I do? And if I don't my diagnosis made me feel more comfortable, the drugs helped me."
These are... I know this is what's going through some of the viewers and listeners heads, and yes, for a moment in an acute situation, where you just gone through a terrible trauma maybe to numb your emotions for 24 hours or 48 hours, or maybe as you need in the first couple of weeks of a trauma. That's understandable, it's like you're taking Ibuprofen for a bad headache, you're not going to live on the Ibuprofen, you're going to take it in the moment. But you can't... Your body can't sustain taking Ibuprofen in the long term, your liver will... You will have problems with all different parts of your body. By the same token we need to address that with how we are managing our emotions, and how we are managing our thoughts and the emotions and behaviors and things that they generate.
We need to recognize that we have to actually process them and not just push them down and suppress them. So, the medication is not treating the problem, and that's what people have been led to believe. So, the hope is that because our change, brain is always changing, if we embrace that pain and go through a process of processing and reconceptualizing, deconstructing, reconstructing, working out the why this has happened, what can I do? That painful process which happens in cycles of 63 days, it's... I've even worked out the timing of how this mind, brain, body connection goes. We then can allow our immune responses of our bodies to also get healthy. So, there's tremendous hope, you not sitting with depression as a genetic disease for the rest of your life and thinking that's it, do you know how many people Shawn says to me, "Oh gosh, my mom had it, my dad had it, decided to... So, I just thought that this is... "
I just had this conversation with someone the other day, they just thought, "Well, I'm feeling depressed, and I've come from a family and they're all crazy, and so I thought, what's the hope?" And just kind of this person just wanted to lie on the couch and give up on life, and then saw their child battling and I said, "No, that's not the situation." And they'd gone through the system that I've been training them, but essentially what they said was that they didn't realize that there was hope, they didn't realize that this is not genetic, it's environmental. I'm seeing my parent go through this, my environment is maybe poverty stricken, socioeconomic trauma, whatever. So, the combination of the environment and the epigenetic factors of seeing your parents go through it, etcetera, activates that response. And so, it's not a genetic thing, it's epigenetic, which means it's environmental.
It's the environment that's influencing. You've interviewed Bruce Lipton and I think, so you understand epigenetics sees great on epigenetics explanations. And so, it's the environment that's affecting us, so if we can remove that and say, "Okay, get your context of your life that's your narrative, that's your story, how can we change it?" So, there is hope, because you can change your brain, your brain is never the same. So, to show someone a SPECT scan and say, "This is psychotic depression, you have this disease." Is a terrible thing to say to someone because it makes you think, "Oh my gosh, my brain, what hope is there." And the research shows, and Joanna Moncrieff and I talk about this in one of my interviews, that the research shows that if you think that if you get given a diagnosis, your initial response is positive, "Oh, that's why I'm like this." But then it swaps very quickly and that person's ability to heal reduces dramatically, because they lose their hope. Now what? It's an empty gift. It seems like a gift, but you opened up now what? And that's what we don't want to have, I want to give people full gifts filled with the gift of life and success and internal peace, etcetera.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, and that's what your work is all about, including your amazing book Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess, which people need to get copy like yesterday. And of course, you can pick it up anywhere their books are sold and your podcast by the same name.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Yes.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess, one of the top podcasts in the country as well. And today we're really dissecting the core issue here and really bringing it up, kind of springing up a new thought tree for folks and putting the power.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: A healthy one.
SHAWN STEVENSON: A healthy one, and putting the power into your hands to change, because also one of the last things you just said is that it's so malleable like these are things that can change so quickly. It's just about time to get to work, especially right now.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Exactly.
SHAWN STEVENSON: And I'm so grateful for you, and can you let everybody know where they can follow you, and of course mention the name of your podcast and books again.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Thank you, thank you Shawn. You and I always have such a good discussion and just the time just seems to fly by. So, thank you for having me on again, I really appreciate it. And my podcast and all my social media handles are Dr. Caroline Leaf, my podcast is called Cleaning Up the Mental Mess, and you can find me at drleaf.com but they can find... Once you go to Instagram, you can find, as you know, you can find me. So, Dr. Caroline Leaf. And I have a new book coming up next year. Shawn, I know you have one too, and it's basically helping parents to help their children clean up their mental mess. 'cause you can teach children as young as two and three how to manage their mind, and that's what's very powerful to know.
SHAWN STEVENSON: What a gift, what a gift to give our children.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Yes. Can you imagine.
SHAWN STEVENSON: We talked about this, both of our next books have to do with family and kids.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: It's fantastic.
SHAWN STEVENSON: So, we're on the same wavelength.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: We're on the same page, we'll do another interview, both of us, with the next lot of books.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Absolutely. I appreciate you so much.
DR. CAROLINE LEAF: Thank you, I appreciate you, Shawn.
SHAWN STEVENSON: Awesome. Dr. Caroline Leaf everybody. Mind management truly is at the foundation of all health management. As Dr. Leaf was detailing, even our outcomes from infectious diseases can be exacerbated by dysfunctional thinking. And for a little bit of proof, we have some new peer reviewed data on this information as well. One of these studies, this is published in the journal, Brain Behavior, and Immunity, demonstrated how mood disorders dramatically increase COVID-19 risk and potentially make your body's disease response equal to that of an elderly person, which as you know was a particular demographic who was disproportionately susceptible to COVID-19.
The researchers noted how mood disorders can create abnormal senescence in our T-lymphocytes, dysfunction in our immune system memory cells, and increased pro-inflammatory cytokines. She said something so remarkable that I don't want us to miss, which is wherever dysfunction and toxicity is going, whether it's from an external insult or from our own chemicals that we're producing via our thoughts, it's going to drive inflammation. Inflammation is not something negative inherently, it's a natural response of the body to bring about the conditions for healing or protecting the body from what's deemed to be an insult or an intrusion. Every single thought that we have creates correlating chemistry in our bodies. We can elicit the release of stress hormones that can drive dysfunction but can also serve us. Stress hormones are not inherently bad in and of themselves either, these stress hormones can get produced in order to drive us to behaviors that can protect us, that can help us to be on top of our game, to get a project done, to do something that needs to get done with our family. It's not that it's all bad, but when it's being hyper-released or chronically released, that's when we can get into a place of dysfunction, because one of the great things that I learned from Dr. Leaf is that the human body does not have a design that is nurturing or catering of toxicity.
The human body is not designed to have continuous insults. The way that we're designed, our brain and our bodies do not hold up well or facilitate rampant toxicity. Yes, we are resilient and we have the capacity to process things, but our bodies are always seeking to get back to homeostasis, in a state of regeneration, a state of symbiosis, a state of growth, we have a design that is conducive to balance, and so having thoughts of constant pain and anguish and dis-empowerment and depression, this is creating a dysbiotic situation in the body itself that we're talking about, of course, the microbiome, but truly just within the cells of our body itself, because our thoughts don't even operate in isolation. Every thought that we have impacts every cell in our bodies, that's how we're designed, it can't help but be that way, but we tend to think about these things in these isolated components because that's the way that our system of health and our understanding of even Anatomy, everything has become so compartmentalized.
Each part of you has a different specialist who oftentimes doesn't communicate with the rest of the specialist, and so we have this situation where we don't really understand that we are one whole entity, our body and our mind are inseparable, but the mind has been pulled out of the equation in recent years, but now it's making this resurgence, even going back to the father of modern medicine. Hippocrates said, "It's more important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has." At its core, he's talking about the power of the mind and how our perception of reality, our perception of ourselves is going to deeply impact our health outcomes. He's literally saying the father of modern medicine, he's talking about the power of the mind, and yet over time over these centuries, the mind has been more and more pulled out of the equation, and everybody is subject to what is called, "Standard of care." Standard of care, we're not looking at the underlying mechanisms, the underlying thoughts and perceptions that have caused us to take certain actions that might have contributed to the manifestation of a disease, we're not looking at what sort of person has the disease anymore.
We're just looking at the disease itself and treating the disease, treating the symptoms of that disease. That is not real healthcare. That is sick care. Real healthcare starts from within. Truly, if we're talking about something tangible in the sphere of science, your body does the thing, your body heals the problem, it's not an outside object, it is your body's interaction with that thing that creates the result, it is always the intelligence of the body in response to what it's exposed to. Now, on a deeper level, that all change itself is truly an inside job, it starts from within. Sometimes, of course, we try to focus on the external so much and that's what makes it so difficult and what can snap us right back into our habitual patterns that maybe got us into a place where we're not getting the results that we want, it's because we're so focused on the external action instead of focused on changing from within.
And so, one of the really remarkable things about Dr. Leaf's work and I highly encourage you to check out her book, Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess, she talks about the neuro cycle and being able to get in and actually change and get to the heart of where our thoughts are coming from, being able to intentionally change our minds. And our minds, coupled with our beliefs determine our thoughts, and our thoughts determine our actions, and our actions determine our results. But what's at the core of it? At the core is the mind. The core is getting to the place where we're changing our beliefs, and so just giving you a snippet of the neuro cycle, number one is the gather, this is going within, this is gathering information, this is being able to have some introspection, right? The tenet is to know thyself, this ancient tenet, "Know thyself." And we just did an episode really dedicated to reprogramming our mind, and so we'll put that for you in the show notes. Or, of course, if you're watching this on YouTube, you could check that out right after this episode, we'll put it up for you, but the bottom line is this, we have the ability to look within, and that's really where the answers are going to be.
Because within ourselves, we know the cause and cure of the issue already, we know the answers, but oftentimes we're so externally focused that we're looking for someone else to tell us what the truth is. But being able to have introspection to look within to gather information. We have to take time to stop being distracted and to spend some quality time with ourselves. Alright, some QT with ourselves. Alright, getting to know yourself. How is that not the most important relationship in our reality? We're so focused on external relationships, which are incredibly important, but there's so much that lives within our spirit that lives within us and to commune with that. It is one of the most powerful things that we could do, but how often are we doing that in our lives today? Is it an accident that our attention is being so pulled in all these different directions that we're so distracted? It's not an accident at all that we couple that with the society that has the highest rate of chronic diseases ever seen before in human history, with all of our advances, you would think that this wouldn't even be possible.
We know so much and yet our health is so tragic, that story has to change, and it starts by us going within. So, number one is to gather, to gather intel, that's what you do before you go on the excursion or before you hit the ground with the operation, gather intel. Number two in that neuro cycle is to reflect, this is where you use the inner tools that we already have that we often outsource, or we don't take advantage of. Ask questions, utilize this instinctive elaboration, this innate program that the human mind is displaying through the brain, by asking questions. The human mind is obsessed with questions, with our dominant questions, questions are really the answer, they drive our focus. And it's one of those things that have been used in popular media to keep us hooked to keep us questioning. Like, what's going to happen next? You know, at the end of that episode, they have that open loop, have you questioning things so that you go right to the next episode, right?
So, in Instinctive Elaboration, we all have a dominant question that we're asking ourselves, and for some folks that might be, how can I make this moment more special? Or how can I be of service? Or it could be, how can I get people to like me? Or it can be, why me? Why is my life so hard? Right? So, we have a dominant question that we tend to have displaying automatically. We might not even be conscious of when it's going on, but I had that dominant question of, "Why me?" when I was dealing with a diagnosed chronic incurable degenerative spinal condition... So-called incurable, my habitual question, my dominant question was, why me? Why me? Why did this happen to me? Why won't somebody help me? And so, by posing that question, we innately look for the answers, so I'm seeking often times that non-conscious mind as Dr. Leaf articulated, is getting all this data from the environment where our subconscious and conscious can start to identify things that are deemed to be important to us because we're guiding our focus on what's getting in by our questions. So, I'm finding things to affirm why me? Why no one will help me. And it's generally going to be more negative qualities that I'm seeing and reasons why I'm unhelp able. Reasons why I'm unworthy.
Reasons why I don't deserve to feel better. But eventually that question shifted when I realized that I've been outsourcing my potential and my power to people who are well-meaning, who give me this diagnosis, who are telling me that I can't get better, but I realize they're telling me I can't get better. I want to get better and they're telling me I can't. If I'm going to listen to them, I already know that the end of that story that's not my lot in life, that's not the story that I'm choosing to write. And so, I had to take responsibility for my life, for my health, for my story and I ask a simple question to change everything. What can I do to feel better? What can I do to get healthy? It changed my focus instantaneously. Now, of course, the thing is even within that, this isn't just going to stick, there's more to the neuro cycle but this was starting the process. And so, ask questions. Also, of course, answers are going to become coupled with that. And also discuss, this can be an internal discussion, or this can be an external discussion with your trusted advisors, this can be people in the health care domain, this can be counselors, this can be trusted friendships, family, spiritual directors, practitioners, most importantly is the discussion within ourselves. Now we might be like, "I can't talk to myself, that's crazy. People who talk to themselves... " You do it all the time. You do it all the time.
Alright? Christopher Williams... Shout out to Christopher Williams, he had a hit song called, "I talk to myself 'cause there is no one to talk to." People ask me why I do what I do? Mmh! At first bar people call me crazy, and think I'm deranged they think I'm insane. But hey, is that broken heart vibes? He's talking to himself, trying to process, he's trying to process the game. Alright, Christopher Williams, this is shout out. New Jack City soundtrack. Right. New Jack City was an era of my life, shout out to Wesley Snipes and Ice T, Chris Rock and also Christopher Williams was in the movie and also hit song on the soundtrack as well. But this process of discussing within ourselves our questions, our answers being able to discuss this, that processing piece and also external discussion as well as very valuable, just the process of speaking and sharing, getting it out of your head and out of your lips is very cathartic on so many levels because it forces us to do this next thing which is to consolidate and to provide clarity to articulate something because our thoughts can be very fleeting and very scattered and very seemingly sporadic and we might not be able to catch them and to really understand them.
Right? We'll have feelings attached. It can just seem like a lot of chaos, this is number four in the neuro cycle, so number one is gathered, number two is reflected, number three is to write down the data that you're extracting, right? Write it down, this adds clarity and helps to consolidate these things, there's something really powerful, seemingly magical about spelling, casting the spell, spelling it out, there's something really magical about that process because it's providing consolidation and clarity, it's making you vocalize and give some personification to these things that are going on in your mind and you can look at them from more of a meta perspective, step out, there's some detachment that takes place, it brings a layer of logic and rationality to things that can seem very illogical as they're rattling around in our minds. So that's another value again of discussing it too, of getting that out and discussing it with another person. Number four on the neuro cycle, and again, this is really highlighted so much more in depth, I'm just touching on it here to provide a little bit more of some action steps today but number four is to re-check, so what I said earlier is I shifted that question and instantaneously my life changed, but it could have reverted back, I had that thought tree, the dominant thought tree was, Why me?
That was still my reality, I laid down more myelin and firing that same thought off, that was stronger at the time but there was so much emotion behind this new question, it created a really strong root system very quickly. But now I need to re-check. I need to re-analyze, go back, let life happen and then re-test, I don't just got it. That's another huge mistake in our realities we think that we just got it. We've got something figured out. You want to be an eternal student because as soon as you think you've got something to figure out something tends to happen, right? Something tends to happen, so stay open, continue to re-check, especially in the beginning process, keep going through these steps and number five is active reach, so this is the phase where we practice, we apply and also to really level things up, this is where we teach. It's such a valuable experience. Really, part of being a human is being able to teach our community in particular the younger community, right? To be able to pass on wisdom but also teaching, there's a sentiment of teaching what you want to learn, right? So being able to share your experience which you've discovered and to provide some insight, it might be insight into what not to do. Right?
Success leaves clues but so does failure, right? But also, you know especially once you see that episode when we talk about eight ways to reprogram your thinking, failure is a misnomer, because the only way that you truly fail at a thing is if you don't learn something from it, it's an opportunity to learn to adjust and to keep moving forward. So, practice, apply and teach. Alright, so again, she goes much more in-depth into the neuro cycle in her wonderful book, Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess. I truly hope that you've got a lot of value out of this episode please share this out with your friends and family and of course make sure that you're subscribed to the Model Health Channel, alright? On YouTube, make sure that you're subscribed, of course, on the podcast media and the audio platform but subscribe to the YouTube channel, we've got some exclusive YouTube content that we're going to be sharing very, very soon, so you don't want to miss a thing. And also, if you're watching on the YouTube, leave a comment, let me know what your big takeaway was from this episode. We've got some incredible episodes, some master classes and world-class guests coming up for you very, very soon, so make sure to stay tuned take care. Have an amazing day. I'll talk to you soon.
And for more after this show, make sure to head over to the modelhealthshow.com, that's where you can find all of the show notes, you can find transcriptions, videos for each episode and if you got a comment, you can leave me a comment there as well and please make sure to head over to iTunes and leave us a rating to let everybody know that this show is awesome and I appreciate that so much and take care, I promise to keep giving you more powerful, empowering great content to help you transform your life. Thanks for tuning in.
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