Ben Bennett is joined by Dr. Caroline Leaf to explore neuroscientific research and practical steps to overcome anxiety and toxic thoughts. By better understanding brain science, you can grow, heal, and experience lasting changes. Move past feeling stuck and step into true freedom!
Dr. Caroline Leaf is a communication pathologist, cognitive neuroscientist, mental health and mind expert, best-selling author, and top health podcast host. Her latest book, Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess offers five proven steps to help readers overcome the unhealthy thinking habits that contribute to anxiety, depression, and intrusive thoughts, and replace them with positive thinking that leads to health, happiness, and success.
Connect with Dr. Leaf at: drleaf.com
Subscribe to Dr. Leaf on YouTube: https://youtube.com/user/DrCarolineLeaf
Visit the Resolution Movement website: resolutionmovement.org
Follow us on Instagram @theresolutionmovement
(upbeat music) - Welcome to the Resolution Podcast, where we believe it's possible to overcome struggles and thrive in life. Here, we discuss mental health, trauma, brokenness, healing, and ultimately how we can experience a thriving life with Jesus and others. These conversations are informed by my new book, "Free to Thrive," coauthored with Josh McDowell. I'm your host, Ben Bennett. Welcome to season two. Welcome back to the Resolution Podcast. Ben Bennett here and I am just so pumped for today's episode. I'm joined by the one and only Dr. Caroline Leaf and we're gonna be talking about how to overcome anxiety and toxic thoughts by understanding brain science. Dr. Leaf is a communication pathologist, cognitive neuroscientist, mental health and mind expert, best-selling author, and top health podcast host. Her latest book, let me just tell you, "Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess" is awesome. Read it through and through. It offers five proven steps to help readers overcome the unhealthy thinking habits that contribute to anxiety, depression, and intrusive thoughts and replace them with positive thinking that leads to health, happiness, and success. Dr. Leaf, thank you so much for being with me today. - Well, thank you, Ben. It's wonderful to be with you and thank you for inviting me. - Absolutely. It's great to have another person that lives in Texas on the podcast. - It doesn't happen that often now, being interviewed mainly by people everywhere else, except in Texas. I think one other one in Austin. So you're the number two. - That's awesome. Well, anxiety, negative thoughts, stress, man, these things can impact just about all of us in our day. And honestly, one of the most important things I've learned in my healing and therapy and spiritual journey is the importance of understanding how all of our struggles are impacted by the mind and how our struggles can change our minds and also how we can leverage our brains to experience freedom. So we'll go ahead and jump in to the topic today. Dr. Leaf, as we begin, will you just share with us why it's important to understand how our brains function when it comes to mental health and then also the problems that we're seeing when we don't understand how our brains function and impact our mental health? - Absolutely. And I think what's very important just to answering that is just to kind of reflect back at a comment that you made in your introductory statement about the fact that people struggle and that is so true. So I want to start off by saying up front that since the beginning of time, humans have struggled with mental health. So mental health is not something new. It's not something that's on the rise. It's something that's always been around. And what we currently have is an era of terrible mismanagement of mental health, which has resulted in so many problems that we are seeing currently as well besides the fact that there's all the things going on in the world, but things have always gone on in the world and humans have always existed in the world where things have been going on and a lot of those have been adverse experiences. So our mental health will be affected by adverse experiences and that's not actually a disease. It is just a response to adverse experiences. So that's a very different narrative to the current mental health narrative, which is one of that any experience, any kind of emotion that's on the on the toxic side or negative side that you have a brain disease or a neuropsychiatric brain disease or some neuro-biological correlate for your emotions or that there's something wrong with you like diabetes or cancer. And that message has been very, very, very damaging and it's very unscientific and has caused a lot of the mismanagement of mind that we are referring to. So perhaps the best place to, I just wanted to sort of outline that and explain that when we talk about mind and we talk about brain and the importance of understanding brain, we need to understand brain in the context of how is it different from mind and what do the two do and what's the interaction and what's that got to do with mental health? So I think that might be, is that okay, Ben, if I start sort of answering the question around that? So first of all, your brain is not your mind. That's probably the most important thing I can say today because as long as you think the brain is your mind, which is the current narrative, which is unscientific and incorrect, but as long as you think that, and it's not your fault, because that's what the general media say, what's been presented in the current narrative for the past 40 years, is that when you think your mind is your brain, it's going to take away a lot of feeling of control, autonomy, empowerment, and hope because if it's your brain, well, what can I do about it? And just by the mere fact that we are even talking today about the role that our brain plays instinctively by you asking that question, then you've recognized, hey, there's more to this. There must be something I can do if I understand more about my brain. So there's inherently, instinctively, in our wisdom, mind, we understand that there's something going on here that we do maybe have some level of control. So I want to stress that we do have control. We do have an ability to control our brain. So we actually control the brain. What's the we that's controlling? That's the mind. So the mind is the aspect of who you are as a human that is controlling the physical brain and body. So the brain doesn't control the mind. The brain doesn't produce the mind, which is also what we hear and can read very often is that the brain produces thoughts. It can't. I can hold up your brain out of your head. If I took your brain out your head, which I wouldn't do, and I held it up in my hand, we could stare at it all day and it wouldn't do anything. Once a person dies, the brain and the body will disintegrate. At least the organs are preserved in some way, but there's not going to do anything. They're not gonna change. They're not gonna grow. They're not gonna produce anything because you're not there anymore. So the you is your mind, your aliveness. So the mind and the brain are separate, distinctively separate, but work together. So there's a relationship between the mind and the brain. So if we think of the brain first, just look at yourself and just think of like you've got your skull, your brain's in your skull. You've got your skull, you've got your body. You've got all your different organs. That's all your physical part of you and that is about 37 to 100 trillion cells. So your brain and your body and all the parts of your body are made of about 37 to 100 trillion cells and that's the physical part of you, but that's only one to 10% of who you are. So the other 90 to 99% is your mind and your mind is this aliveness, this how we experience life, how we experience struggle, what we do about life, what we do about struggle, what we do about life, how we are functioning at work, relationships, parenting kids, whatever we do, politics, that's all mind. The whole way that we as humans experience life is through our mind and our mind then meets the brain for us to be able to process that in order to store that experience and then to express that experience in our behaviors. So there's this very important relationship between the mind, the brain, and the body, but the mind isn't the brain and the body. It isn't the brain. It's two separate things. So for 38 years now, I've been researching and studying this and as you mentioned, in my book, there is these research and clinical trials and it's made very simple so that you can understand it. But why I emphasize this so much is that if you realize that your mind is this huge part of you, so the difference between a data person and us discussing this now is our aliveness, which is our mind. Then there's this wonderful recognition that, okay, I'm not controlled by my brain. Yes, things can go wrong in your brain, in your body, and they're definitely gonna impact your mind because the feedback loop goes both ways, but your mind can still manage that. Your mind is you and you can manage your mind with your mind. So when we talk about you and mind, it's you having the distinct ability to use your mind to manage your mind. So mind is this powerful force. On a psychological level, we can describe it as you're thinking, feeling, and choosing about life, about the thoughts in your head, about your experiences, et cetera. And it can also be described on a more physical with physics as being gravitational fields and electromagnetic forces and that kind of stuff doesn't work from of Einstein and quantum physics and so on and that when someone's dead, we don't see that. When someone's alive, we see that. So for example, I use qEEG technology, which means that we can see when someone's alive. We will see the energy response in the brain to a person thinking, feeling, and choosing and experiencing life and going through stuff. But if a person's dead, the qEEG won't pick up anything. You can put an EKG on someone's heart and when they're alive, you'll pick up a response. The electrical activity of the heart is picked up on the EKG. But if you're dead, there is no electrical activity. So where's that activity coming from? The mind. The mind is the life force. So really emphasizing that because in recognizing in dealing with concepts like anxiety and depression, we've been told that anxiety and depression are illnesses of the brain. They're not. Because we've been told that they're illnesses of the brain like a chemical imbalance in the same way that diabetes is a problem with insulin, and that's an absolutely non-scientific correlation. It's incorrect. It's a theory that was put forward years ago. It's never been proven. Billions of dollars later, it still hasn't been proven and no scientist or doctor that's worth a grain of salt will even talk about that. It's a tremendously powerful marketing tool that has been used to sell medications to people and it's also very invalidating because it's taking your whole experience of what you're going through and basically subsuming it into a label and then basically treating it, like for example, cardiovascular diseases have symptoms. You identify them through diagnostic testing and you treat the symptoms with medication. Diabetes, the same situation. There's a problem with insulin, you treat with medication. So they try to take that model and use it for subsume that the mind, the mental side into the physical, but it doesn't work because there's different rules because if you're feeling depression, it's not the same as cancer or diabetes. Depression's a very broad umbrella term that's actually a warning signal. It's a descriptive warning signal that something is going on in your mind, that you've experienced something that you need to pay attention to as opposed to it being, it's an illness. So depression, anxiety, panic attacks, frustration, there's being distraught, fear, trepidation, all these things. These are not something wrong with you. Doesn't mean that you're a broken brain. It means that you're going through something or you've gone through something that's now affecting how you're functioning. And that distinction's massive in managing mental health because suddenly now you say, okay, I'm feeling depressed. It's not that, oh, gosh, there's something wrong with me. It's not that. You don't take that identity, which is what the current narrative tells you. You ought to say, oh, depression. Let me be a thought detective. Let me see, why am I feeling depression? Depression is a signal. It's a warning cue. It's a clue and be like a Sherlock Holmes and investigate why you're feeling. What is it a warning signal of? It's a symptom of something that's going on in your life and you need to do the work of paying attention to that and then working through, being curious and working through, deconstructing and reconstructing to find the origin source and then changing it to make work for your re-conceptualizing, and that takes work and that's mind work that you do. All of that, you do with your mind. You've experienced the adverse experience with your mind. You've processed it with your mind into your brain and into your body because whatever we experience with our, whenever you wake up in the morning and you read a toxic email, that's an experience. Your mind is what's reading the toxic email. Your mind is thinking, feeling, and choosing. Your mind is electromagnetically and quantum physics and gravitational fields happening, pushing it to the brain. The brain, as the mind hits the brain, there's a chemical reaction and you're a chemical reaction and that genetic reaction and that experience of the toxic email is converted into a physical protein tree-like structure in your brain and it's the roots of the tree. So the relater and an experience that the actual content of that toxic email is the roots of the tree and your response to it and you're thinking, feeling, and choosing about that are the branches of the tree and that tree is a thought tree of this toxic email and it is a physical substance that has weight and it's weighty. It's toxic because all the proteins are folded incorrectly and we basically go against the natural design of the brain. So that's changing the structure of the brain, but in a way that is actually threatening the brain and threatening the body because not only is that toxic email going in the brain as a tree, but it's also going into the DNA of every cell of your body and it's also going into it like a little wave in the mind, which is all around your body and through your body. So it's in three places and that's why it's like, wow, when you think of this email, you get hit and like your whole body experiences it. Your mind is experiencing it and your brain is experiencing it. So it's such a holistic, intense experience. And then if you don't deal with that toxic email and you just keep thinking about it and talking about it and just never, you just keep mulling on it, it gets bigger and bigger and bigger and more and more controlling and that can create, generates the signals of depression, et cetera, et cetera. So that's kind of a, I don't know if you want to unpack that, but that's kind of a way, the correct way of looking at mental health. - Yeah. So, so helpful. And I love so many things about what you shared and even in the first couple of chapters of your new book, "Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess," talking about the fact that mental health isn't a disease, I like how you even use mental ill health, not mental illness, because it's a symptom. We're not victims of it. We can overcome it. We can heal. It's a physical thing that can change. And what you mentioned a second ago about thoughts and behaviors are actually physical things in our mind, they develop, you know, the dendrites kind of look like trees, as you were mentioning. I think that explains why anxiety for so many people, those listening, anxiety and toxic thoughts, don't get discouraged. You're not a victim of it. It may be a physical thing in your brain, but it can be overcome, which if time allows, what we'll get to talking about that. But one more thing that you brought up, this whole idea of signals, that these toxic thoughts, that depression, the anxiety are signals. I was so stoked when I saw that language in your latest book. In my new book, "Free to Thrive," we talk about a very similar concept that these things aren't random. There's a cause to them. We need to investigate what is going on and that's how we move forward to heal. So can you share more with us, Dr. Leaf, about how do we even begin to identify what those signals are, whether it's toxic thoughts or anxiety, and figure out the underlying issues we need to address? - Okay, so that's a really excellent question and it's great that you're talking about that as well 'cause that's the correct languaging that we should be using and only 4% of the church is talking about mental health and when they do, it's incorrect. So when I hear that you're getting that concept, that's wonderful, great news. So just very quickly to distinguish between a warning signal and a thought, so the thought is the physical substance that we've wired into our brain with our mind in response to whatever experience we have. So right now, this discussion is an experience. It's been wired in. It's been processed by the mind, which is, think, feel, choose, and all the gravitational fields and that's then pushed into the brain and then the brain responds by building this, what we're saying, into a tree in your brain and the dendrites are the branches of the tree and it's your interpretation of what you're hearing and the roots, which are also dendritic branches, but in a root form, 'cause it's got that two parts to it, the thought, and that's the source. So in your brain and the brain of the listeners, the words that I'm saying would be the roots of the tree and the roots, each little root is made of lots of proteins and so and each protein is vibrating with information and the information is conceptual. So by the end of this conversation, I would have said maybe two or 3,000 different things and that means you would have had two or 3,000 different concepts built into maybe 100 or 200 little roots, and that's the source. And then the branches of the tree are your interpretation of what I'm saying. And then the signals would be the kind of impression that this has created and the impression, hopefully this is now insightful so you get, ah, hope, so hope that the signal would be then be hope or excitement or a feeling of a sense of empowerment that I can do something about this because you've wired it in. It means you can wire it out because the brain is neuroplastic, which means that the brain can always change. Out of some of the first neuroplasticity research back in the 80s in my field, when they told us that the brain couldn't change, I've done a TED Talk on this, they told me I was crazy to study that and I said, let me show it. I'll work with people with brain damage and show you that change your mind, change your brain. And so that's very helpful, helpful to know as well that whatever you experience you have is built into your brain, which means you're changing your brain all the time, all day. You're never the same. You're always changing. From the moment you wake up till the moment you go to sleep, you are changing your brain because you're building every experience into these thoughts in your brain. At night time, you're sorting out the thoughts that you felt, which is why you dream. So your brain's always changing. It's never the same. So you're not the same person now as you were before. That's really hopeful because we can draw on that change to change toxic issues, which is the whole point of the second part of my book and 38 years of my work is to help people to fix up, to read the signals, to pick up the toxicity of the thought and to fix that when it's a toxic issue like a trauma or a bad habit, and also to then if there's brain damage from a traumatic brain injury or there's learning skills that need to be acquired because of a learning disability or something that you can actually use the same process that I've developed to help build the brain. So you can detox the brain by rewiring it and you can build the brain by rewiring it because you're adding stuff. One, you're adding healthy protein trees into the brain, thought trees into the brain to healthy dendrites and the one you're taking out and replacing, you're breaking down, reconstructing the toxic one and building a healthy new one. And that process is a mind-driven process because everything is mind. Mind is always with you and that mind-driven process is controlled by you. And so there's a tremendous amount of hope in this because the only way to start to just do this process is to become aware of the stuff. So you can't suppress it and the current movement is if you have pain, if you have the depression, it needs to be suppressed, but that doesn't fix the problem. The problem is the issue. It's the tree. It needs to be rewired and the only way to, neuroscience shows us that the only way to rewire a tree is in the brain, the protein trees, the dendrites, the thought trees, which contain all the memories 'cause the roots are memories and the branches are the memories is to become aware of them. So when you're aware of something, you will actually weaken the little connections in the root, in the branches, your interpretation, the branches above the ground for want of a better way of explaining. And then as you are aware of the branches above the ground, you can track back to the source of why you have those branches in the first place, but you can't do that without becoming aware and that's where the warning signals come in. Warning signals are cues, clues to you becoming a thought detective, becoming like Sherlock Holmes and taking those clues These are clues. They helpful messengers. They're telling me something. They're responses to an underlying something that's going on. And to approach this with one of, hey, this is okay, I'm a human in life experiencing adverse circumstances, 100% of people, not one in four, 100% of people battle with depression in varying degrees. 100% of people battle with anxiety in varying degrees. There's a day-to-day anxiety and then there's the big anxiety from big traumas and toxic things that are in our life that we haven't dealt with or we are dealing with. So that's very, very normal. So the message I'm telling you is anxiety is okay. Depression's okay. Frustration, these are all telling us that something's going on. So you've gotta pay attention to them. They're like a smoke signal and you've gotta become a thought detective. They're a clue. They're a cue. They're a warning signal. They're the alarm going off to wake you up. They're threatening your survival. Your immune system is sending out immune factors because these proteins from the toxic experience are all distorted and that then is the immune system of the brain and the body will recognize those in the same way that recognize, for example, the protein structures being abnormal in COVID virus. So in other words, a toxic issue, a trauma that you've suppressed for years or a toxic issue that you've gone through, the roots are all proteins that are all distorted and then imbalanced and the chemicals are imbalanced. The whole process is imbalanced and that then causes the inter and then that produces the branches, which is (indistinct) so if you were abused, your interpretation may be you think, feel, and choose is shame and condemnation and can't form relationships and all that stuff. And so it doesn't help to just go slap a label on a dragon net. You have to actually become aware of the depression, how is it manifesting in the shame and how you see yourself, right down to the root cause. And in doing that, you're becoming aware. You're weakening it and when you weaken it, the energy is then transferred from that toxic version to a healthier version and you rewire a new version. So it's complete neuro-rewiring that occurs through the mind work. It's all mind-driven. So you're changing the brain and so the toxic tree energy goes away from the toxic tree that then pretty much just converts to heat energy, and that energy is taken over and built into the healthy tree. Now, the healthy tree knows what happened, but it's now re-conceptualized, reconstructed about how you want this to play out into your future, how you're gonna move forward. Knowing that you know what the situation is, how are you going to manage the depression moving forward? - Hmm. So, so helpful. And it's so hope-giving that our brains can change. - Yes. - You mentioned neuro-plasticity. And I remember, well, probably about 10 years ago, discovering that in my own trauma recovery, addiction recovery, mental health recovery journey and how empowering that was, that I'm not just stuck like this forever with whatever I'm going through, that these things can actually change and be overcome. And you said that what, back in the 80s, you were doing research on that. I probably have you to thank for so much of the hope I found in my healing journey. So thank you for that. - That's wonderful. - On the topic of neuro-plasticity, one of the things I love about your work and thinking back on your book, "Switch On Your Brain," it was like, finally, the gap was bridged between all of this biblical truth about our minds and what we do with our thoughts and all of this brain science, neuroscientific research. I almost thought of it as like a biblical neuroscience apologetic resource. So for those listening who are of faith or Christians, what would you say are just some key things you see in the Bible about that backup brain science or brain science that backs up the Bible and how God has wired us? - It's a wonderful question and we can track neuroscience, even though it wasn't recorded, right back to the ancient texts. So even all the texts that predate the actual Bible that we see today and all ancient texts, in fact, in every single culture and tradition, we'll find the science of mind and brain, which is fascinating. So it's not something new at all. So that's just to say that. So then in terms of science and spirituality, they are two sides of the same coin. I have never seen them as different and it always has, in 25, I mean, I teach 25 years. 38 years, I've been in the field. 25 years of practice. I've been teaching at churches now almost 20 years, but I also teach in neuroscience conferences and that's at universities and in education and corporate. And for the biggest part of my career, I was doing more work in those kind of areas and the church that started about 20 years ago, because I was approached to be exactly your question, how do you put these two and two together? And I always say, why on earth has everyone seen this as a sacred thing? It's been one of the biggest problems in the church that's kept the church almost in the dark ages is when it comes to mind because the mind, the people in the church, this almost, okay, let me start it like this. Science and spirituality are the same thing, two sides of the same coin. Why do I say that? Because science comes from the word sclera. Sclera means knowledge and God is the source of all knowledge. So therefore, knowledge, if you think of it like that, science is knowledge. Spirituality is all about God and what God created. In other words, knowledge, the knowledge about the world, about humans, about being alive, about the whole Bible is about how to live as a human, what to do. And the the knowledge that we have about how our brains and our bodies and the world and technology, I mean, the technology enabling us to do this interview, that's all science. If science is bad, then don't use your cell phone. Don't go to the doctor. Don't go to hospital. Don't have surgery. Don't eat. Don't drive a car. This is how ridiculous it becomes when you look at it from that perspective, when you think, oh, you being scientific and logical. You're not being spiritual. And I'll say it the other way. If you ignore science, you're actually completely insulting God because the science is how it all works. So that's very important to get that, to understand that spirituality is the story and science is how the story actually works, how God's creation works. And when you look at it like that, there's not a threat. There's only an open-mindedness to then, okay, well, how do I work and how do I understand that better so that I can function? So then bringing it back to my area of science, which is neuroscience and cognitive neuroscience and mind-brain research and so on is basically, well, you see philosophies in the Bible that bring all thoughts into captivity. People quote that all the time, but do they even do that? Now, people, did people even be curious not to ask what that is? I mean, how many people have said that? How many millions and millions of times, how many pastors have preached a message about bringing us all into captivity and what do they do? They say, we've just gotta memorize scripture and take something that's happening and throw scripture on. It's kind of like using God as a genie and scriptures as a magic potion. If you think of it like that, that's not what that scripture is actually saying. That scripture is actually saying you link that with the scripture of renewing the mind and blends in with the scripture of intertwining of life and death space in Christian choose life. And you'd think it would the scripture of as a man thinks in his heart. So is he, and you link it with the scripture of what was the other one, think of these things, all of those, and I've just mentioned a few, have behind them mind management. Manage your mind. This is what you should think about, but you've got a choice and if you choose this, then this will happen. And actually, all our thoughts supposed to be captured and renewed. And what does that actually mean? And so that this, the philosophy science tells you what that means. So the work that I've done is telling you what that means. So let's take just bring all thoughts into captivity, all thoughts. It doesn't mean only one thought or the thoughts that you feel like bringing to captivity when you're in church on Sunday and it's super easy to get your thoughts. It is all thoughts, all day. So that means we need to look at what is a thought? And I've just told you what it is. It's a tree. It's a protein tree structure. It's the product of you thinking, feeling, and choosing and experiencing life like the email, like this conversation, like the bullying, like the whatever, every experience you've had trainings in terms of experiences from a certain point in the room and that's been experienced through your mind and built into your brain. That's neuroplasticity and it's your body? Okay? And it's changed your brain and your body. That is a lot of thoughts. Now, if I ask you to close your eyes just for 10 seconds and just do nothing but just think of your thoughts, you have a whole bunch of thoughts going through your head and you can just try this periodically during the course of today, just close your eyes and just let your mind wander. And you'll be amazed at all the different thoughts that goes through your head from the topics that have just been discussed to it goes all over the place. All of those are supposed to be brought into captivity. So if we add a number to this, this is really mind-blowing because what we scientists are trying to estimate, and this is not my work. I'm quoting research from other people that have actually played with the numbers, quantum physicists and so on. And what they said is that we, on average, build about 8,000 to 10,000 thoughts a day. So this conversation, that email, the discussion of being built into your brain, if you're having a discussion, if it's a work that you're doing and each day there's something new, you'll be adding onto the same tree, but still, you're building eight to 10,000 new thoughts, even if it's a part of an existing thought. To build those, you will think of at least another 10,000 to 20,000 because when as you're listening to me now, not only are you getting knowledge and building thoughts, because your mind is receiving this knowledge and you're pushing it in your brain, your brain's building my words into these protein trees in your brain and in your DNA, your mind, but you're also, all kinds of thoughts are popping up into your mind as I'm speaking, which are helping you process this. Like you mentioned your book, you mentioned how you saw signals. Your only experience, all these things are popping away from your non-conscious mind that operates 24/7, which is where your trillions upon trillions of thoughts are stored, where your dynamic intelligence and self-regulation occurs, where the youness is your wisdom, et cetera, et cetera. And its whole purpose is to bring balance, homeostasis, survival, love, and to sort out these thoughts and to then try and get the attention of the conscious mind to work with it, the non-conscious mind, to tap into the wisdom that is at our core, because you're made in God's image. So the core of this non-conscious mind is wisdom and the wisdom is connected to God. So the whole purpose of the non-conscious mind is this tremendously powerful source from God to help us to evaluate the stuff, how we've responded and the toxic and healthy thoughts you've built to link them into the wisdom, the core of who we are, and to then link that to God and to use that whole process to renew the mind. So what I've done is taken that very complex process that you've probably never heard explained in that way. You've read some of my work, so you've heard me teach it, but a lot of people would have never even heard of it and that whole thing can encapsulate it into the scripture, capture your thoughts, and in the technique, the system of technique that I've developed, the system has taken within it. You can then do that. So if we are told, bring our thoughts into captivity, I have done the science. Well, I have had the science revealed to me. If you want to look at it, I've done the research and developed the system for how you actually do bring all thoughts into captivity. So if you are building eight to 10,000 a day, you inform by an additional 10 to 20,000, that means that there's about 30,000 things going on in your head in any one day. And according to scripture, you're supposed to bring all of those interconnectivity to do what? To renew them. So if they are healthy, great. Grow them because that's gonna enhance you as a person. But if they are toxic and they informing you in a toxic way and these patterns in your life, that's gonna then be the signals that you need to do something about that. So when we talk about signals and paying attention to depression, that's capturing thoughts. That is mind management. Mind management is capturing thoughts and renewing them. So when you mind manage, we are self-regulating our thoughts by capturing them and renewing them. And the system I've developed called the neurocycle over 38 years of research and clinical application, of therapeutic application and constant refining, and my most recent clinical trials are putting a simple version in my book that you referred to at the beginning up till this, basically, the neurocycle is how we do that. How does the mind work? How does the brain work? How does this integration work and how do we control it? So the five steps of the neurocycle is how you cycle through your mind to change your brain. In other words, how do you capture a thought and how do you renew it? So you don't just say those words and then set the scripture on. You actually put the scripture in the right place. Otherwise, you're using the scripture as a band-aid and a bandaid on a bullet wound, as my one friend said, does not work. You can't just chop the top of the head off the weed. It will grow back. Okay? So that would be doing. If you just go and get a drug, you just let the scripture on, you just do a positive affirmation, you're not dealing with the issue. So when you talk about the signals and I talk about the signals, what we're doing is we capturing thoughts. That's how you do it. Capturing thoughts means that I've gotta capture that thought and I've gotta say, okay, what is the thought? What is this? The thoughts and the depression. Depression is not the thought. Depression is the signal that there is a thought and that thought has the branches, which is doing interpretation, which is your behaviors and emotions and your thinking, feeling, and choosing. And then that's got a source, which is the roots. And capturing means that I've got to listen to the signal of depression and behaviors and so on and I've got to go look at what my interpretation, the branches, and I've gotta go to the source and I've got to embrace process and re-conceptualize that. I've got to renew it. Renewing is embracing, processing, and re-conceptualizing it into what's more healthy, what will work for me that will then make me a renewed mind is one that operates in love, which is survival. It's not operating in toxicity. And that process is what all humans should be doing. And the process of creating the toxic thoughts in the first place is very much the messy mind and it's very normal. We have a messy mind and a wise mind and our messy mind is how we experience life. It's how we enter into life. As you read that toxic email, as you have that conversation, as you listen to this, it's your messy mind that's experimenting and sometimes it's a draft and builds a healthy tool. Sometimes it gets it wrong and makes a mess. That's all okay. It's all how God has designed us. We then need to, but what we need to be doing is managing that and mind management is then capturing the mess. What did I do? How do you capture the mess through the signals? And then deconstructing and reconstructing into the healthy version. Now, we're supposed to do that all the time while we are awake 'cause bring all thoughts into captivity, that means that I wanted to know from the neuroscience, can you do that? And from the research, we can actually, every 10 seconds, we can be doing this. We can be very self-regulated, which pretty much means while you're awake, you can self-regulate and that's powerful, but that takes skill. It takes development. You gotta train your mind to use your mind, to change your brain in this way. - Wow. So, so powerful. Every 10 seconds. Man, I think about how for so much of my life, I was just, it was like my thoughts were on autopilot and I was living out of them. And then learning how to take thoughts captive and question them and figure out, is this true? Is it not true? And move towards what I actually want to believe and what I actually want to live out and the power that we have 'cause God created our brains that way is so fascinating. - Here's some images, in fact. Here's what I normally use as my toxic tree and my healthy tree, which is really cool. And I mean, we talk about thought trees. Here we go. This is what they look like in the brain. And so the roots and the part would be, this is a healthy one. This is toxic. The roots would be, let's take this conversation, what you and I are talking about would be in the roots that launches all your interpretation because everyone interprets it differently. Then this whole thought is how we, this is as a man thinks, so is he, okay? So this is how, what we've been produced the behavior. This would be toxic. So there's the toxic roots. So that could be the bullying, the abuse, the whatever trauma you've experienced, the loss, the grief, whatever. And then that is then interpreted. So let's say for example, someone experiences extensive bullying in a marriage or something, they then feel, and by they, someone who's very narcissistic or something and they feel the interpretations that they use this way, this manipulation makes you feel shame and loses your identity. So and this shows up as you being a very unhappy, sad, depressed person, not being able. You see what I'm saying? So when we talk about sick people to read these signals, to find what we think, feel, and choose, how we've interpreted the signal's (indistinct). We've got interpretations. These branches, these are the dendrites and those dendrites have a root. You've gotta be the thought detective and the neurocycle takes you through the process of doing this and reconstructing it into this. And that takes 63 days. Takes 63 days to change a behavior, not 21, like most people have been led to believe, which is incorrect science. I talk about that in the book, too. - Wow. Amazing. I also love that your, let me just say this, I love that your last name is Dr. Leaf. I think it's so fitting, given all this talk about trees. - I know, it's funny. I've been asked before, did you change your name because of always talking about the leaves and the leaves of the tree of healing of the nations, that scripture's so great, and I said no, I didn't. It was very convenient that I did have this name. - That's amazing. Well, we're just about out of time. Oh, I was gonna ask about the five step process for overcoming things like anxiety and toxic thoughts. However, I would say to all those listening or watching, it's awesome. It's super helpful. I've read through it so many times when practicing some of it. Pick up Dr. Caroline Leaf's latest book, "Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess." You can go through the five step process, which gets so into detail. That's it, of how to practically, really, not just for a season, but forever to overcome toxic thoughts and anxiety. I loved one of the things you found, Dr. Leaf, in your study. I think it was something like 81% of those struggling with anxiety and depression, within the first 21 days, it lowered drastically. Was that the stat? - Yes. So basically, everyone suffers from anxiety and depression in different degrees. So when we manage it, when we capture those thoughts and we renew them, you can improve it using the neurocycle, which is the five step system that you would do every day for the period over the cycles of 21 days to make 63 days. You can learn to manage depression and anxiety by effect of 81%, which means that instead of feeling 100% out of control, you actually become 81% in control of anxiety and depression, et cetera, so instead of it controlling you, you control it. And being in control means that you recognize anxiety, depression are not illnesses, but they are warning signals and then you respond in that way and you do the five steps to deconstruct and reconstruct into the healthy tree. And that's basically when you do that over the time period, not just in one sitting, but you do that daily over a period of 21 days for about 15 to 45 minutes and then you do step five for an additional 42 days, which makes 63. So it's a two-part cycle. 63 days, we do the five steps for the first 21 days, and then the second 42, you do just step five. That combination will then deconstruct and reconstruct so you'll know that you'll find the source of the, you'll find upon warning similar to the source and you're reconstructing to what you want it to be and then you'll make it a strong tree because there's trees competing with other trees. There's trillions of thoughts in your brain and think of all these trees in the forest. The ones that are the biggest are gonna get the most attention. They're going to get your attention. So this is still small. So the additional 42 days is to stabilize this tree so that it grows big and so that it can impact your behavior and that takes the extra 42 days. So the neurocycle is a very specific process for doing that and when you do that, you will end up managing anxiety and depression, improving anxiety and depression, and all the other emotions, stress, burnout, et cetera, not just anxiety and depression by effect of 81%. You'll be 81% more in control, totally empowered, and more. That's like the minimum that you'll get to. - Wow. So amazing. Such a message of hope. - Thank you. - Well, Dr. Leaf, where can people connect with you, get your latest book, follow you on social media? Tell us about that. - Absolutely. Well, the book is "Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess." It is available wherever books are sold. And also my website, drleaf.com, there's lots of other books there, too. We also have an app then that we've released. It used to be called The Switch and some people may be familiar with it. It's now being rebranded and redone as the Neurocycle app, so it goes really well with the book. It's the same concepts, but there's been advanced science. So changed the name because the science has advanced and it's more simple and so it really walks through. It's like me giving us therapy. So that's available. We can give you the link and you can put that in the show notes, but that's available at Google and iTunes. You can find out about that on our web page. My Instagram handle is Dr. Caroline Leaf. Also, my Facebook handle and my Twitter handle. And you go there, you can follow me on Instagram and all the social media handles and you can get all the daily posts and all this information and links to all the sites and all the rest of it. So I have a podcast as well called Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess, where I teach on these extensively and interview experts as well about the mind. - Awesome. To everyone watching or listening, hey, just be encouraged today. Your brain can change. You can overcome toxic thoughts. You can heal from anxiety. I've experienced so much healing and freedom in my own life. And let me just say again, pick up "Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess." It's phenomenal. It's different from much of the stuff you're gonna read out there and it's so based in science and research and phenomenal. It's been so helpful in my own life. And follow Dr. Leaf on social media. I follow her. Almost, I think it's every day, there's so many quotes that are just racking my brain that they're causing me to question all things in life. Not all things in life, but are just so helpful to my own growth and healing. And Dr. Leaf, you are a legend. Thank you so much for what you do and thanks so much for being on the podcast today. - Oh, thank you so much and thank you for your kind words and I really just want to help people. I'm so happy that it's helping you. So thank you for your kind words and for the opportunity. (upbeat music) - Yeah, absolutely. Thank you. - Thank you. - Thanks for checking out the Resolution Podcast. To go deeper on today's topic, get my new book, "Free to Thrive," at resolutionmovement.org, as well as access a variety of free resources. If this episode encouraged you, please take a moment to rate it, share it, and subscribe. You can listen to us wherever podcasts are found as well as watch the visual version of each episode on our YouTube channel. Connect with us by searching Resolution Movement on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube. See you soon. (upbeat music continues)