Episode 135: Dr. Caroline Leaf

I am so excited to share this conversation with you. Dr. Caroline Leaf sat down across the virtual kitchen table with me a few months ago. She is a is a communication pathologist and cognitive neuroscientist. Since the early 1980s she has researched the mind-brain connection, the nature of mental health and the formation of memory. She was one of the first in her field to study how the brain can change (neuroplasticity) with directed mind input. She has helped hundreds of thousands of students and adults learn how to use their mind to detox and grow their brain to succeed in every area of their lives, including school, university and the workplace.

Her passion is to help people see the power of the mind to change the brain, and to see the link between science and spirituality through controlling their thoughts and emotions, learning how to think and learn, and finding their sense of purpose in life. 

You guys I was so nervous to talk with her because she is just so very smart. I felt like I would be out of my league, but Dr. Leaf is truly delightful. And as we talk, its evident that she has a huge heart for people to have hope and life change. Did you know that when we as Jesus followers talk about taking thoughts captive that science actually backs that up? What we talk about over the next 30 minutes is fascinating. We talk about the connection between science and faith, how you have the power to turn on your brain in order to get rid of toxins, the science behind captivating your thoughts, how to change your mind and how to help our kids learn to change their thought patterns. I loved this episode and hope you do, too. 


Survival Kit:

  • Her relationship with her husband and grown children
  • Organizing her time and thoughts

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Connect with Dr. Caroline Leaf:  Instagram // Facebook // Website // Podcast // YouTube // twitter

Takeaways From Our Conversation:

  • I think one thing that stood out to me was how reactionary I’ve been when it comes to my thinking. I rarely use my mind the way she spoke of—to think about why I’m feeling this way. And to get to the root of it. I want to do some self-evaluation. I’m going to ask myself this question and maybe you want to ask yourself this, too: Where am I being reactionary with the way I think? And once I have that list, I want to go through and see how I can begin to think different or plan different so that I can react different.

  • I have realized that I've created long term toxic memories surrounding social media. I need to change the way I treat social media. I usually start my day by looking at my phone, but I want to stop that. 

  • Science is telling us how we function and the bible is stories. Science explains how the stories work and God is the source of it all.

  • There is a direct link between what you are thinking and what happens in your body estimated that 75-98% of disease is related to some sort of thought pattern.

  • What toxic thinking or bad habits do you want to quit or good habits that you want to start?

    • 7-16 minutes for 21 days

    • 21 days to build a long term memory

    • 63 days to build a habit - something to use to change your life

    • body works in cycles of 21 in healing (body and mind)

  • Thinking is so important because it determines your future. When you are being unkind you are damaging your brain. That's a huge realization!

Discussion Questions

  • What was something that surprised you about the conversation?
  • How can understanding the power of the mind give you hope that the way you think change change?
  • If we are naturally wired to think well, feel well and choose well, what is something that you can tell is unnatural in how you think?  
  • After listening to Dr. Leaf, what is something that can to mind that you tend to be more reactionary in your thoughts? 
  • How could you take time to be more self-aware and self-regulatory about those thoughts?
  • Thank you for following along life with me. I love being apart of your day. And as always, I hope this show helps you survive a little easier.

  • What toxic thinking or bad habits do you want to quit or good habits that you want to start? (This can be as simple as deciding to not look at your phone for first hour of the day.)

  • Dr. Leaf said, "When you are being unkind you are damaging your brain." What do you think about that statement?

  • What is something that you want to choose to think about?

  • Dr. Leaf said, "You can’t control the events and circumstances of your life but you can control your reactions." Where am you being reactionary with your brain?

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