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In this final episode of a four-part series with ‘Cleaning Up Your Mental Mind’ author Dr. Caroline Leaf, she tells the story of a man who suffered years of sexual trauma, and how he used the 5-step process outlined in Dr. Leaf’s book to change his thought patterns to pave the way forward in his life. When you’re able to understand where your negative thoughts are coming from, and when you can reframe them in a positive way as this man did, you can drastically change your life.
For more info on Dr. Caroline Leaf’s new book ‘Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess’, visit https://www.cleaningupyourmentalmess.com/
Daniel Amen, MD:
Welcome to the Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast. I’m Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen, BSN RN:
And I’m Tana Amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit amenclinics.com.
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Welcome back. We are still here with our friend, Dr. Caroline Leaf. Just so smart, so amazing. And her new book, Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess, such a great message. And we’re talking about the five steps. Five simple scientifically proven steps to reduce anxiety, stress, and toxic thinking. You can buy Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess wherever great books are sold.
And we went through the steps in the last three segments. And now we want to hear from Dr. Leaf about some of her favorite stories and how these steps have actually worked practically. And I love, in the last segments, we talked about this is not one of those overnight, three minutes to everlasting change because that’s just nonsense. She’s going to teach you how to make this a lifelong practice for you to be in control of your mind. So what are some of the stories of people doing this? What are your favorite success stories?
Dr. Caroline Leaf:
Wow. You say that, I’m thinking, how can I pick one? There’s thousands that have been coming through. So I put two stories in the book, but there’s one that just happened recently of someone who just actually got hold of the book and who’s actually known of my work for a few years.
I actually interviewed them recently, and their story is phenomenal where they, as a young child from the age of five through 18, they experienced sexual abuse, but really bad, and in the church. And they had a lot of religious trauma, and this particular person went to talk to the pastors. There was this whole thing of, “Well, it’s your fault. You don’t have enough faith.”
And it was terrible. So this person was so traumatized for so many years and always went to therapy, but it was always like talking in circles. And then one day a friend actually gave him one of my books, and he started following me and then got this most recent book. And we’ve made contact, and so I actually ended up getting an interview. But he just said that when he realized that he had agency, had the autonomy to make the past … you can’t change the past, but he could go back.
And as he explains it, he could go back as an adult and look at those symptoms, all the warning signals the way I described, and he could go back and see, okay, well, that’s me at five. That’s that trauma at five. And say that, I’m now the adult of whatever, 30, 35, or whatever in his 30s. And I can go to the five-year-old version of me, and I can actually say, “Okay, this is terrible what happened, but now you’re safe.”
And in doing that, he said he used the five steps to get to that process and then reconceptualize it. And now here’s the healed five-year old. And so there’s the dark green leaves being the healed five-year-old, and he [inaudible [00:03:20] the five-year old the story. So the past doesn’t go away, but he’s changed how the past played out into the present. And he said he didn’t know he could do that. He didn’t know he had autonomy.
And I talk about the pathway to empowerment in my research where when we realize that we have agency over our mind, that our mind is how we think, feel and choose, and that we have this messy mind and wise mind … so with our wise mind, we can actually manage the messy mind.
Because the messy mind is part of life, it’s part of who we are. It’s never going away. So if we deny that or suppress that, then that’s not going to help you. But if you accept, “okay, I made a mistake. I snapped, I got guilty, I got irritated. I own it. But now I’m going to, why did I do that? And you do that thought detective work. That’s where you gain that mind management. And this is what this particular person was saying, that they realized that, hey, I can actually stand back, and I can see that the pain of how I’m showing up now has got all these roots, and here’s a system for going through that. And they were still going to therapy, but he was using that in therapy.
And so that was just a great story of how this person now has a platform reaching out to those people that have been very traumatized from sexual abuse. And basically, he combined … uses the five steps to help his patients. So that was really great.
[crosstalk [00:04:39] in the sense that when you wrote The Relentless Courage of a Scared Child, is you go … I mean, you really have never seen yourself as a victim. But you really go from a victim to, not only a survivor, but a thriver.
Yeah. I call myself a surthrivor. That’s what I [crosstalk [00:05:01]
Yeah. It’s beautiful.
I love that. I love that because you-
You’re now a schizophrenic. You make up new words.
I love that. [crosstalk [00:05:11]
You’re a surthrivor.
I love it. That’s such wonderful-
But I like this, because that’s how I felt. When I wrote my story, I saw the … actually, when I went through therapy. Because I did that a while back, when I went through the healing process. I saw the past one way. When I was done … well, it was an ongoing process. But when I went through that process of healing, intentionally healing the past, just like you’re saying, by the time I was done, I couldn’t change the past incident that happened. But I did change the way I saw, thought, and [crosstalk [00:05:49] That’s important.
It’s so important.
Which changed the way you-
See myself now.
… feel about your future.
Yeah. I feel like a bad ass now.
You are a bad ass.
I’m afraid of you.
I love it. No, It is because you’ve basically-
All right. We only have a few minutes left. Let’s talk about how people … so they can get the book, but you have other resources for them as well.
Yes. Well, I have the app, it’s called the Neurocycle app. It used to be called the Switch app and it swaps over … it actually swapped over this week into the Neurocycle app. It’s all updated, it matches the book, it’s literally like me giving you therapy. And all the basic 21 day, 63 day cycles in there, and then I have a whole lot of guides.
In the second part of this book where we explain how to do the neurocycle, there’s lots of, as you would have seen lots of examples of how to apply it and the five steps for toxic trauma, the different types, big T, small T, acute traumas and toxic habits. And so there’s lots of examples, and I’ve also put little [inaudible [00:06:54].
So for example, let’s say that you’re just about to go into a meeting and someone says something to you and it throws you completely and you’ve got to get yourself back together so that you can be focused in the meeting. You can also use the five steps for that.
So in the app there’s also that guide. In chapter 14 of this book, I actually show you how to use the whole process of mind management as a lifestyle. So I talk about how you can just build it into a lifestyle and how I do it all the time. You can prepare for sleep in the morning using a neurocycle so that you can sleep well at night, all that kind of stuff.
So the app’s great. Then I have, obviously like all of our social media pages, Dr. Caroline Leaf, I have lots of other books as well. And we have a neurocycle lab starting and all kinds of stuff. So there’s lots of stuff. I have a podcast, Cleaning up the Mental Mess, which you guys have both been on. Phenomenal programs … your interviews. And yeah, there’s a lot of help out there.
So I think all of it is worth that one thing. You can’t change a past event that happens, [crosstalk [00:07:56] have a tool that helps you change the way you think, see, and feel about what happened to you in the past. It will change your life going forward.
I agree with you. You can change how the past plays out into your future, and that’s the power.
That your past does not have to-
Your past does not define you, but you have to get control of it.
Absolutely. Totally. And you can, because your mind’s malleable and you can train your mind. You are your mind, your mind is you are aliveness. If you’re dead, there is no mind. The difference between a dead person and alive is your mind. Yeah. Yeah. But you have to take responsibility for your mind. So mind management is managing your aliveness, so it manages everything else.
You can do it. Thank you my friend. So powerful.
Oh, thank you. Thank you both. Love talking to you both.
[inaudible [00:08:43] safety and health, and electricity-
We got lots of notes.
Thank you so much. So lovely seeing you both, and hope to see you in person soon.
Thank you. Bye-bye.
Thank you. Bye.
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