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How to Change Your Brain

“Some people say that the thoughts that you think and the words that you say is who you really are.”  This profound statement came from the backseat of the car one day as we were returning home from running errands.  I heartily agreed with my son, who was 5 at the time, and shared with him the verses in the Bible, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he,” and “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”.

I’m not sure if my little philosopher fully understood the concepts that he was proclaiming from his car seat, and the huge implications that they have in each of our lives.

In the scientific realm we are only beginning to learn the full effect these truths have on our brains and our bodies. Caroline Leaf, neuroscientist and author of “Switch On Your Brain”, centers her “21-Day Brain Detox” around the concept of “taking every thought captive” to cause a transformation in a person’s mind.  Dr. Leaf was taught in school that the brain was a “fixed and hardwired machine”, and that brain damage was hopeless and untreatable.  However, now she knows differently, and science is proving this antiquated theory untrue.

“As we think, we change the physical nature of our brain.”

Dr. Leaf’s hypothesis materialized before her eyes as her patients amazed her with their astounding progress despite brain injury or problems: “As we think, we change the physical nature of our brain.  As we consciously direct our thinking, we can wire out toxic patterns of thinking and replace them with healthy thoughts.  New thought networks grow.”¹

How can you harness this control to make a positive, lasting change in your brain that will change your life?

The answer comes by way of neuroplasticity.  Dr. Leaf states: “Thinking, a mind activity, effects gene expression. Gene expression produces proteins. Proteins are fashioned into structural elements and enzymes (biological catalysts), which change brain anatomy (structure) and physiology (function). Essentially, thinking changes brain structure and function.

Check out this video that gives a visual demonstration of this concept!:

So think about it: Are you thinking “toxic thoughts”, or are you taking an inventory of each thought that comes into your mind and discarding the bad?  How can you change the way you think TODAY and begin to become a new, better version of YOU?

After all, “As a man [or woman] thinks in his [or her] heart, so is he [she].”

¹Leaf, Caroline. “Switch on Your Brain: the Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health.”Switch on Your Brain: the Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health, Baker Books, 2015, p. 21.

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Comments (10)

  • kelly 4 months ago Reply

    Great post – this topic is so interesting! It reminds me a lot of the idea of having a “growth mindset” – believing that intelligence isn’t fixed, and talents can be developed. It’s really amazing what the brain can do!

    Rebekah
    Rebekah 4 months ago Reply

    Thanks, Kelly! IT is amazing, and I think we only know the tip of the iceberg on this topic! 🙂

  • Angela 4 months ago Reply

    This is so true! I believe that if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. Change starts with mindset.

    Rebekah
    Rebekah 4 months ago Reply

    Right! 🙂

  • Tara Frieden 4 months ago Reply

    This is awesome and encouraging! I have a young son that has become very negative. He has negative self-talk and wakes up grouchy. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to get him to be more positive. I was feeling a bit discouraged. This has given me hope that I can slowly get him to become more positive. Thank you for sharing!

    Rebekah
    Rebekah 4 months ago Reply

    Sometimes I’m a grouchy bear in the mornings, too. 😛 I have found gratitude helps me start the day on a better note!

  • Lauren 4 months ago Reply

    This was a fantastic read! Brief yet informative, with plenty of visuals to illustrate your points; I’ve been hearing so much about neuroplasticity recently, and this was such a great intro to the topic!

    Rebekah
    Rebekah 4 months ago Reply

    Thank you, Lauren!

  • Darlene 4 months ago Reply

    Very interesting and useful info — I’m thinking how I can use this with my students this year. Thank you!!

  • Ann 4 months ago Reply

    Very interesting and true! I battled depression and anxiety for years and during that time, learned that I had to rewire my thinking to overcome the negativity I was dealing with. Love the Bible verses you incorporated into the article. Thank you for sharing!

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