I recently discovered this free book on Kindle called “Switch on Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health” by Dr Caroline Leaf. I have just finished reading the book, yes it really was FREE, and now I am to the part where the rubber meets the road . The basic concept is to start apply the keys and tools provided to capture your thoughts, replace them with positive scriptural reinforcement, and develop a new pattern of living and thinking.
I was very excited about the concepts she introduces in part one of the book. There are bunches of technical and sciency terms that could easily squash that excitement, but they were delivered in short form and I was able to get a glimpse of how her process could work. Though, I am far from understanding all of it.
The idea that the brain is trainable, with the mind, should not be news to me, but it was! My brain, DNA, circumstances and environment are not in control of me. I control my reactions and can live a very full life in any situation. The idea that the brain is flexible and has plasticity, can be built up with positive reinforcement or damaged with negative, really hit me hard. The brain is changeable!
Despite a lot of my awareness, I have been unable to break free from negative thought patterns. I use negative thoughts almost as a shield – they can’t hurt me with their words because I already know I am bad. I have heard negative things said about me the last few years, and they have taken up space in my brain, crushed my spirit, and have been expressed by my attitude and soul and reactions to life.
I love this book because as a Christian, and a believer in an awesome God, the book does not want you to replace the negatives with positive affirmations or positive self-talk, but with scripture that we believe in. Our maker has already breathed the remedy into the Bible, we just have to use it.
The second part of the book talks about a five step process, it takes 10 minutes or more a day to complete, and is done for 21 day cycles. If at the end of the cycle, the thought pattern is not broken, you repeat. If it has been broken, I believe you continue to repeat the action part of the process for two more 21 day cycles, so that it becomes automatic, as in learning to ride a bike.
The five steps are a guided meditation coupled with journaling and doing. In the first step you gather and capture the thoughts. You think about what you are thinking about. It seems to me that it is a form of guided meditation where you quiet the brain and to see where the Holy Spirit convicts you to change.
In the second step you focus on the one thought you are trying to change and replace it with healthy new thoughts supported by scripture. Again, the Holy Spirit is used in this process to lead your heart to right thinking and the new thought, scripture, and to align you with Christ.
The third step involves writing – you sum up the gathering, the reflection, the new ideas, and add more to each of the two steps above. Writing develops the process in your mind and also allows you to visually see the thought patterns. It can bring forth new ideas and also remind you of other areas that need work. The first time I did this guided mediation, it wasn’t clear which thought/thought pattern I wanted to change until I got to the writing portion. The writing is encouraged to be creative, descriptive, and in doing so, brings clarity and organization to the thoughts in the above steps.
In the fourth step, you revisit the problem thinking with a solution. This is where the plan of attack comes in on how you will respond when the negative thinking occurs. This is the exciting part. You get to figure out how to fix the injured parts of the brain!
In the fifth step, you DO. You make a point to stop the thinking or action that has been happening, capture it, toss it out, and replace it with the new thoughts or actions. This happens throughout your day.
In 21 days, your brain should have used all of it’s amazing parts to build, remodel, shift, breakdown, and restore some harmony to your life.
It is my hope to first eliminate negative thinking, period. I have a tendency of thinking pessimistically, or negatively, so I am defeated before the world gets a chance to defeat me. I have specific attacks on myself that I also use (“I am bad,” “I am not a good mom,” “I suck at life,” “I am unworthy,” to name a few) and after I get through my first cycle, I hope to see some clarity on which of these negative phrases still stand out and I will work there.
For now, I just wanted to share where I was in this process. I am excited that I don’t have to be stuck like this, in a brain that dislikes it’s owner and tells her as much daily. I am excited to gather my scriptures to respond to my negative thinking. I am excited to capture my thoughts and to be able to reject the ones that are not of God.
I look forward to posting again as I work my way through this detoxifying plan and I am prayerful it will bring more joy, peace, and blessing to my life.