The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #83 - Dr. Caroline Leaf
Dr. Caroline Leaf is a communication pathologist and cognitive neuroscientist with a Masters and PhD in Communication Pathology and a BSc Logopaedics from the University of Cape Town and the University of Pretoria in South Africa, specializing in cognitive and metacognitive neuropsychology. 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.
During her years in clinical practice and her work with thousands of underprivileged teachers and students in her home country of South Africa and in the USA, she developed her theory (called the Geodesic Information Processing theory) of how we think, build memory and learn, creating practical guides and tools that have transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), learning disabilities (ADD, ADHD), autism, dementias, and mental ill-health issues like anxiety and depression. She has helped hundreds of thousands of students and adults learn how to use t heir mind to detox and grow their brain, helping them succeed in every area of their lives, including school, university and the workplace. Dr. Leaf’s YouTube videos, podcasts, and TV episodes have reached millions globally. She has been featured on Elle, TED, Bustle, Medium, Huffington Post, The O Magazine, Thrive Global, Something You Should Know, Getting Curious, and many other TV, radio, podcast, and print outlets.
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Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess: 5 Simple, Scientifically Proven Steps to Reduce Anxiety, Stress, and Toxic Thinking (Dr. Caroline Leaf)
7:05 - The Mind Vs The Brain
9:25 - The brain
13:25 - Can AI (Artificial Intelligence) Think Like Us?
17:05 - Where is the mind; is it physical?
18:55 - SELF DECODE: Get All Of Your Nutritional Questions Answered With Self Decode's Comprehensive Genetic Reports! Go To MelanieAvalon.Com/Getselfdecode For 10% Off With The Coupon Code Melanieavalon And Don't Miss A Thing By Signing Up For Melanie's Private Email List At MelanieAvalon.Com/EmailList!
21:15 - the brain waves
27:50 - Confronting Depression
29:05 - Toxic Neurocycle Vs productive Neurocycle
32:25 - Depression's Physical Manifestations
36:30 - the problem with the Wellness Era
39:00 - Embrace the past and the future
40:30 - enhancing therapy with the neurocycle
44:00 - Building Patterns and Habits
46:40 - the timeline to change thoughts
48:45 - LUMEN: The Lumen Breath Analyzer Tells Your Body If You're Burning Carbs Or Fat For Energy! You Can Learn More In Melanie's Episodes With The Founder (The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #43 - Daniel Tal, The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #63 - Daniel Tal (Lumen)) And Get $25 Off A Lumen Device At MelanieAvalon.com/Lumen With The Code melanieavalon25
50:15 - Toxic Thoughts And Rumination
50:50 - addressing Types of trauma with deep thinking
55:25 - Switch App
57:25 - changes in brain chemistry and blood markers
1:03:25 - the effect on telomeres
Melanie Avalon: Hi friends, welcome back to the show. I am so incredibly excited about the conversation that I am about to have. For listeners who have been with me since the beginning, this guest was actually the second episode of this show ever. Back in the beginning, I originally brought her on for her book, Switch On Your Brain. Today's topic friends, oh my goodness, I am here with Dr. Caroline Leaf, and she has a new book called Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess: 5 Simple, Scientifically Proven Steps to Reduce Anxiety, Stress, and Toxic Thinking. Friends, no pun intended, this is one of the most mind-blowing books I have ever read in my entire life. What I love about it, and what I think we will likely dive deep into in this conversation is, we often talk about things like the role of our thoughts and how they change our identity and our habits and our experience of life, but Dr. Caroline's work goes in deep she's done clinical studies on what thoughts actually are, what they look like in the brain, how utilizing specific techniques that she discusses actually change our brain chemistry that you can see in trials, on the scans. It's really a blend of very intense science with extremely practical, applicable techniques that you can use to make changes in your life. I am just so excited for this conversation. Dr. Leaf, thank you so much for being here.
Dr. Caroline Leaf: Oh, thank you, and thank you for that wonderful introduction. Thank you for being a reader on the book. You were one of our readers that gave us some input before the book was finalized. Thank you for your input.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, I was so, so honored. Yeah, that was many months ago now when I read that version, but it was absolutely amazing. I was so excited to know that someday we're going to have this conversation right now. A little bit about Dr. Leaf for those who are not familiar. She is a communication pathologist and also a cognitive neuroscientist. She has a master’s and a PhD in communication pathology and a BSc in logopedics from the University of Cape Town, and the University [unintelligible [00:02:11] in South Africa. She specializes in cognitive and metacognitive neuropsychology, a lot of big words there, properly earned. Dr. Leaf, you might have seen her, she's been all over the place, she's been on Oh Magazine, Huffington Post, Elle, Ted, she has a TED talk, many, many books. She is very well known in her sphere and beyond that.
To start things off, Dr. Leaf, so like I said, I read your book, Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess, it just blew my mind on so many levels. I guess that is a place to start. You put forth this idea in the book, the difference between the mind versus the brain. I think that is something that your work deals a lot with. For listeners, what is the difference between the mind and the brain? Are we our brain? Are we our mind? How do they relate? What's going on there?
Dr. Caroline Leaf: Well, that's such a good question to start, Melanie, because it's the core of my work. The reason it's been the core of my work is because in science, the question, what is the mind or what is consciousness is considered the hard question of science. That was a challenge that I took up with both hands because I don't believe it's the hard question of science. I believe it's actually the most obvious question of science, because mind and brain are two separate things.
The reason I say that it's the most obvious question of science is because mind is you, mind is what you’re doing all the time, your mind is always in action. If you're alive, which you are, and you’re listening to me, your mind is in action, 24/7 you are always using your mind. We can go three weeks without food. We can go three days without water. We can go three minutes without oxygen, but we can't even go three seconds without using our minds. Even when we’re sleeping, we're still using our minds. You're using your mind when you eat, sleep, drink, walk, exercise, talk, plan, be in a relationship, responded work, read the news, you use your mind for absolutely everything as a human. Your mind is this pervasive, ubiquitous, enormous, infinite part of you, which can be defined in three words. It's how you think, how you feel, and how you choose.
When you think, you feel, when you think and feel, you choose. Those three things always go together. You cannot think without feeling, you cannot think and feel without choosing, you cannot think without feeling and choosing. The three always go together. Mind is thinking, feeling, and choosing. The way you think feel and choose and the way I think feel and choose is completely different. There's a uniqueness to each person's mind, a uniqueness to how each of us thinks, feels, and chooses, which is really fascinating. Where does the brain come in? The brain is a physical substance, it's made of all these neurons and the different parts and those grouped together into the different structures of the brain and these different types of neurons and different types of cells and different types of chemicals. It groups into all these different structures, and eventually the left and the right hemisphere and the four lobes. It's a very complex structure as you all know, and it's been something that I've been involved in studying for the last 38 years.
The study of the brain is called neuroscience. The study of how the brain can change is called neuroplasticity. The study of neuroplasticity only really came about in the mid-90s, although I was doing neuroplastic research in research in neuroplasticity in the 80s, and late 80s and early 90s, when it was the era where they didn't believe the brain could change. The brain is physical, it has structures, and it is driven by, it cannot drive itself. It's driven by-- What is it driven by? The mind. As we think, feel, and choose, that is the engine of the brain, it's the thing that wakes the brain up and the brain is a responder to the mind. The brain works with the body. As we’re thinking, feeling, and choosing, we actually imprint the consequence of thinking, feeling, and choosing, which is thoughts. We think, feel, and choose, which is mind. When you think, feel, and choose, you actually build something. What do you build? You build thoughts. Mind is think, feel, choose. You’re always think feeling and choosing 24/7, and as you think, feel, and choose, you do something, there's a result. The result is you build thoughts. Thoughts contain all our experiences. Every single thing that we have moment by moment of every single day is built into thoughts inside of the brain.
The brain is always changing. That's what neuroplasticity is, neuro meaning brain, plastic meaning to change. The brain is the physical responded to the mind. It's the part of you that changes in response to as you think, feel, and choose. As your brain changes, so does every cell of your brain and body. It's not only your brain that responds to your mind, but your entire body. Your brain and body collectively are made of 37 to 100 trillion cells, which is a lot of cells. As you're listening to me now, your mind is what's helping you listen to me. You're thinking, feeling, and choosing in response to what I'm saying. That is pushing a force through your brain and your brain is responding electromagnetically, chemically, genetically, and building what I'm saying into thought trees in your brain, they look like trees. It's also building this information that you're hearing into every cell of your brain and body. You're building thought trees and then inside every cell of your body, you're making changes in your DNA. At the same time, you're building trees into your mind. You're building what you're hearing into three places, into this quantum gravitational field of mind, thinking, feeling choosing as forest of trees, and into your brain as forests of trees, and into your body as changes in the DNA. That's what we as humans are doing. Amazing. Totally amazing. That's the difference between mind and brain.
Unfortunately, we're in an era where mind and brain are used interchangeably. We have become very neuro-reductionistic as a society, which means that we see everything as being brain. Brain, brain, brain, brain, brain, my brain made me do it. Billions of dollars have been spent on trying to find what we call the neurobiological correlates of what we do as humans. They're trying to say that part of your brain makes you happy, and that one makes you believe in God and that one makes you sad, and that one would-- Now, instead of realizing that the brain doesn't generate anything, the brain is simply responding to the mind. They're separate, but inseparable.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness, so much there. This is a question I didn't anticipate asking. The difference between the brain and the mind, would that be the reason that something like artificial intelligence, we wouldn't perceive as having an awareness because it wouldn't have the mind in a way, it would be sort of the brain-- I was thinking it could think, and maybe it could choose, but I don't know if it could feel, I don't know.
Dr. Caroline Leaf: Artificial intelligence can't think, feel, or choose because it's all pre-programmed quantum computations. Those have to be designed by a human who is the creative part. It's our thinking, feeling, and choosing that designs, the formula that then can be accelerated, so machines can then take formulas and they can make things much faster, at very, very fast speeds. The code that has to be written in order for that to happen is done by a human who can think, feel and choose. It's basically a repetitive pattern that is done in incredibly high numbers, for want of a better way of explaining it. One of the leading scientists in the field of consciousness, Professor Stuart Hameroff, and then Sir Roger Penrose, who's actually a Nobel Prize Laureate, he won the Nobel Prize last year for his work in physics. They both actually talk a lot about how ridiculous it is to think that artificial intelligence will even begin to resemble humanity. Artificial intelligence is fantastic in terms of technology and cars and creating things to actually help humans and improve our lifestyle and medical technologies, it's going to be brilliant for that.
In terms of trying to make a robot that is going to have a human component, that's not going to ever happen. One of the main reasons is because-- and this is quite a hard thing to understand. If you look at computation in the brain, if you look at numbers and the way that the brain computes things, one neuron computes things to the power of 16, which is absolutely enormously fast. That's one neuron has that kind of capacity. It's into the power of 16. That's just one. We have anywhere from 100 trillion connections, and we have 100 billion neurons. One generates that kind of energy, that kind of computational capacity. If you look at all of them working together, we can't even begin to calculate that. It would be thousand times, thousand times, thousand years before we could even begin to take the computation capacity of one neuron. That's only one part of the brain. There are other substructures in the brain like the Golgi-- not the Golgi apparatus, but these other types of neuronal structures, that we haven't even understood it until recently that they play a massive role in memory and thinking, feeling, and choosing, and responding, and things like that, they haven't even looked at that capacity.
What AI is working on is taking the power of one neuron, and then taking that power of one neuron, and trying to make it do what humans do. But they can't, because as soon as you add another neuron, you have an infinite number of computations, and you add a third neuron, you've got another layer of infinity added. By the time you have 100 billion neurons, you've got an unbelievable, impossible number to even conceive. Then you've still got all the other chemicals and different structures of the brain, the astrocytes, and each of those is playing a role. You can see where I'm going with this. Then there's the intelligence in every cell of in every DNA-- of the DNA of every cell of the body, so you can't do it yet. Bottom line is, what is more intelligent than all of that is our mind. Mind, intelligence, and everything I've just described. That’s where intelligence resides, it's in the mind.
Melanie Avalon: The actual mind, does it occupy real estate in our body?
Dr. Caroline Leaf: Yes. What it does is, is mind needs brain and body to be able to express itself. You can't be Melanie without your brain in your body. Your mind is gravitational fields of thinking, feeling, and choosing, and they only really express themselves and come alive or activated as they move through your brain and your body. It's your brain in your body that helps you translate you, Melanie, into how you function as a human, and what you generate, which is what you say and what you do. They’re inseparable, but separate. Yes, in terms of the mind, in its gravitational field, is like a mess of forest. Every single experience we have becomes a memory in that forest, so think of forest, looking at trees. In that same pattern of first looking like an arbor- like structure, forest, plant like, tree like structures is also what the thoughts look like in the brain. Thoughts do occupy real estate. When you think, feel, and choose, which is mind. You build thoughts, thoughts occupy mental real estate, and mind real estate, and genetic real estate. There’s physical substrates to the consequence of mind.
Melanie Avalon: Is it kind of light in a room, the mind aspect, because it's the energy through everything?
Dr. Caroline Leaf: That is a way you could look at it, the light in the room, but in order for light to express, it needs to move through-- because it's an electromagnetic light wave, for us to actually experience light, we have to convert it through equipment. We have to use physical stuff to translate the wave into something that we can actually see as light and then that then bounces off our eye, you get another whole translation happening. It's using the physical, so the non-physical uses the physical to express, that’s what having with the mind, that's what basically the mind is.
Melanie Avalon: Listeners, you're going to just have to get the book because there's so much information, we're not even going to remotely scratch the surface. In your book, you talk a lot about the different brain waves and how you see them because we can talk about the trials and the work that you've done, how those show up on scans and what they look like. I was just wondering-- because you talk about how there's delta, theta, alpha, beta, high beta, and gamma. The relationship between our brainwaves in our mind, what does that relationship look like? The example I was thinking of was you talk about how when we're in the high beta state, that it's anger and guilt and shame, and it shuts down our rational thinking. If a person's brain, for example, had a lot of high beta, how does that relate to the mind? Could their mind keep them from getting kidnapped by high beta, or do those brain waves determine our rational experience of our thoughts?
Dr. Caroline Leaf: Yes, excellent question. Let's make this very simple. Let's pick up on the first part of questions a mind-brain difference, and go into the brainwaves, but using a practical example so that people can relate to it. Let's say that you wake up in the morning, and you feel really depressed, you just feel like you don't even feel getting out of bed. As you feel that, as you open your eyes, and you feel that depression, and that feeling of, “Oh my gosh, I just cannot face the day,” then that feeling, that depression is an emotional warning signal coming from your mind. Depression is actually the signal that's coming from the mind through the brain. We then experience this feeling of depression. Then, our body starts responding, we feel like maybe achy or gut-wrench or whatever. In the brain, what we will see is, suddenly, we'll have a change in the energy response in the brain, which we can measure, so that comes to the brainwaves. The person is waking up, and they're depressed, and they can't face the day and they just feel like, “This is just too much. I'm overwhelmed. There's just too much going on in the family and work and pressure and COVID and politics,” and whatever, from the big to the-- just whatever, bosses or whatever it is, you just woke up and you feel awful.
What's happening is that you feeling awful is your mind responding, it's you with your thinking, feeling, choosing respond to what's been going on over the past day, week, month, year, however long, and it's accumulated, wherever. You're experiencing emotional and physical warning signal in response to what you've experienced. That then is an energy force you push on your brain, your brain will then be activated and all the memories related to why you’re feeling depressed, so the overwhelm of work, family, whatever it may be, start moving into your conscious mind and in your face. Now you start ruminating, and thinking about all these terrible things that are going on, and that you have to do and blah, blah, blah. You pull up the physicals of mind activates the mind trees, the thinking, feeling, and choosing pulls up the trees from the gravitational field, which then go through your brain and your brain activates the actual physical trees holding these thoughts. These physical trees, which are thoughts holding all the memories related to whatever's making you depressed, and you may not even be aware of them, they're just popping in your head. Then, we see that creates neurochemical chaos in the brain. We see a drop of oxygen in the front of the brain, a drop of blood flow in the front of the brain, and energetically using something like a qEEG, we can see what will happen is alpha, which is a bridging, it's called a Bridge Wave, it's referred to often as a wave, it acts like a bridge. Alpha is a very important when we start feeling very insightful and be able to sort of analyze ourselves, and analyze why we feel how we feel, and introspect and that kind of stuff. We will see and then pull up memories from the past and look at what you were thinking, and alpha will increase. It will increase in a very balanced way across the front of the brain when you're conscious, and across the whole brain, but it's very prominent in the front of the brain. At the same time, you would get a lot of what we call beta, which means that you’re coming online, so that alpha helps you dig into your unconscious mind where the thought trees are which all contain all your memories and stuff experiences there. Then, the beta means you bring them online, so you're kind of bringing them into consciousness to analyze them. Then the high beta is where you get bursts of insight.
Then, as you pull something up from the past, you’ll get a wave of delta. As you get a bit of another burst of insight, you'll get a bit of high beta and that will then, we then see an increase in alpha and then suddenly is increasing in a burst of delta which shows that something's not being pulled up from the unconscious. Whenever we pull something up from the depths of our unconscious mind, which we can define as being the biggest part of our mind, which is operating 24/7, where all our memories are stored, we’ll get a burst of delta. As we suddenly get a burst of, “Okay, this is why I'm feeling depressed,” you'll get a burst of theta. I'm [unintelligible [00:19:54] all of this. I'm just giving you the scientific picture of, this is happening in your brain if you are managing it, if you’re mind managing. If you're depressed and you start going down a rabbit hole of “This is terrible. My last terrible, I can't do this, I'm overwhelmed and broken, this is happening, and that's happening.” Then when you start reading all these memories, delta will increase pushing up the memories, the alpha, which helps you to pull up the memories will start becoming asymmetrical. You start getting an imbalance in the front of your brain, high beta, which is supposed to only be upgrading in bursts, thoughts being like a flood. Beta, which is the online increases too much as well, so you're feeling buzzy, you start getting a lot of gamma, which is a learning wave and activity, that type of energy that will start being generated when you start getting a lot of-- integrating a lot of different memories across the brain, which is a good thing if you're being creative, if you're being negative, it can lead to catastrophization and overgeneralization. You'll get a lot of gamma when you're learning in a positive way and being constructive, but you'll get a lot of gamma in an abnormal way when you start ruminating and overgeneralizing and catastrophizing and having a myopic vision that one thing has gone wrong, now everything's going to go wrong. In other words, the picture I've painted is you get a response and you get an energetic response in all these different waves.
What I teach people to do is that, in that moment, when you're feeling depressed, and you start having all these memories is not to shove it back down, because you shove it back down, you haven't dealt with it. Something that's undealt with will keep delta too active during the day. If delta is too active during the day, your oxygen levels will drop in the front of your brain, you'll get a lot of imbalance between the two sides of the brain in terms of energy. That then will increase your impulsivity, your reactivity, you'll become a reactor instead of a responder. You won't think things through, you'll get irritated, you'll get frustrated, you'll fly off the handle at everything, you’ll withdraw, whatever it is that we do, what each of us does when we're in those kinds of states. What I teach people to do with the NeuroCycle is, okay, I'm in the state, I recognize it, I embrace it. I'm not scared of this depression I'm feeling. I'm not scared of all these thoughts that are coming up. I'm not seeing myself as clinically depressed and my life's going to fall apart. What I'm doing is I'm allowing myself to feel this depression, to feel the sadness, to feel maybe a bit of grieving, to actually look at these thoughts that are making me feel like this and actually feel sad about them. I'm giving myself permission by saying, “It's okay to feel this, but it's because it is a message for me.”
This is the shift in thinking, this is the toxic way. I feel so depressed, I can't handle this. My last year, it's going downhill. I am broken. I don't know where to turn. I can't get out of bed. This is just awful, and you get worse and worse and worse. That does all that bad brain stuff. Crazy things, asymmetry raves going, tsunamis in your head. Homocysteine levels increasing, cortisol levels increasing, inflammation in your brain, in your body, DNA being affected, all kinds of stuff. Or, you can shift your perspective and say, “Okay, I'm still sad. I'm still depressed, but I'm giving myself permission. It's okay to feel that way. There's a reason I feel this way, and here is the key. There is a message in this depression and the sadness. I need to look at this, I need to see it as helpful. I need to see what is the message that the depression that I'm feeling carries? What is it telling me? Because it's a signal from my unconscious mind, and my brain, and the DNA of my body all collectively telling me, hey, Caroline, or Melanie or whoever, you're feeling depressed at the moment because of, let's find out why.”
My NeuroCycle, which is in the second part of the book, which is a five-step scientific process that I've developed over extensive scientific research, and clinical application over 38 years, simplified into a very, very scientific five-step process called the NeuroCycle. The NeuroCycle helps you harness the power of your wisdom mind, which is the internal part of you, the core part of you, the deepest part of your unconscious mind that is pure wisdom, around which everything else is built. That is the knowing in your knower, that knows how much you can handle. That is the part that we access when we say, “This is how I feel. This is why I feel this. That's what I should be doing.” It's just knowing that this is the right way of operating. We've all got it. It's the core of who we are. We’re wired for love. We’re wired for optimism. At the core of who we are, we have this phenomenal power and ability to access wisdom. In my poor state, if I don't embrace it, I can't access the wisdom. If I get fearful and think, “Oh, no, I'm clinically depressed, my life is falling apart,” and I keep going on that route, I increase the asymmetrical tsunami in the brain and I can't access the wisdom to get myself out of it.
The NeuroCycle teaches you how to channel that toxic potential energy in the right direction. Say, “Okay, my mind's always working,” at every two seconds my mind's, but at the moment my mind's depressed and going down a rabbit hole of negativity. Rather, I can first of all, shift my attitude, and gather awareness of these emotional and physical warning signals that I'm feeling right now as I open my eyes and embrace them as helpful messengers. Move, which is the first step to gather awareness, move into not a reflect state, which is a very deep process of being curious and not furious about how you feeling. A deep process of asking, answering, and discussing, and putting the thought on trial. Instead of saying, “I am depressed,” and “This is terrible,” it is embracing, I feel depressed, okay, I'm crying and I'm whatever, but this is okay. This is a symptom of something going on. I am not depression, I am depressed because of, [unintelligible [00:25:45], reflect is I am depressed because when you start finding your reasons, why am I feeling depressed? Why am I feeling this reaction in my heart so sore and physically sore? When there's a direct link I showed, we research, there's a lot of research coming out, showing that depression or anxiety or not managing your stress, you can feel physical pain in your heart, because it directly-- that moves to your heart, your heart is going to respond. It's not just some fictitious thing. Broken hearts are real thing. It's for cardiovascular issues, and all other issues in our body. Our body does respond physically, to whatever our mental state is.
When you embrace that, you shift 1400 neuro-physiological responses to work for you instead of against you. By saying, “Okay, I'm depressed, I feel sad, I embrace this. I see it as a messenger. I see the pain in my heart is actually telling me something, it's okay. I give you permission,” you can literally give yourself therapy. You stand back and observe yourself, you become two people, you become the person who's feeding the depression and the person who's walking you through the depression, same person, but you're in two different states. As you do that, you then start directing yourself. Let's embrace this, let's reflect on this. Write it down, grab a little journal, call it a NeuroCycle Journal. Grab a journal, start neurocycling. Neuro means brain, cycle means to brain, what we're doing here with embracing and gathering awareness, and reflecting, and writing, these are the steps you are actually taking control of your mind. You're using the wisdom part of your mind to fix the crazy part of your mind in that moment. You are directing your neuroplasticity. You're directing the changes you want to make in your brain. You write that down. As you write that down, you're digging even deeper and finding out the why behind the symptom of depression and getting more clarity and getting perspective. Then you look at what you've written, which is the fourth step called Recheck, where you then look for activators that are bigger than triggers. It's the processes and patterns behind what you're doing and why you're doing it. Then you end up with some sort of a little act of rechecking. “What am I going to do right now? I want to stay in bed but what I'm going to do is, I’ve got all this energy in me, I can feel the depression, I know why I'm depressed, I've identified, I've written this down, I can see it, I'm still sad, but I'm managing depression. I'm not depressed anymore. I am depressed because massive shift. I'm still feeling kind of lousy, so what can I do? What's my active reach? What can I do in this moment? Energy is never lost. Energy is just transferred.
You take that energy, and you've already now directed it through the five steps of the NeuroCycle into this positive five-step process and the active reaches, what can you do, what's the little full stop for that moment? It could be, “Okay, I'm going to get out of bed, and I'm going to go and do a workout. I'm going to sit and do some typing,” or, “I'm going to go for a walk,” or something physical is a great idea to do. Even if it's five minutes, I'm going to do some breathing, very important to follow within-- there’s many different ways of breathing. I've got some specific ones that are incredibly quick and powerful in helping people get themselves under control. You do a bit of brain preparation, so that activators-- get some physical, do something active, and then have something positive that you can hang on to for that next moment or that next day. Okay, I'm going through the rest of the day, how am I going to manage this? I know why, I've listed out all the things that are making me feel like this. Now my active reach is how am I going to manage these today so don't feel like this? You get a plan of action for how you're going to manage during the course of the day.
I know, that's a very long answer, Melanie, but I thought you bring it in, if not kind of put the mind-brain separation, and all the brain waves which describe the response of the brain to the mind with a practical example. By doing that, you've taken control of your mind. During the course of the day, you keep NeuroCycling, you keep on-- as you find yourself getting to work or you start working and you find yourself still feeling a little depressed, you just quickly do another NeuroCycle. Okay, why am I feeling depressed? And you see, okay, active reach, you get through the five steps and you've seen your last step, but what I haven't quite got this particular issue that I wrote down. I haven't got a good plan for this. So, what's my plan for that? You get very constructive. We are in an era, and I know I'm answering long--
Melanie Avalon: No, I love it.
Dr. Caroline Leaf: We are in an era, at the moment, is era the right word? We are in a pop culture, wellness kind of philosophy, which is all about meditation in terms of nonjudgmental mindfulness meditation. Get in the moment. Focus on the now, the moment, in this particular moment now. Don't think about the past, don't think about the future, just focus on the now and that'll get your stress under control. Well, I showed with my research that if you do that, you're not actually going to progress forward, you're going to actually have a bit of a numbing moment, you'll get through the moment, but it's not sustainable, and it can backfire and it will backfire because half to three-quarters of our day as humans, we are introspecting and we are going inside of ourselves, and our mind is working internally, we've always got this internal mind thinking, feeling, and choosing going on. We have to constantly direct it and control it. In fact, my research shows and research of other neuroscientists and quantum physicists, that we can actually channel this, control this every 10 seconds. In that, that constant internal thinking, feeling, and choosing, we time travel. We are thinking about the past, the present, and the future.
To tell someone to only think about now, to gather awareness of now, and to ignore the past in the future, and to just focus is not sufficient. It's reductionistic. It's taken a meditative practice out of context completely, and reduced it down, which is what we're very good at doing in these Western cultures, taking elements of different philosophies and reducing it down to one thing, and it will have a temporary effect, but it won't have a sustainable effect. Case in point, we are always thinking, feeling, and choosing. We think and feel and choose in a time-traveling way about the past and the future and the present, and we're connecting them all the time. You can't just think in the now, and I showed in my research that if you just create awareness, but you don't actually have a way of dealing with the emotions of the awareness, a constructive pathway moving forward, you are going to get worse. You're going to have too much high beta, which will come up as [unintelligible [00:31:54] in your brain, you'll have the wrong amount of gamma, alpha will start dropping down, so you’ll lose your ability to have insight and flexibility and cognitive flexibility and all the things we need to just cope with day-to-day life. That can lead to increased depression and increased anxiety, you get this negative feedback loop going.
That's why I say you don't just embrace. Meditation is very much an embracing of the how you feel now in the moment, but I'm saying you go beyond that. You embrace with a gathering of awareness of how you are feeling emotionally and physically and the thoughts that it's bringing up. In other words, I'm telling you to embrace the past, and the future, whatever thoughts are coming up, because in this moment of depression that you feeling as you wake up, you're not just thinking of now, it starts with now, but then you think of, this has happened yesterday, last week. This is where it's going to go in the future. This has happened and I've got to do this. That's what it's going to look like tomorrow. We immediately going to time travel. To ignore that creates more problems. I showed in my research with my experimental group, when we gave them the ability to be aware and go beyond. Not just gather awareness, but reflect, write, recheck, and active reach and prepare the brain, so that the brain gets resilience-- prepare the brain, I mean, breathing movement, tapping, havening, whatever, different types of physical things we can do to calm down our autonomic nervous system, and reboot the brain and get inflammation down, and that kind of stuff. Physical stuff that you can do.
If you combine all of that, you then move a person forward, as opposed to just getting stuck in the now moment. You can learn to do this for yourself. You can learn to do this with others, and you can learn to do this to change your environment. It's not just that you do this in isolation. People often ask me does this replace therapy? Not at all. This will enhance therapy. If you're going to therapy, you might be going once or twice a week, or whatever, or not at all, or you're talking to someone, maybe a counselor or you're talking to a friend or whatever. What do you do with yourself the other six days of the week and 24/7? That's what I'm teaching with the NeuroCycle. Your mind is always with you. Your mind is with every decision you make, your mind is with you when you eat, sleep, drink, everything. Therefore, you need to manage your mind in order to manage the physical responses in your brain, in your body. When you do that, there are direct physical results.
Melanie Avalon: I love what you said about the meditation. That was one of the most eye-opening things I read in your book that it's possible we have utilized this tool in the wrong way or that it might not be capable of providing what we're looking for as far as changing our thoughts, changing our reality. It seems like a really tricky path because on the one hand you talk about how we have to be conscious of our “toxic thoughts” in order to change them. Then, on the other hand, there's the fear of what you mentioned, of rumination and dwelling all the toxic thoughts and that doesn't help. When listeners practically apply your five steps, how much time is it each day? How does it keep the listener allow them to address the thoughts, but not ruminate? What does it look like on a timeline perspective?
Dr. Caroline Leaf: Very excellent question. One of the things that we as humans are very good at doing, and sometimes we lose the skill, but basically what we are pretty good at trying to do all the time, and that is get order of chaos. What this NeuroCycle does, is it helps you get order out of the chaos in your driver, and your mind is your driver. If your mind is a mess, everything else in your life will be a mess. We can hide that for a while. We can temporarily suppress things or we can distract ourselves, but eventually it catches up with you as we all know, eventually, stuff that's undealt with will catch up with you. The timeline of how to do this is two different timelines. The most simple timeline to understand is let's say that we are dealing with-- let’s take our depression example and let’s see that, okay, maybe that person is depressed. Is this a pattern? Do you wake up every morning depressed? Is this a consistent pattern through your day? To find that out to see if this is why this is happening, if it is just a one-off thing, then it's easier to fix it, but there may be something else that's consistent. Let's say that this is quite a common pattern. Maybe it happens three to five times a week, and maybe it happens three to five times a day, or maybe it happens more. No judgment, okay. This is good, we embrace it. Let’s not adopt the Western cultures philosophy that's damaged us, it's caused people to die younger, which is, “Oh, dear, I'm depressed, that’s bad. Is something wrong with me? I've got a neuropsychiatric brain disease. I need to suppress it.” That's what we've been told. It's the wrong message. It's the wrong narrative.
If you’re feeling depressed, it’s a narrative around your depression, is a context around your depression, because the depression you're experiencing is a warning signal. It's not an it. It's not an illness. It is a warning signal. It's a symptom of something going on in your life or something that has been going on, or something that did go on that's never been dealt with. Let's say that you feel that this is a consistent pattern, so you therefore need to get to the bottom of why you get into depression quite often, why it tends to throw you into negative rumination, and get down these rabbit holes. What I quickly want to ask you, Melanie, is at the end of answering the timeline, please can you ask me again to explain the difference between overthinking, ruminating, and deep thinking and how to convert those two. Because you brought that up in the beginning of this question, and it deserves its own answer. It's an excellent question, but let's come back to the timeline.
Now, you want to work out why you’re like this, why this is a pattern in your life. There's an underlying symptom, at least it's a symptom of an underlying cause. Well, it's going to take you 63 days, at least, which is nine weeks. We've all been misled by a message we began many years ago. I talk about it in my book as well, in the first half of the book. A plastic surgeon, or surgeon who put out just a comment about 21 days, and it got as often does with a method starts with some sort of statement made by someone who’s popular and then it gets wound almost into the fabric of-- with social media, it can happen very quickly. It's not necessarily effect, and it's not effect. You do not build habits, which are automatized patterns, very intelligent dynamic automatized patterns that drive you in 21 days. They're built in over 63 days. I say 63 days, give or take, it's around about nine weeks. What happens in three weeks or 21 days, in 21 days, you will build a long-term memory. It takes around about 21 days to make thoughts with fairly sustainable long-term memories in them.
Take 63 days to form a habit, but more or less three weeks to build a long-term memory. If you build a long-term memory, a long-term memory is actually inside of the long-term thought. If you think of a tree, a tree has got branches and it's got roots. That's what thoughts are like. Thoughts have got branches and roots. Those branches are memories that produce your words and actions. The roots are lots of branches as well, root branches and they are the origin story of the issue. When we talk about thinking, feeling, and choosing being mind and building a thought, a thought is made of memories. When I talk about it taking 21 days to build a long-term memory, I'm talking about the long-term memories in a thought. A thought, if you pull up a thought, so as you start working through why you're depressed on a consistent basis, you're going to build up a thought and along with that thought is going to be maybe hundreds or even thousands of different memories with all the emotions, memories are never separated from-- memories are data, and they have emotional data. It's informational data, plus emotional data.
One thought of, “I am battling with depression,” so that's the thought tree is going to have a lot of different emotional and informational data in the branches which leads to the behaviors that you have. That can be tracked back to a bunch of roots, memories, which is-- a tree has got multiple roots, a thought has multiple root causes. You're going to think of a lot of stuff, it's going to be a lot of stuff coming up in your head. One thing that comes up in your head, it's one concept, depression, but it's made of-- Does that make sense? Lots of different memories. I just want to emphasize that. 21 days, you will have found and changed through this NeuroCycle, embraced, processed, and reconceptualized, a new version of the thought. You would have found out why you be feeling depressed, you would have gone from the warning signals of depression, to your behaviors, to your perspective, to the root causes the right way all the way through the tree over the 21 days. In doing that sort of deconstruction process, you would have reconstructed a new way of thinking. It takes around about 21 days of between 15 to 45 minutes a day of working through the five steps, to pull up that tree and start breaking it down. You don't spend hours every day, you spend-- it's very important that you limit the time. You can do as little as seven minutes and at maximum 45 minutes. In that 7 to 45 minutes on day one, you're not going to solve the problem. You may only just see a few signals. You may not even get one signal-- Even in your reflect, you may not get much further than I feel depressed because I feel overwhelmed. Day two, you’ll see a few more things. Day three, you'll see a few more things. As you progress through using the same five steps each day. By day 21, you would have a very good idea of the detail on that thought tree of the memories, behavior memories, emotional memories, and the root causes of those behaviors. You'll have this reconceptualized tree.
You'll be able to say things like and this is what my subjects that in my clinical trial, they came in saying, “I am depressed, I have clinical depression, I've been diagnosed with clinical depression,” for example. By day 21, they were saying, “I still feel depressed, but the difference is, I am not depression. I am not clinical depression. I am depressed because of, and now I know why I'm depressed, and why I battle with depression. I now have a management technique.” That's the progress. By day 63, they were saying, “Okay, now I actually have a way of managing this depression. The depression pops up, activated by whatever the trigger was, I now know how to immediately get that under control.” That's the pathway to the empowerment, does it make sense?
Melanie Avalon: It does. It's incredible. In that 7 to 45 minutes each day, and then beyond that for the rest of the day, what is the difference between rumination and overthinking? How does that all come into play?
Dr. Caroline Leaf: The work you do in the 7 to 45 minutes is to sit down and use the five steps, and how to do that I briefly demonstrated with the depression example. In the book, the second half of the book, I walk you through exactly how to do that. I explain the five steps in detail, then I take you through how to do that. Let's say that you're working on an acute trauma, which is something that happened suddenly, like COVID, or losing your job or death of a loved one or sudden sickness or whatever, something that gets you out the blue. It's acute, it's unexpected. I have a chapter on how to deal with these different types of trauma. You get acute trauma, you get big T Trauma and small t trauma. They're all equally destructive and they're just different types. Big T Trauma would be something like a repeated rape, or a small t trauma would be lots of cases of like maybe bullying, repeated bullying or looking after someone who's sick, or dealing with someone who's suicidal or something. That's still trauma, but it's little t trauma, not that it's any less damaging, it's just different. Then acute trauma is sudden trauma.
The big T trauma is the stuff that tends to happen, like in early childhood, like a big major thing that can repeat itself more than once, but it's a major thing that is totally pinpointed at that time that happened. Then the little t traumas are those little day to day things that never go away. Living with a narcissistic person, for example, or having a narcissistic partner or having a very bullying boss. Day after day after day, that kind of thing. The acute trauma is a sudden stuff. In this chapter teaching you how to deal with each of those types of trauma for the 7 to 45 minutes over the 63 days. Over day 1 to 21, you're deconstructing and reconstructing and building the new sustainable, reconstructed memory thought, which is how you will find meaningful peace. From day 22 to 63, you are giving it sufficient energy in order for it to change your behavior. If I just go to the day 21, there will be neuroplastic changes in my brain. You will have found most of the reasons why you are depressed or whatever. You would have unpacked a lot of what the toxic trauma was. You would have reconceptualized it and created a new way of dealing with this, so that you have mental peace and that you can cope. It's not strong yet.
If you don't do the next 42 days, it won't have enough energy for you to sustain the new pattern of thinking to impact your behavior. Then you can get stuck in rumination and frustration, because you think that have done the work, “Why am I still battling?” Rumination and overthinking are pretty much the same thing. It's taking that one thought which I described at the beginning of the session, when I talked about you wake up in the morning, you feel depressed, your mind just goes down this rabbit hole of negativity of this and this and this and this is terrible. You're going in a circle, as opposed to deep thinking, which is saying, “Okay, I feel like this, I acknowledge this, but what am I going to do about it?” Deep thinking is using the five steps. It's like, “Okay, I embrace this, I reflect, I write, I recheck, I active reach.”
As you use the NeuroCycle, you are training yourself to go from overthinking and ruminating into a pattern of deep thinking. Deep analytical thinking, which is very healthy, where you can time travel through the past and the present and not have to get stuck in any one of those zones. You change how the future plays out, how your past plays out into your future. Ruminating and overthinking is just the awareness part. You go in circles and circles and circles and don't go further. A lot of talk therapy can keep you in that. There's a lot of talk therapy where people go for years and years and they don't seem to get better because you just keep reinforcing the same thing. Whatever you think about the most will grow, so you're talking about it, but you're not moving through it, you're not doing something to address it. In your five steps of the NeuroCycle, your footstep is a very active state and what you're doing on days 22 to 40 to 63, is you are doing a strong, active step. It could be that each time that you find yourself falling back into that depression pattern because you are activated by the trigger, you are going to immediately do tapping, and as you're tapping, you're going to say that the statement, “I am not shame. It wasn't my fault.” Or, don't say “if only”, or whatever it is that you're working on. Maybe someone who's sexually abused, very common with people that go through sexual trauma. They feel that they were responsible, that they're guilty that they deserve that kind of behavior.
When they've worked through the 21 days, and they find that reason, then for the next 42 days, as they start feeling that in themselves by some sort of trigger, or just whatever activates that feeling that active reach would be to spend-- you don't spend long at all, you spend seven seconds to seven minutes max a day, just immediately grabbing an overarching act to reach the end of 21 days, which is something like, “I am not shame. I am not guilty. It was not my fault that that happened. I do deserve to be treated better.” A couple of statements like that, that you then tap into your phone, and actually I've got an app called the NeuroCycle app, which works hand in hand with a book. You can actually tap into your phone and you can set the active reach to come up in the first 21 days, seven times a day. In the second 42 days, this is from day 22 to 63, you can set it to come up seven times a day. As it pops up on your phone, you simply read that reminder statement. You read, “I am not shame. I do deserve love. It's not my fault.” Or, maybe you're working on “if only,” you say if only all the time. Remember not to say, “if only today” or something like that. It's a statement and it could also be an action, it's always a good idea to attach it to some beautiful visual. I'm very partial to white roses, I tend to hang my active reaches on to a visual image of beautiful white roses. It can be anything, it can change.
Your day 22 to 43 is to just simply read that statement and couple it with a beautiful visual image. What you're doing is you're adding a lot of strength and energy, like when you watch a plant, the plant grows. You’re adding energy to that newly created thought that now by the end of nine weeks, those subjects of my experimental group that said, at the beginning of the study that they wanted to die and give up from depression. By the middle of the study, were saying, “Okay, I'm still depressed, but I know what to do.” By the end of the study, they're saying, “Okay, I know exactly why I was depressed, I got it under control. I'm actually set free. I've got mental peace. I can remember how it was. I have it all moving forward.” They've reordered the brain. they’ve rewired the brain completely. That's the sort of timeframe for the big step.
Let's say that you're building a new habit. Let's say you want to eat more healthily, or you want to stop snapping at someone, whatever bad habit you want to fix or new habit you want to build, I also teach you how to do that in the book. How to use the 63 days to build a new habit you want in your life or to break down a toxic habit you have in your life. It's not just for traumas. It's also for toxic habits or building new habits. Then there's also a whole section on brain building, which is a separate question which we can maybe address.
Melanie Avalon: Something I would love to dive briefly into is what you actually did find in your trials, because you mentioned a lot how the users would say that they felt different, but you actually did work on their brain scans. What did you find in people's brains, how they were changing with this work and their blood biomarkers?
Dr. Caroline Leaf: Just to get you into the-- sort of to make the science more accessible. What I have been describing so far is if we've got thoughts that trying to find toxic thoughts of early childhood trauma, early traumas that we live in our life and bad habits and all that kind of thing. That's what we've just discussed up to this point that you change over the 63 days. You can also use the NeuroCycle all day long. In the moment of waking up and feeling depressed, I'm just using that example, you wake up and you have an argument with someone or something, you can do a NeuroCycle in five seconds. I call those NeuroCycle Life Hacks. I've also put those in the book. The concept of controlling your mind occurs in a fixed schedule where you're working on something specific, which is that short period of 15 to 45 minutes for the first 21 days, and then 7 seconds to 7 minutes for the other 42 days thereafter. But you can also use it all day long, because remember, your mind is always working. In doing the very fixed work of daily working for 63 days, you also then retrain how you work during the rest of the day. As you go through the day and life happens, and you have an email, someone speaks toxic words, where you catch yourself people-pleasing, or whatever. That stuff that moment by moment, you can also NeuroCycle. NeuroCycling is something you can do in five seconds in five minutes in whatever. I just wanted to stress that. It is mind management, and your mind is always working.
In my research what I did over the 38 years, and it culminated in this most recent clinical trial, I'm doing more trials, too, Melanie, which we’re starting in the latter half of this year. I'm also publishing papers and all the stuff, but I did a nice summary, as you saw in the book of these trials, I have made it simple. The books got lovely colored graphs of these brain scans and that kind of thing. You can skip through all the science, if you want to. If you scan through this, look at the pictures, you'll see these little sections in the book I have said, so what does this mean for you? If you want to know what the science means for you, look for those little sections throughout the book, which I'm sure you saw, Melanie, to help make it easier to understand.
Essentially what I did was, I took two groups and what we call a random control trial, RCT, which is the gold standard of research, where it's a very objective, and it's very controlled, and I'm stressing that because this wasn't just some random thing. It was very, very scientifically controlled research. We had an experimental group and a control group. Experimental group got the NeuroCycle, the control group didn't get the NeuroCycle. They were tested at certain time points that came into the clinic at certain-- using a neurology clinic. They came in a day 1, day 21, and day 63. They had three lots of blood taken. They had three qEEGs is done, over that nine-week period. Then, in between, we did digital analyses at day 7, day 14, day 21 and day 42. There was a lot of contact with the subject. I'm stressing that is because all this contact we had with them made them very aware of the issues. The control group became just as aware as the experimental group, but the control group didn't have any mind management. They got worse in the nine weeks really bad. At the end of the nine weeks, they all got the NeuroCycle, so they could fix themselves. The experimental group got the NeuroCycle.
Two groups, both being made aware of the issues, one got the mind-management and one didn't. There was radical differences that we saw in them. Very briefly, both groups what we looked at was the-- first of all, the most important was the narrative, their story, the context of their life. What's going on in your life? What's happened? Why are you in this trial? Everyone's an individual, your whole story is vitally important. That's what's ignored in today's mental health world. Your story is not important. Your symptoms are what they're looking at. Symptoms tell us only that there's something going on. If you only use the symptom, and you try and suppress the symptom, you don't deal with the issue. In my research, I wanted to do-- I'm fighting against that and saying we have to look at the whole person, their context, their narrative, and I looked at some standard psychological tools that are used in hospitals or psychiatric hospitals and I have developed my own tool that looks at mind-management that actually correlates with what's going on in your brain.
With the psychological tool I developed called LMM we can actually see or answering those questions, we can actually tell you what's going on in your brain and in your DNA, which is phenomenal, and your blood, that the psychological tests used in psychiatric wards, and so on, don't do that. We use the narrative, the psychological tests, and then the tests that are developed that looked at mind-management and self-regulation and stuff. Then we looked at the qEEG, which is looking inside the brain real-time, all the energies, alpha, delta, gamma, beta, how the energy is responding, asymmetry, all that fancy stuff that I spoke about earlier on. Then, we also looked at blood measures where we looked at people's cortisol, which we all know is related to stress. We looked at their DHEA. For example, you've all heard of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis, the HPA axis, we hear about it all the time with COVID. If you're stressed, your cortisol levels rise, your HPA axis goes awry and that kind of thing. We looked at cortisol, we looked at the DHEA, we looked at ACTH, which is one of the hormones in the stress axis along with cortisol. We looked at things like homocysteine, which shows us what's going on in inflammation wise in the brain and the body, and we looked-- In other words, we looked at blood markers that looked for how you were managing your stress, because we know from the research that if cortisol rises and DHEA drops and homocysteine rises, that means that there's a lot of inflammation in your brain and your body, and you’re at risk for heart problems and brain problems and immune system problems, and your increased vulnerability to disease is 75% to 95% factor and that kind of stuff.
We also looked at people's DNA. We looked at the telomeres, which if you think of the DNA strand, and then you pull out a chromosome, a chromosome is an X. If you cross your fingers over and you look at your fingernails, your fingernails are your telomeres. The telomeres are in the scientific language, proxies for how you're managing your mental health. What we see from the research is that if you are managing your mind, if you are doing all the stuff I said earlier on, embracing, processing, reconceptualizing, blah, blah, blah, your telomeres will be very healthy. Every second, you're making millions of new cells and one of the main things involved in making cells is your telomeres, and if they're not strong, then your cells aren’t strong. For example, for cellular health, which what that looks like, we had some people in at the beginning of our study, the actual age was in the mid-30s but the DNA showed that the biological age, the age of these cells was a 60-, 65-year-old’s, so the body was 35 years older than the actual age. [unintelligible [00:56:17] because that increases your vulnerability to disease. If you're 35, and you've got a 65-year-old sick body, you can imagine what that looks like in terms of health. We showed with those people giving them the NeuroCycle, we changed that completely, the telomeres got so strong that the biological and chronological ages started-- they recombine. In other words, they've already got healthy nine weeks, which is unheard of, because normally, the research shows it takes up to five years for that kind of change. We saw in nine weeks. The point there is that by using mind management, you can make significant health changes in your brain, in your body, in the shortest nine weeks.
We saw people at the beginning of the study in the control and experimental group with terribly high cortisol, very high ACTH, very high homocysteine, which means that the body was working against them, and that they had a lot of inflammation and they were very vulnerable to heart disease and that kind of stuff. With mind-management within nine weeks, there was a significant normalization of cortisol and homocysteine, which meant that the inflammation had reduced, the cortisol levels had reduced. Even looking at things like prolactin, which is a hormone that shows how you're managing your emotions and your stress, if that's high, it's also going to be inflammation in your brain and body and increases your chance of disease. Even that dropped. What I'm saying is that, when you manage your mind, it's the most powerful factor-- I'm not saying diet and exercise aren't important, but if you don't manage your mind, you won't even get the benefit out of that diet and that exercise. You won't do it, you won't stick to it in the first place. You first have to get your mind right. You can use the NeuroCycle to do that, then you can use the neuroscience, to then make sure you get into a healthy eating plan and exercise plan and relaxation plan, all that kind of things.
The NeuroCycle is used for everything you need in your lifestyle. If you do that, what I showed in my research is that you will strengthen your telomeres. You will get beautiful balance between all the different waves in your brain. What we want to see with the waves in your brain with the qEEG is you want to see a balance across the two sides of the brain, we want to see the left and the right side working in harmony. We want to see a flow of all the different waves. If you think of the sea, if you go far out to sea, you get massive swells. Those are what we call delta waves. Then as you come in closer to the short, you get big swells, but they're not as big that would be theta. When theta flows in the brain, you get a lot of healing response and you get a lot of activation of hormones from your heart that help with healing. Then, as you come closer on the boat and the waves start forming, that's beta. As the wave crests and you get the white, that's high beta, and high beta doesn't last for long. It's just a quick crash on the beach, and then you get the little ripples, that's gamma. And then the whole cycle starts again. Now that's what you want in your brain, that's very healthy for your brain. When your brain is doing that, your blood and your DNA and your cortisol and all these fancy things I'm saying will start stabilizing.
What we saw was the nine weeks, within three weeks, really, there was massive change, but within nine weeks, it was sustainable change. We don't want to just see you sign off to 2 days or 5 days or seven days or 14 days or 21. We want to see that you can sustain it. Six months later, we looked at our experimental group, and the patterns of management, the changes in the brain and the body and the blood and the psychology and the life were sustained because they had done that nine weeks of the NeuroCycling and they continued to do it. It was a lifestyle. There's a lot of information, Melanie. Sorry, I can talk a lot. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: No, it's incredible and for listeners have no fear, there will be a full transcript in the show notes. I'll put links to everything to Dr. Leaf’s book, to the new app. I want to thank you so much for all of this because I think it is such a valuable practical tool that could change millions of people's lives. I know you have to go. But the very last question that I ask every single guest on this show, and it's because as you'll appreciate how important mindset is surrounding everything, what is something that you're grateful for?
Dr. Caroline Leaf: I'm grateful for the fact that we can actually control our mind. It's one of the most phenomenal things that mind is malleable we can, it's a skill that we can learn. It changes your life. I mean this because it is your life, your mind is your life. The fact that you can actually control your mind is great, because you can't control the events and circumstances of life, but you can control your mind and how you respond.
Melanie Avalon: Well, thank you so much. This has been incredible. I look forward to all your future work. I'm going to start doing the five cycles myself, and I will report back. I'm so excited. Thank you so much.
Dr. Caroline Leaf: It's my pleasure. Thank you, Melanie, thanks for the great questions, and for giving me so much time to explain.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, of course. Hopefully we can talk again in the future, do another episode.
Dr. Caroline Leaf: Absolutely. Wonderful.
Melanie Avalon: Thank you. Bye.
Dr. Caroline Leaf: Bye.