Friday, December 28, 2012

Who Switched Off My Brain?

Book Review: Who Switched Off My Brain? Controlling Toxic Thoughts and Emotions by Dr. Carloline Leaf

This book was recommended by a MOPS speaker I heard a couple years ago and I finally got around to checking it out from the library. It's GOOD. Or I should say the last chapter is GREAT. The first 4 chapters are very medical with lots of good descriptions and illustrations...and A LOT of medical jargon. Chapter 5 is all about kids, a must read for parents and Chapter 6 (at least it's a short book!) is the clincher for me and the reason I want certain people in my life (those plagued by pessimism and negativity) to read this book! Basically it's a doctor telling you that 1) toxic thoughts/emotions are actually bad for you- they affect your physical health as well as mental and should be/need to be dealt with and 2) that you actually CAN learn to control your thoughts and emotions. I feel like I learned these things during college somehow (I'm sure it was God and all the counselors I saw and support groups I was a part of) and it drives me nutso when people I love say they have no control over their thoughts/emotions. You do! You can learn coping mechanisms and change. It will not be easy or probably fast but your body and everyone who knows you (and yourself) will be so grateful you put the time and energy into it! And here's a very short, easy to read book that might just have some great ideas for you. Don't give up on the first 4 chapters, skim them (I did), but soak up chapters 5 and 6!! (Just for the record, I'm not even close to being perfect or even great at controlling my thoughts and emotions but I am way (way, way, way) better at it than I used to be and I would love it if everyone could experience the same freedom!)

Some of my favorite quotes:

"The worst thing you can do for your health is to deny, block, or suppress emotions whether they are good or bad. This makes them extremely toxic.

"Therefore one of the coping mechanisms you can develop to detoxify your brain involves not responding immediately to emotions you may feel strongly. Rather, acknowledge what you feel, and if it becomes clear an emotion is toxic, you can begin a process of learning to let it go."

"Remember that perceptions are emotionally based and unreliable. Emotional perceptions are designed to create alertness, to guide but not to rule. You need to take them captive, tame and control them, take the opportunity to evaluate them thoroughly before believing them and acting upon them. If not, you allow your emotional perceptions to take over and rule you. If they happen to be negative or destructive emotions, you set the scene for irrational behavior, bad decision making and harmful reactions in both body and mind."

"Emotions by their very nature are meant to be felt and expressed. They are a moving, dynamic, pulsing mass of electromagnetic and chemical reactions. They do not disappear or die. Somewhere, sometime they will erupt unless given an outlet. You must deal with them, because the more you may try to suppress them, the harder they will try to be heard."

"Society constantly gives us opportunities for toxic thoughts which take root in our minds and spread their poison through our bodies."

"The next time you think you don't have time for exercise or relaxation, think again. The reality is simply that you have chosen to fill your time with activities and things other than exercise and relaxation. Focus on what is good for you. Like many of us, you manage to fill your day with an endless list of things, small or large, which are not vital to your interests. If you constantly focus on the little things, you may ignore the big things that ultimately determine your health, success and happiness."

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