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Raising Mentally Healthy Kids with Michelle Nietert

Aug 17, 2021

Did you know that by managing your mind you can change your physical brain? In this episode, I’m speaking with Neuroscientist and Mental Health Expert Dr. Caroline Leaf about how understanding the difference between the mind, the brain, thoughts, and emotions as well as how they work with one another can help us realize the agency we have over our lives. Through her work specializing in cognitive and metacognitive neuropsychology, Dr. Leaf has developed a 5-step program to further demonstrate the effectiveness of mind-directed techniques to help relieve mental ill-health problems such as anxiety, depression, and intrusive thoughts.

Key points from our conversation:

🧠 Your brain is a physical part of you; your mind is what drives you. It is your “aliveness”. It is the thing that generates energy through the brain itself giving us agency and a sense of control.

⛓️ In psychology, our mind is reflected through thinking, feeling, and choosing. They cannot be separated.

🤒 Every cell in the body is run by the mind. When we have a messy mind, we have a messy body which makes us vulnerable to illness.

⚠️ We need to look at mental health differently. Anxiety and depression are not illnesses. 100% of people battle with these feelings because they’re normal reactions to adversity in life. They provide a warning signal of an underlying cause.

🥺 We’ve become too focused on the brain and the body, but not the underlying cause in the mind. If we teach it’s okay to get anxious and depressed, that it’s a normal response, it helps identify the root cause.

🌳 Thoughts look like trees in the mind. Thoughts have root memories and branch memories. Root memories are what’s happening, the branches are the interpretation.

🔎 We need to recognize the emotional warning signal, be a thought detective and find the root of it, then uproot the thought by reconceptualizing how to best manage it.

Resources mentioned:

Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess
Neurocycle app
Cleaning Up the Mental Mess Podcast
FREE empathetic listening printable

Connect with Caroline: website | Instagram | Facebook

You can find more resources about mental health, parenting, and coping with anxiety at

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