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Raising Mentally Healthy Kids with Michelle Nietert

Aug 24, 2021

In the second half of my interview with Neuroscientist and Mental Health Expert Dr. Caroline Leaf, we’re continuing our discussion of how we can learn to retrain our brains by systematically managing our thoughts, feelings, and choices. In this episode we dig into how invalidating our kid’s feelings can affect their mental and physical health, different techniques for temporarily containing instead of repressing anxious thoughts, and Dr. Leaf breaks down her 5 Step NeuroCycle.

Key points from our conversation:

💭 We need to be comfortable sitting with our thoughts. If you’re awake, you’re thinking. Those thoughts have feelings associated with them which led to choices.

♻️ Don’t suppress or invalidate your child’s feelings, instead let them know that feelings are helpful messengers that allow us to explore what’s going on and redesign the pattern. When emotions are suppressed, they recycle in the body and the mind.

🚫 There are no shortcuts to cleaning up your mental mess. It takes at least 63 days to create behavior change.

🧠 Your mind is either managed or unmanaged, but it never stops.

🔎 The first step to being a thought detective is to spot a pattern. Once you recognize it, accept it and prepare your brain for change through breathing and movement exercises that change your neurophysiology.

🧬 Dr. Leaf’s 5 Step NeuroCycle – gather, reflect, write, recheck, and active reach

📦 Neuroplasticity practices like the box and window techniques can provide a way to temporarily contain your anxious thoughts until you can calm down and process through the neurocycle.

 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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