Dr. Caroline Leaf Channel: Switch On Your Brain | Can Thoughts Affect Your Health?
Elevate Christian Network :: Ministry Outreach TV
good morning everyone how amazing that Ted is in a school I just think that’s just so exciting well I and I teach people about the brain and 30 years ago I asked a ridiculous question and so and it really was a ridiculous question there’s the question can the mind change the brain now that was a ridiculous question because the view at that time and the scientists that trained me and my lecturers we were told that the brain could not change so if it was damaged well that’s it you just basically had to teach your patience rest to compensate for these things and to kind of get around the problem but that seems such a negative thing so I asked that question cannot kind of brain that damage can it not change can athon grow and a brain that’s not damaged can’t we make that better contry increase our intelligence and so I decided to embark on a journey of researching and studying this and applying it in my practice I was determined to prove that the mind could change the brain which implies that the mind is separate from the brain but influencing the brain so I started off 30 years ago in practice and I worked I’ve decided to work with people with learning disabilities and with traumatic brain injury with specifically with the learning disabled communities the older children so was we were also told back then that once you hit the age of 10 sort of 10 to 12 well then you too old to have much done for you so you’d have to you could get some remedial therapy and things like that but there wasn’t a huge amount that you could do for your brain so here I was coming out of university keen to help people but being told that we’ll just teach your patients to compensate well I wasn’t going to do that because I didn’t believe that that was the best thing to do for anyone I also know that thoughts are real things that occupy mental real estate and that as we are thinking we are choosing and we are building sorts inside of our brain I also believe that you’re as intelligent as you want to be so the more you think deeply the more intellectually challenging you the challenges you put in front of yourself the more you’re going to grow your brain so my first few patients that I worked with the in my practice were patients with traumatic brain injury patients that had suffered from severe car accidents and had suffered severe traumatic brain injuries I also worked with older the older learning disabled population I worked with people with from heart attack victims had strokes various different things were they presented with quite major damage inside their brain and I decided to throw all traditional methods and start and trying to understand the science of sort and to work with things that actually were meaningful for them one of the problems with doing the kind of therapy that I was trained to do was something called carryover where you would teach a patient in a therapy room do give them therapy and then they would have to carry that over into the into their daily life and carryover wasn’t very good so I don’t think that it would be very good therapists if I couldn’t teach them to change their brain and I couldn’t teach them to make a difference in their life so I would ask them the question what is the most important thing that you need to do and obviously the students that were at school they wanted to work on schoolwork people that had in a former businessman and woman that we’re now sitting with brain damage they wanted to get back to their former status so that was my challenge traumatic brain injury at that stage back in and I talk about that surge I’m talking 30 years ago so back in the 80s where it was not accepted that your brain can change traumatic brain injury particularly was a it was a disorder in search of data which means that the the scientists believed at that stage that the damage was so diffused that you couldn’t do anything for their brain so I started working with a I had a patient that came to my practice and this young woman was amazing she had a terrible terrible car accident she was thrown from the car she was in look he was basically in a coma for nearly two weeks and in that day and age when if someone was in a coma for longer than eight hours their brain damage was considered irreversible so who parents were told the doctors told her parents that she’d be a vegetable well 14 months after her exit after accident parents approached me she wasn’t a vegetable she’d come around she had progress she was so determined she had used her mind she had she had pushed through and she was functioning at around about a fourth grade level now that may sound strange but she was 16 at the time of the accident so she had lost 14 months her peer group were going into 12th grade and she was now functioning at around a fourth grade level so I was really nervous that I have to be honest with you because I was just embarking on this field of research I was learning how I was researching how the science of thought how thoughts form that thoughts are real that as you are thinking and choosing you actually building these quarry causing genetic expression in your brain and you’re growing these thoughts in your brain and how can we do this effectively and what is the if we can we control our thinking so I told them listen you know this is experimental but you can work with me and 14 months post-accident is also not the greatest time to work with a patient because they’ve kind of hit a plateau where they’re not really going to progress much more long story short eight months later this young girl not only did she catch up with and make close that gap but she went into 12th grade she wrote 12th grade with her peer group went on to finish school she graduated went on to get a degree she changed dramatically she and what did she do the big thing about this young woman was she chose to direct her mind she chose to use her intellect she was determined she thought she was thinking so hard about all the things that she was learning she set with her schoolwork day in and day out for hours applying the techniques that I had been developing and learning what’s very interesting and you’ll see the first slide is over of an IQ her IQ now with a traumatic brain injury basically IQ generally goes down around 20 points because of the kind of damage with traumatic traumatic brain injury or her IQ was a hundred before the accident it was a hundred and twenty after the accident so here with holes in her brain and brain damage she changed she actually increased her intelligence now I’m pretty convinced at this stage because I’ve been working beside – I’ve been working with lots and lots of other patients even the same thing when these students applied their mind their brain was changing the academic results were changing so I was working on the cognitive side on the academic side showing them how to process this information how to read how to think how to ask answer and discuss their ways through information how to write that down and capture that information how to make sure that they could go back and compare what they had written down and look at the original work and do they understand and does this make sense it was and then being able to reteach that and explain it I was explaining these students we would spend hours working through these techniques and applying it to this school and I saw change all over the place so then I thought well this is great this is wonderful I’m seeing these incredible changes and up here on the stage what you’ll see are two plants and this green plant over here represents a healthy thought and the little black tree over there represents a and unhealthy thought so we’re a toxic thought from either negative emotion or from a bad learning pattern and what I believe if you look if you look if you study the brain you can actually see that thoughts as your thoughts are forming in the brain they they form on your neurons and they look like trees so I really believed at that stage that as you were using your mind you could change your brain now in the 90s with the advent of brain imaging technology this is this was proven so back in the 80s to change your brain with your mind was crazy but in the mid 90s and now it’s totally normal you hear people talking about neuroplasticity all the time neuroplasticity means your brain can change your neuro means brain plastic needs to change so your brain is designed to change but it has to be stimulated to change you also get something that we understand now called neurogenesis neuro meaning brain Genesis meaning new verse so we are constantly on a day-to-day basis growing new brain cells so if we have a malleable brain and if we are constantly growing brain cells the more you actually direct your mind the more your brain is going to grow so the harder you think the deeper you think the more you ask answer and discuss through information the more you grow your brain the more intelligent you come logical deduction not back in the 80s it was ridiculous back then but as I said it’s accepted now collectively around the globe now researchers are proving that they that no matter that no matter what kind of neurological psychological impairment you have in your brain and even if you just want to improve your own brain by deep intellectual thinking you can change your brain with your mind so then I decided I’m working one-on-one with patients let me see if this thing can apply in in a larger context and in larger communities so very quickly I just want to show you a couple more slides from the traumatic brain injured patient and who this is the I’m just going to go through them very fast this is her this was in South Africa this is her English results what’s interesting here is the dark solid line was what she was achieving and who trained of her academic results where I intervened was if you look through the middle with you see the dotted lines starting to raise over there more or less in the middle that shows where therapy started so in other words what this is telling us is that she was an average student that was her trend line that was what she was achieving academically and if you predicted her performance based on her previous performance that’s what she would have continued to do but was the intervention of teaching her how to use her mind to change her brain there was a dramatic in some cases up to 220 percent increase in her academic grades now not only that I work on the cognitive through academics but I also worked on that directly but we also found an indirect results happening her language skills improved and her emotional skills improved so there was like an all-round effect happening so we saw the same thing happening in her social studies we saw the same thing happening in her other in her other subjects as well so then I decided to formalize my theories and start and start doing it and create crea to formalize my research I created a theory don’t worry I’m not going to spend hours on this and this is just to show you how you think it’s a theory in this the top part shows you is talking about your mind and in the bottom part where you see the clouds it’s your brain so what I’m basically saying over there is that the way that you think is actually going to change the way that your brain function so it’s formalized into a sea so in formalizing it into a theory I decided to work with a with a group of learning disabled students in a school so instead of one on one I sort of training teachers and I trained and many went to work in a school trained a whole lot of teachers and then in these systems and then they trained the students now we weren’t sure I wasn’t sure if this was going to have the same impact cuz at this point I’ve been working one on one well I’m happy to tell you that we had the same kind of results if we get this back ok we had and we had an incredible results as well let me just go back to that we as soon as the first two little blocks over there is the trend of the academic change of the school the minute that the teacher started actually applying the techniques we altered the Train significantly the point I’m making here is that I wasn’t working directly with the student I was working by the teacher I have since changed thousands and thousands of teachers for 30 years now I’ve been working in this field working with teachers corporate students people with brain damage people without brain damage and I have consistently seen this constant change the minute you direct your mind the minute you discipline and work daily on unlearning which is a process of building memory you will change your brain there’s just no doubt about it now you can think in a negative way and you also change your brain in a negative way if you think in a positive way you change your brain in a positive way and that is called the plastic paradox so this incredibly malleable brain is subservient to what you do with your mind so if you think you’re not going to make it well you’re not going to make it but if you think you are going to make it you are going to make it so the way you think will drive your brain your brain responds to how your mind is actually functioning so if you look at the next slide like come from working with publics this public school in a learning disabled environment I was then approached by government and the government I’ve come from South Africa if you haven’t already guessed and in the in that that stage I was working in it was very much the pre it was the pre apartheid area and I was approached by government to work with a group of schools in Soweto I’m sure you’ve all heard of Soweto where Nelson Mandela this time out there now these conditions were terrible for ten years I literally worked in the trenches I would go into these schools that were poorly performing schools where the conditions were beyond belief I look at this incredible school that we standing in today those schools there were there would be a hundred children squished into a tiny little classroom we would they would share one textbook there would be a chalkboard an old-fashioned chalkboard with little bits of chalk and the chalkboard didn’t even work properly there would be there these children would have means but all of them were starving every single one of them had a story that if you heard their story you would be crying most of them were didn’t have parents their parents had died of AIDS most of them had that some kind of trauma in their life shocking conditions most of them didn’t have hadn’t eaten a decent meal for a few days yet they sat there listening completely absorbed I would go into these schools and I would work for five hours at a time do you know that they would not move for five hours now what’s very interesting here is that parallel to working in these schools I had my practice and I was working in in very privileged schools as well so I was seeing both ends of the spectrum I have found the children in Soweto to have a far deeper concentration and a desire they saw that they saw the opportunity to learn such a privilege they would sit there for hours they didn’t want me to leave in one day there was one young man as I was teaching this group of students and just quickly to backtrack they redid this huge project over a period of time we work with thousands and thousands of kids and teachers and we used to drive into Soweto now so which was very very it was very very dangerous in those days I’m a white woman driving in Soweto I never got touched these people were so desirous of learning so desperate to learn how to learn that they were they protected me they couldn’t get enough of this information anyway one day a young man heard about this course going on under the school that I was doing and he he was about 24 hadn’t finished school he was a pump he was a drug dealer he was everything you do not want and when he walked into that school they all knew him the school just the kids just parted it was like the Red Sea parting and he walked to the back of the classroom and he stared at me I could feel his eyes boring through me and I could think as I was talking and explaining this is how you learn how your brain works and your intelligence works and this is how we do this biology and going through the process of reading how we process and read the information and ask answering and discussing and these children are interacting with me going through this whole thing and he’s staring at me and staring at me and staring at me and what went through my head I have to confess was boy when I leave here I better watch my back because this young man is not happy that I’m here today at the end of that five hours and they didn’t move for five hours I stress again that young man picks up his pen when the teacher said the teacher said who would like to thank dr. lief that young man ran to the front with tears pouring down his eyes I will never forget that scene he held up his pen and he said dr. lief now I know what to do with my pen he went back to school he completed school he went on to become a change agent within his community and that’s one of thousands and thousands of stories that I have been privileged to be part of my own one of my oldest patients was a 78 year old old pilot who just couldn’t fly anymore so he went and studied his second profession at 78 which was to be a CPA and he qualified at 84 I mean how cool is that he asked me to give him a certificate just renewing to plan for his job so he had done this this course so my children my lab rats I call my children and my husband my lab rats they sitting at the front chair they’re very friendly they don’t bite so you can say hello to them if you want to they grew up with the stuff I’ve used the stuff my whole life what is what is the stuff the stuff is that your mind is so incredibly powerful you have a powerful mind you have a sound mind you have a mind that is able to to achieve what your dreams are you are as intelligent as you want to be I stand up here saying this with conviction because I have seen this in over and over and over in so many different circumstances when I came to the United States I did here’s another slide coming up I did work in so I did a lot of my initial research as you’ve heard back in South Africa in one on one traumatic brain injury learning disability public schools special needs schools and government schools and I also in this country I worked in Dallas for three years in charter schools and we found the same thing happening we would said I worked a little bit one-on-one with a few of the students but the majority of the work I did in the schools in Dallas for three years was was the teachers showing them how to learn when you direct your attention when you apply a disciplined directed deep focused thinking when you sit down with your whatever it is that you are learning whether it is on a university level school level business level whatever you are looking at whatever you are studying whatever knowledge it is that you are trying to master when you sit down with your mind and you direct your attention that repeated effort when you direct your attention in a repeated way will cause learning to take place learning is a process of building thoughts inside of your brain you’re a thinking being you think all day long you are always thinking during the day you are thinking you are choosing and you are building thoughts thoughts on memories and thoughts are real things memories are real things so as you are sitting with your school because you are doing whatever you are doing in life when you sit there daily it’s a daily rigorous discipline process and you read and you ask yourself what am i reading your answer yourself and you discuss it with yourself as you do this disciplined mind work you are driving you’re malleable brain to grow branches you are literally growing branches on these neurons inside of your brain you have an unlimited capacity inside your brain scientists have tried to estimate is there a limit to what we could do what we can fit inside of our human brain well some researchers have said you’d have to be three million years old to fill up the human brain you have an endless capacity to build memory inside of your brain so when you direct your attention change happens change happens and anyway it’s your mind that changes your brain you see you are not a victim of your biology so many of those patients that I work with could have said well I’m a victim I’ve had a traumatic brain injury I’ve had a diagnosis of learning disability I’ve had a heart attack I’ve had a stroke I’ve had this brain that’s all whatever kind of brain damage those children in soweto they could have said look at my circumstances look at my environment they could have taken all that but they didn’t these we you can rise above any circumstance because the whole the truth of the matter is that you cannot control the and circumstances of your life but you can control your reactions to those events in circumstances and that applies on an academic level that applies on a daily level as you are thinking choosing and building thoughts you see each and every one of us is not a victim of our biology we are a victor over and above our biology we control our brain our brain does not control that and research over the years as I’ve said has proven that and collectively around the globe people are proving the same thing so here’s the answer to my question yes your brain can your mind can change your brain and everyone should be allowed the opportunity to learn how to learn the key is people need to be taught how to learn thank you
- In this video, Dr. Caroline Leaf describes her “Science of Thought” process and how she developed tools and processes that help people develop and change their thinking and subsequent behavior.
About Dr. Caroline Leaf
Dr. Caroline Leaf has researched the human brain with particular emphasis on unlocking its vast, untapped potential. Dr. Leaf holds a PhD in Communication Pathology from the University of Pretoria, South Africa.
She also focuses on the science of thought as it relates to thinking, learning, and renewing the mind, gifting and potential. Dr. Leaf frequently lectures to both Christian and secular audiences worldwide.
She has published numerous articles in academic journals and consumer magazines and has been widely interviewed in newspapers, on radio shows, and on television shows about her research and theories. She also has her own weekly TV show called “Switch On Your Brain” airing on TBN.
About Toxic Thoughts
The average person has over 30,000 thoughts a day. Through an uncontrolled thought life, we create the conditions for illness; we make ourselves sick. Research shows that fear, all on its own, triggers more than 1,400 known physical and chemical responses and activates more than 30 different hormones.
Toxic waste generated by toxic thoughts causes the following illnesses: diabetes, cancer, asthma, skin problems and allergies to name just a few. Consciously control your thought life and start to detox your brain!
- For the latest updates, news and information, visit her online at: http://drleaf.com
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