5 Steps to Reduce Anxiety, Stress, and Toxic Thinking with Dr. Caroline Leaf

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Toxic thoughts, depression, anxiety—our mental mess is frequently aggravated by a chaotic world and sustained by an inability to manage our runaway thoughts. While we can’t control the events and circumstances of life, we can learn to control our reactions, which help us deal with and manage the many challenges we face and will face in our life. So, how exactly do we do that?

On today’s Broken Brain Podcast, our host Dhru talks to Dr. Caroline Leaf, a communication pathologist and cognitive neuroscientist with a master’s and PhD in Communication Pathology, and a BSc in Logopedics, 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 with directed mind input. Dr. Leaf has helped hundreds of thousands of students and adults learn how to use their minds to detox and grow their brains to succeed in every area of their lives, including school, university, and the workplace through her theory called the Geodesic Information Processing Theory of how we think, build memory, and learn. Dr. Leaf’s podcast, Cleaning Up The Mental Mess, YouTube videos, and TV appearances 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.

In this episode, Dhru and Dr. Leaf talk about her five-step mind-management process, called Neurocycle, and how it helps to find and eliminate the root of anxiety, depression, and intrusive thoughts. They discuss how to apply mind-management to unwire toxic habits and trauma. They  also talk about how the way we manage our mind and our emotional state impacts our telomeres. 

In this episode, we dive into: 

  • The power of vulnerability and authenticity (5:58)
  • Dr. Leaf’s family member’s suicide attempt (8:28) 
  • The 5-step Neurocycle mind-management system (12:02)
  • How to put boundaries around your true intentions (14:41)
  • How to cultivate awareness (16:05)
  • The main driving source of our longevity (29:06) 
  • The reconceptualization process (48:33) 
  • How to use the 5-step Neurocycle process during a disagreement (52:42) 
  • The 10-second pause exercise (58:18) 
  • Brain building and why it matters for our mental health (1:18:34) 
  • Dr. Leaf’s eating disorder and her recovery process (1:21:58) 

For more on Dr. Caroline you can follow her on Instagram @DrCarolineLeaf, Facebook @DrLeaf, on Twitter @DrCarolineLeaf, on YouTube @DrCarolineLeaf, and through her website https://drleaf.com/. Get her book, Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess: 5 Simple, Scientifically Proven Steps to Reduce Anxiety, Stress, and Toxic Thinking at https://www.cleaningupyourmentalmess.com.

Also mentioned in this episode:

For more on Dhru Purohit, be sure to follow him on Instagram @dhrupurohit, on Facebook @dhruxpurohit, on Twitter @dhrupurohit, and on YouTube @dhrupurohit. You can also text Dhru at (302) 200-5643 or click here https://my.community.com/dhrupurohit.

Interested in joining Dhru’s Broken Brain Podcast Facebook Community? Submit your request to join here.

This episode is brought to you by the Pegan Shake.

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Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD
Mark Hyman, MD


Mark Hyman, MD

Mark Hyman, MD is the Founder and Director of The UltraWellness Center, the Head of Strategy and Innovation of Cleveland Clinic's Center for Functional Medicine, and a 13-time New York Times Bestselling author.

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.


If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.

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