What are you thinking about?
Medicine is fundamentally focused on enabling the population to enjoy and maintain good health. In general, these means are concerned with curing the “ailment” rather than preventing it. What if there was another proven, but often overlooked, means to prevent the majority of mental and physical ailments?
Dr. Caroline Leaf presents an approach to medicine and health that is extremely valuable but whose benefits may not have been fully explored in day-to-day medical practice. She is a scientist who has carried out decades of research into the effects of one’s thought-life on physical and mental health. She is a cognitive neuroscientist with a Ph.D. in Communication Pathology and a BSc in Logopedics and Audiology, specializing in metacognitive and cognitive neuropsychology.
Imagine going to your GP expecting a prescription of antibiotics or aspirin, but instead getting a prescription to “think only healthy thoughts” for the next week. Wouldn’t that be somewhat peculiar and bizarre?
The above example is a very simplistic view of Dr. Leaf’s thorough research, but she has drawn a conclusion that a person’s thought life is a major key to preventing many mental and physical ailments.
Dr. Leaf states that 75% to 95% of the illnesses that plague us today are a direct result of our thought life. In fact, the average person has over 30000 thoughts a day. She stipulates that, as a result of unrestrained thoughts, one creates the environment for ailments and in effect “we make ourselves sick” (Leaf, 2017)
She started research into the mind-brain link in the early 1980s, and during her years as a clinical practitioner worked with disadvantaged children and adults in the US and South Africa. Due to her in-depth research, she was able to develop a theory of the science of thought and techniques to treat patients with traumatic brain injuries (TBI), chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), learning disabilities (ADD, ADHD), autism, dementia, emotional traumas and mental health issues, just to name a few.
In an article titled, “You Are What You Think: 75-98% of Mental and Physical Illnesses Come from Our Thought Life!”, Dr. Leaf sets down a few points on this connection between thoughts and illness. She explains that our thoughts affect our emotions, which influence our behaviors, which in due course, stimulates more thoughts and further influences our choices, which will eventually affect the architecture of the brain and the quality of our mental and physical health. According to Dr. Leaf, “it is the quality of our thinking and choices, our reactions, which determine our brain architecture”2.
There have also been others who have done similar research and drawn similar conclusions. According to Glen Rein (Ph.D.) and Rollin McCraty ( Ph.D.) in an article titled, “The effects of local and non-local coherent heart frequencies on conformational changes of DNA”, there is an association between ECG electrophysiological measures and biological changes in the body. The study found that heart energy influenced humoral immunity and IgA fluctuations in saliva (Rein G; McCraty, R).
One very remarkable observation was among HIV positive patients. The research showed that those who had positive feelings and thoughts of joy, love, appreciation, and thankfulness had better quality DNA, and were 300 000 times more resistant than those without those feelings (Leaf 2017).
Another interesting find was that the growth and ability of tumor cells to blend DNA was affected by positive or negative feelings and thoughts. This research, along with Dr. Leaf’s work, challenges one to explore the notion that an individual’s health can be determined by their choices and thoughts, and in addition to curing illnesses, health practitioners can challenge their patients to focus on the root causes of some of the illnesses present in society today and thereby significantly influence their prevention.
Indeed, Dr. David Levy, a neurosurgeon, and author of grey matter, in reference to one of Dr. Leaf’s books states, “Caroline Leaf has given us a real jewel, translating modern brain science into language accessible to everyone. She engages, educates, and encourages us to use science and biblical truths to improve our thoughts, relationships, and health. This book is a delight, and I highly recommend it to everyone interested in improving their joy and mental health (Leaf, 2017)”.
Furthermore, Angie McDonald, Superintendent of Advantage Academy Charter Schools also expresses that:
“If our teachers and students could really grasp the power that we each have to think differently, as described by Dr. Caroline Leaf, we could see a true change in education. When each individual, whether adult, teen, or child, begins to take personal responsibility for our own mental, physical, and spiritual health, it will change lives!”
Finally, according to Dr. Snell, in reference to Dr. Leaf’s book Switch On Your Brain, “Our thought life plays a critical role in the outward expression of our being. In “Switch on Your Brain”, Caroline Leaf describes how advancements in cognitive neurosciences support biblical principles pertaining to a healthy thought life. She describes how a healthy thought life can have beneficial effects on our overall health and physiology, providing a practical strategy to align our thought life with biblical truth to facilitate being continually transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12: 2). Dr. Leaf challenges us to see ourselves the way God sees us, through the perfect and finished work of Jesus Christ. ( Leaf, 2017)”
This article is by no means exhaustive; its purpose is to stimulate further thought and interest in the topic of thoughts and health. The aim is that health practitioners will encourage cognizance of the potential effects of thoughts on the health of their patients.
- About Dr. Leaf 2017, accessed on 9 October 2017, http://drleaf.com/about/
- http://drleaf.com/blog/you-are-what-you-think-75-98-of-mental-and-physical-illnesses-come-from-our-thought-life/). (2017). [Blog]
- Rein, G; McCraty, R 1993, local-and-non-local-effects-of-coherent-heart-frequencies-on-conformational-changes-of-dna, accessed 9 October 2017, https://appreciativeinquiry.champlain.edu/educational-material/local-and-non-local-effects-of-coherent-heart-frequencies-on-conformational-changes-of-dna/
- Leaf, C. (2017). Endorsements | Dr. Caroline Leaf. [online] Drleaf.com. Available at: http://drleaf.com/about/endorsements/page1/ [Accessed 9 Oct. 2017].
- Leaf, C. (2017). Endorsements | Dr. Caroline Leaf. [online] Drleaf.com. Available at: http://drleaf.com/about/endorsements/page2/ [Accessed 9 Oct. 2017].
Toxic Thoughts 2017, accessed 9 October 2017, http://drleaf.com/about/toxic-thoughts/