Your Mind vs. Your Brain with Dr. Caroline Leaf

In this episode, we talk to Dr. Caroline Leaf about how the mind is different from the brain, mind management, the mindset behind the meal and why you’re actually supposed to be a mess.

dr caroline leaf
November 9th, 2021

Episode Notes

Memorable Moments:

  • 3:48: The conversation is mind and brain are the same thing and people think it is, but they’re worlds apart. The brain is not the mind. You are not your brain. You are your mind and you use your brain and that’s a very distinctive difference.
  • 5:27: Your mind, on a psychological level, can be understood as how you think, feel and choose. Those three go together. You can’t think without feeling. You can’t think and feel without choosing.
  • 7:11: So in other words, it’s agency. So this, you choosing is you with your wise mind having agency over your decisions, over how you think, how you feel and how you choose. And that agency is something that we need to be empowered to develop and understand. And if you don’t understand this connection, you kind of just bamboozle through life, sometimes making a mess and sometimes fixing up the mess, and lot of times, staying in the mess. And the messier you are, the more extreme the state becomes. And then you end up with quite extreme mental health challenges, like severe depression and all the things that go along with that.
  • 9:04: So mind-brain-body is kind of all of this and we can actually, with our mind, look at our behaviors, look at our emotions and everything, look at the signals, become thought detectors and deconstruct down to this, and find this thought and all its memories and be constructed and reconstructed.
  • 10:15: The first thing is to accept that mess is inevitable and mess is okay. So that’s the first thing: you’re human, you’re alive, you’re a mess. And that’s just part of it. And it’s actually normal.
  • 10:37: In other words life, life is just circumstances and events that are not things that we can control. So the only thing we actually have agency over is our reactions to the uncertainties of life.
  • 11:41: We’ve got to stop beating ourselves up about being messy. It is so part of our psycho neurobiology. We are wired and designed, whatever you want to say, for mess.
  • 11:52: The messiness is part of this experimentation that our mind/brain/body’s doing all the time. What we’re meant to do is observe how we are doing it. We’re meant to stand back and self-regulate, so there’s self-regulation is the second part of the answer. The first part is that it’s okay to be a mess…And the second part is self-regulation.
  • 14:02: You know, so it’s become about this, there’s something wrong with you at your core and you’re not supposed to be a mess. Actually, that’s completely wrong. You are supposed to be a mess. That’s how you can grow, repair, and grow. You cannot grow if you cannot repair. And if you don’t miss, you can’t repeat. You have to miss, to repeat, to grow. And that’s the philosophy that helps mental health.
  • 24:51: But if your brain and body are not functioning well, if they physically, the material, the substance is not healthy, then that’s going to impact how well your mind can actually use your brain and your body because your mind uses your brain and your body. And so that’s why nutrition is important.
  • 26:05: Nutrition for your brain is important. If you’re going to put a lot of processed chemicals in your brain, you are going to have a problem.
  • 26:56: The nervous system in the gut is made from the same material as the brain, [they] come from the same fetal tissue. It has as many neurons. There are many neurons in the gut as there are in the spinal cord, and even a few more.
  • 27:38: Everything in your body is vulnerable to toxic thoughts, and to life, everything in your body’s vulnerable to life. Therefore if you, cumulatively over time, are living a very unmanaged life, your body is weakening daily and increasing your vulnerability to disease. So over time, the vulnerability is there, so that’s why mind management is an absolutely critical factor when it comes to day-to-day living.
  • 28:56: So we see over time, stress that is not dealt with, toxic stress, in other words, stress that has an effect, stuff that’s not dealt with, will put you into a chronic state of toxic stress and toxic stress manifests with all these signals
  • 32:57: We see that the brain and body are literally wired for love and where we regulate our mind. If you’re operating in love, we actually drive a healthy regulation on our mind. And when you have a healthy, a person who’s managing their mess in this love way, they become a human that’s contributing to society in a healthy, loving way. And it’s core to humanity.

Dear Mind, You Matter is brought to you by NOBU, a new mental health and wellness app. To download NOBU, visit the app store or Google Play

This podcast is hosted by Allison Walsh and Dr. Angela Phillips. It is produced by Allison Walsh, Ashley Tate, and Nicole LaNeve. For more information or if you’re interested in being a guest on this podcast, please visit

Show Contributors
dr caroline leaf

Dr. Caroline Leaf

Dr. Caroline Leaf is a communication pathologist and cognitive neuroscientist with a Masters and PhD in Communication Pathology and a BSc Logopaedics, 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 (neuroplasticity) with directed mind input.

During her years in clinical practice and her work with thousands of underprivileged teachers and students in her home country of South Africa and in the USA, she developed her theory (called the Geodesic Information Processing theory) of how we think, build memory, and learn, into tools and processes that have transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), learning disabilities (ADD, ADHD), autism, dementias and mental ill-health issues like anxiety and depression. She has helped hundreds of thousands of students and adults learn how to use their mind to detox and grow their brain to succeed in every area of their lives, including school, university, and the workplace.

Dr. Leaf is also the bestselling author of Switch on Your Brain, Think Learn Succeed, Think and Eat Yourself Smart, and many more. She teaches at academic, medical and neuroscience conferences, churches, and to various audiences around the world. Dr. Leaf is also involved in the global ECHO movement, which trains physicians worldwide on the mind-brain-body connection, mental health and how to avoid physician burnout.

Dr. Leaf is currently conducting clinical trials using the 5-step program she developed while in private practice to further demonstrate the effectiveness of mind-directed techniques to help relieve mental ill-health problems such as anxiety, depression and intrusive thoughts. The primary aim of these trials is to make mental health care more affordable, applicable, and accessible worldwide, and to reduce the stigma around mental health.

@drcarolineleaf on all platforms (FB, IG, Twitter, Youtube)