If I were to summarize “Who Switched off my Brain?”, in one sentence, it would be that: toxic (negative) thoughts, and the emotions that they are associated with, will physically alter the human body in a harmful way and by becoming aware of this process we can implement strategies to reduce negative thinking and moderate the corresponding chemicals that harm us.
At a more in-depth level, Dr. Caroline Leaf starts the book with an explanation of the physical process that takes place in our brain as we have thoughts and generate emotions. Not having had any education in the field of biology I may not be a good indicator of how technical/complex a discussion on brain function and chemistry should/could be; however, while I did find myself rereading several of the paragraphs, from a laypersons perspective the information was still basic enough that I could grasp the concepts. For example, Dr. Leaf explains that, “What you think and feel prompts your hypothalamus to begin a series of chemical secretions that change the way you function. The hypothalamus also directly influences the pituitary, another major gland within the brain. In this way, the hypothalamus gland is definitely warm actually the facilitator and originator of emotions and responds to life circumstances, such as fear, anxiety, stress, tension, panic attacks, phobia, rage, anger and aggression.”
Dr. Leaf goes on to explain that, “Thoughts that you don’t deal with properly become suppressed and can cause emotional and physical harm.” In other words, the negative thoughts we hold onto eventually cause a negative chemical response in our bodies that have a long-term, disastrous effect on our well-being. Fear, in and of itself, has vast and far ranging implications for our physical condition, “Research shows that fear, all on its own, triggers more than 1400 known physical and chemical responses and activates more than 30 different hormones.”
If we are feeling guilt, anger, resentment, self-doubt, cynicism and any other negative emotion we can think of, it is easy to see that our body eventually starts to rebel with digestive disorders, muscular tension, stunted growth in children, and a whole host of life threatening diseases
In spite of all the adverse effects of holding onto negative thoughts and emotions, Dr. Leaf uses the latter part of the book to present ways in which individuals can “detox their brain” and bring better health and harmony into their lives. Just as our thoughts can cause illness and disease, so too can they rejuvenate and restore health - but it all starts with awareness and the desire to break old habits and consciously create new, positive ones. Some of the steps to wellness include: consciously controlling our thoughts, expressing our emotions, taking responsibility, learning forgiveness, and various other practical actions we can take.
When we consider that, “87% of the illnesses that plague us today are a direct result of our thought life… what we think about affects us physically and emotionally. It’s an epidemic of toxic emotions.” then reading a 140 page book filled with information on how to reduce, or even eliminate, those toxic thoughts and emotions seems like the deal of a lifetime - and for many of us it might just be.