“The brain is neuroplastic,” says world renowned cognitive neuroscientist, Dr. Caroline Leaf. Her research proves that brain structures can be changed at the intersection of faith and science.
Dr. Leaf’s research shows that thoughts are physical things in terms of neuroscience. Brain imaging shows that a thought actually occupies mental real estate. Further, since thoughts can be either positive or negative, there are two types of thought structures. A brain filled with toxic thoughts is more susceptible to mental, physical, and spiritual ill health.
Dr. Leaf uses the neuroscientific parable of healthy and toxic trees to explain the two thought structures. A healthy thought tree is a miniature replica of the Creator, which she likens to a huge, healthy tree. In her television program, “Switch on Your Brain” (airing on Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), Tuesdays, 10:00am PST/12noon CST/1:00pm EST), Dr. Leaf teaches others how to control their thought processes.
A toxic thought literally equates to brain damage because the brain is not wired to naturally accept negativity. A toxic thought tree is disconnected from the Creator’s tree because no toxicity (evil thinking – thoughts that do not honor Him) can be connected to the Creator’s tree.
In order to even host a toxic thought, the brain – which is naturally wired for thoughts that extend from love, must translate toxic thoughts into some representation that it can understand. Thoughts that do not extend from love are complaints, criticisms, gossiping, hatred, jealousy, etc.).
Toxic thoughts create disorder in the brain because the natural brain language of love and life is violated. Thus, the brain creates a swamp-like, no vegetation tree to represent a toxic thought. A network of toxic thought trees creates mental, physical, and spiritual ill health.
Expanding Dr. Leaf’s tree parable, your thought build a network of brain structures like a forest of trees in your brain. Either you will have a dead tree forest or a range of oxygenating – life giving, green trees that will partner with your nervous system to create health and wellness in your mind, body, and spirit.
Dr. Leaf’s research proves that if for example a person had brain damage, there is a method for developing new and healthy brain structures in that patient – structures that could replace damaged ones and effectively “cure” the brain damage.
In fact, Dr. Leaf worked with a girl who had severe brain damage resulting from a tragic accident. She was left in a vegetative state in the eleventh grade. With prayer and coaching from Dr. Leaf, she graduated at the top of her senior class, on time, after rebounding from a trauma-induced incapacity to learn, to a fourth grade level of literacy and understanding (after which her parents contacted Dr. Leaf), to graduating from high school with her original class (video).
When Dr. Leaf graduated with her BA in Logopaedics (speech therapy) in the late 80’s, the historic research and understanding concerning mental ill health was that patient’s should only be taught to cope, because mental ill health was considered a hopeless condition. Doctors and neuroscientists generally believed that the brain lacked plasticity.
The science of neuroplasticity is the study of how the brain physically changes. According to BrainHQ, brain plasticity (also called neuroplasticity), refers to “the brain’s ability to change at any age – for better or worse.” Neuroplasticity effects brain development (or degeneration) an individual personalities.
Brain HQ informs you that “changes in the physical brain manifest as changes in our abilities… each time we learn a new dance step, it reflects a change in our physical brains: new “wires” (neural pathways) that give instructions to our bodies on how to perform the step. Each time we forget someone’s name, it also reflects brain change— “wires” that once connected to the memory have been degraded, or even severed…”
Patients who were prescribed medication were told under no uncertain terms that they would of necessity, be required to take psychotropic medications for the rest of their lives without any chance of what is being called, pill parole – a gradual discontinuance of medicinal reliance under supervision of a Physician and Psychiatrist.
In her private practice, Dr. Leaf began asking the question, “Can the mind change the brain?”
Over the next near three decades unto now, her research showed how toxic thoughts make the body and mind more susceptible to illness; and that purposefully positive thoughts directed at ill health in cycles of 21 days, destroyed the toxic thought “trees” and replaced them with new, healthy structures. She had proven that the brain is neuroplastic and can change under the direction of the mind. It truly is a case of “mind over matter.”
Dr. Leaf’s research showing how to build healthy brain structures is revolutionizing mental health treatment by diverting patients from the strict, high-cost, medical-pharmacology model – which promotes medication for every mental illness, into a thought-processing program that would gradually reduce symptoms until the brain structure is fully repaired (toxic thought trees are destroyed and replaced) and a former patient has no more ill health.
According to Dr. Leaf, the brain regenerates in 21-day cycles. Three cycles of 21- 63 days of directed, positive, purposeful thought management destroys toxic thought trees. The process of leveling toxic trees and building healthy thought trees over the course of three regeneration cycles can dramatically restructure the brain. A new brain will function differently.
Repetitions of the brain’s 63 day regenerative cycle, using directed positive thinking, dramatically changes the structure of the brain.