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Brain Wash: Detox Your Mind for Clearer Thinking, Deeper Relationships, and Lasting Happiness

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Dr. David Perlmutter, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Grain Brain, and Dr. Austin Perlmutter, his son, explore how modern culture threatens to rewire our brains and damage our health, offering a practical plan for healing. Contemporary life provides us with infinite opportunities, along with endless temptations. We can eat whatever we want, whenever we want. We can Dr. David Perlmutter, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Grain Brain, and Dr. Austin Perlmutter, his son, explore how modern culture threatens to rewire our brains and damage our health, offering a practical plan for healing. Contemporary life provides us with infinite opportunities, along with endless temptations. We can eat whatever we want, whenever we want. We can immerse ourselves in the vast, enticing world of digital media. We can buy goods and services for rapid delivery with our fingertips or voice commands. But living in this 24/7 hyper-reality poses serious risks to our physical and mental states, our connections to others, and even to the world at large. Brain Wash builds from a simple premise: Our brains are being gravely manipulated, resulting in behaviors that leave us more lonely, anxious, depressed, distrustful, illness-prone, and overweight than ever before. Based on the latest science, the book identifies the mental hijacking that undermines each and every one of us, and presents the tools necessary to think more clearly, make better decisions, strengthen bonds with others, and develop healthier habits. Featuring a 10-day bootcamp program, including a meal plan and 40 delicious original recipes, Brain Wash is the key to cultivating a more purposeful and fulfilling life.


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Dr. David Perlmutter, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Grain Brain, and Dr. Austin Perlmutter, his son, explore how modern culture threatens to rewire our brains and damage our health, offering a practical plan for healing. Contemporary life provides us with infinite opportunities, along with endless temptations. We can eat whatever we want, whenever we want. We can Dr. David Perlmutter, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Grain Brain, and Dr. Austin Perlmutter, his son, explore how modern culture threatens to rewire our brains and damage our health, offering a practical plan for healing. Contemporary life provides us with infinite opportunities, along with endless temptations. We can eat whatever we want, whenever we want. We can immerse ourselves in the vast, enticing world of digital media. We can buy goods and services for rapid delivery with our fingertips or voice commands. But living in this 24/7 hyper-reality poses serious risks to our physical and mental states, our connections to others, and even to the world at large. Brain Wash builds from a simple premise: Our brains are being gravely manipulated, resulting in behaviors that leave us more lonely, anxious, depressed, distrustful, illness-prone, and overweight than ever before. Based on the latest science, the book identifies the mental hijacking that undermines each and every one of us, and presents the tools necessary to think more clearly, make better decisions, strengthen bonds with others, and develop healthier habits. Featuring a 10-day bootcamp program, including a meal plan and 40 delicious original recipes, Brain Wash is the key to cultivating a more purposeful and fulfilling life.

30 review for Brain Wash: Detox Your Mind for Clearer Thinking, Deeper Relationships, and Lasting Happiness

  1. 4 out of 5

    Alix

    While the book puts forward an interesting hypothesis, and is well laid out (and hypnotically read in the audiobook version), it should be taken with a big ol' handful of salt. David Perlmutter is an author whose work has been heavily criticised by those in the medical field. A good summary of his credentials (or lack thereof) can be found here: https://www.thecut.com/2015/06/proble... (As someone who has studied Archaeology/Ancient History, I take particular umbradge with claim that agriculture While the book puts forward an interesting hypothesis, and is well laid out (and hypnotically read in the audiobook version), it should be taken with a big ol' handful of salt. David Perlmutter is an author whose work has been heavily criticised by those in the medical field. A good summary of his credentials (or lack thereof) can be found here: https://www.thecut.com/2015/06/proble... (As someone who has studied Archaeology/Ancient History, I take particular umbradge with claim that agriculture is the worst thing to happen to humans!) It is always worthwhile assessing the scientific validity of anything like this that claims to "heal" you in some way. I did find parts of the book interesting, and I do think it has overall got some good points to make about healthy diet and exercise, meditation and avoiding screens as a route to a happier life, but this isn't a particularly ground breaking statement. I appreciated the 10 programme at the end, and felt it was well laid out.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Chris Dietzel

    There was nothing really new here but it did offer a nice assortment of tips that, when combined, would certainly allow you to lead a healthier, happier life. Cliff notes: 1. Spend less time online. Spend WAY less time on social media. 2. Eat healthier. Eat natural foods. 3. Get more sleep and better quality sleep. 4. Exercise. 5. Meditate.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Benny Sperling

    Less “new” information than I expected. Feels like they forced a book out just to stay notable

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kimmie

    This book kind of felt that it was written as a guide for an alien coming to earth and figuring out how to blend in. The chapters devoted to neurology were interesting, however the tips were so incredibly generic it was almost comical. Go outside, eat a healthy meal with a friend, be mindful, get enough sleep, limit screen time... it was almost insulting. Anyone picking this book up to read would certainly already know these tips, they're intuitive. Overall, would only recommend the first half o This book kind of felt that it was written as a guide for an alien coming to earth and figuring out how to blend in. The chapters devoted to neurology were interesting, however the tips were so incredibly generic it was almost comical. Go outside, eat a healthy meal with a friend, be mindful, get enough sleep, limit screen time... it was almost insulting. Anyone picking this book up to read would certainly already know these tips, they're intuitive. Overall, would only recommend the first half of the book, the second part of the book is silly.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Jacobs

    Incredibly informative look at how modern living has impacted our brain, relationships, happiness, and so much more. Few books on this subject matter have tackled this subject from this position of expertise before, and this book has been a long time coming. An important read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Luis

    My wife and I laid eyes on this book while walking through a bookstore and I knew we had to read it. We had been discussing changing mindsets and cleaner living and Brain Wash lays out a plan for accomplishing that and reasons why it is important. It is a pretty fast read as a good deal of the book are recipes for accomplishing the health eating aspect of this book. The book itself is pretty good and lays out many of the mistakes we as humans are making in our daily habits and ways we can fix it My wife and I laid eyes on this book while walking through a bookstore and I knew we had to read it. We had been discussing changing mindsets and cleaner living and Brain Wash lays out a plan for accomplishing that and reasons why it is important. It is a pretty fast read as a good deal of the book are recipes for accomplishing the health eating aspect of this book. The book itself is pretty good and lays out many of the mistakes we as humans are making in our daily habits and ways we can fix it. I particularly liked the various examples and scientific studies that are in the book, but I did find certain parts of the book repetitive. Overall, I think this is an interesting read for science nerds or as a self-help guide for improving your life.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa Princessa

    Nothing groundbreaking here. I read this book thanks to Blinkist. As you follow the program, keep practicing what works until you’ve rebuilt your routines from the ground up. Day one: Start with a digital detox. Cut unessential technology from your life, and block any apps that are mostly used to waste time. Day two: Practice empathy and gratitude. Reflect on the positive aspects of your life and write down five things you are thankful for. Day three: Reconnect with nature. Take the time for a short Nothing groundbreaking here. I read this book thanks to Blinkist. As you follow the program, keep practicing what works until you’ve rebuilt your routines from the ground up. Day one: Start with a digital detox. Cut unessential technology from your life, and block any apps that are mostly used to waste time. Day two: Practice empathy and gratitude. Reflect on the positive aspects of your life and write down five things you are thankful for. Day three: Reconnect with nature. Take the time for a short walk outside, have a picnic in a park, or spend an afternoon tending to a garden. Day four: Detox your diet. Take stock of what you eat and make a plan to improve your habits. Eliminate processed foods and look up a few recipes that incorporate fresh, healthy ingredients. Additionally, consider which vitamins you could add to your daily intake. Day five: Spruce up your sleep schedule. Remove any digital devices from your bedroom and cut out caffeine after 2:00 p.m. Set an earlier bedtime and stick to it.  Day six: Embrace exercise. Engage in a bit of physical activity like a brief walk or a trip to the gym. Think about how to make it a habit. Maybe set up a schedule or find a friend to keep you on track. Day seven: Medicate with meditation. On this day, take 12 minutes to try deep-breathing meditation.  Day eight: Strengthen your social circle. Part of disconnection syndrome is feeling lonely. Fight back by having dinner with a friend, calling family members, or volunteering at a local organization.  Day nine: Take stock. Look back at the previous days and consider what worked and what didn’t. Day ten: Move forward. You’ve come a long way in just ten days. Now it’s time to make it stick. Notice how much better you feel and make a promise to commit to your new routines. The key message in these blinks: The modern world is designed to knock your brain off balance. Poor nutrition, inadequate sleep, and constant digital distractions set us up to be impulsive, depressed, and disconnected from what matters most. However, by concentrating on building better habits – like eating fresh, reconnecting with nature, and turning off our phones – we can rewire our brain to deliver long-term happiness. Actionable advice: Be realistic about change. It’s easy to get caught up in the desire to overhaul your habits. Pushing for big changes right away can lead to burnout, relapse, and disappointment. Approach the Brain Wash program with an eye toward sustainability. It’s better to make a few little changes you can stick to than a big change you abandon.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Em

    This book unfortunately is not scientifically sound. This is the same author who has shunned gluten despite there being no evidence to support that gluten is in some way 'evil' to those who aren't suffering from celiac disease. I wont blame the common person for reading through this and thinking wow there is some well laid out information and reference to literature that I can apply to my life. I can get behind the eat more nutrient dense food, sleep better, move your bodies, distance from mindl This book unfortunately is not scientifically sound. This is the same author who has shunned gluten despite there being no evidence to support that gluten is in some way 'evil' to those who aren't suffering from celiac disease. I wont blame the common person for reading through this and thinking wow there is some well laid out information and reference to literature that I can apply to my life. I can get behind the eat more nutrient dense food, sleep better, move your bodies, distance from mindless internet scrolling, reconnect with nature, etc. but how is this novel? Meanwhile eating some grains or god forbid something not green washed with labels of organic and non gmo stickers is now somehow killing us...please. Take what you need and leave the pseudo science behind. Truly saddens me to see the author, a Doctor, forget the basics of good science and only add to the level of confusion and plethora of bad advice. One star. Do not recommend.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lorena

    Doctors David and Austin Perlmutter claim to have “found a powerful way to reframe and reclaim our potential for exceptional physical and mental health.” The introduction opens with some very inspirational descriptions of the optimal state of wellness that they believe is possible for each of us. The first part of the book provides some simple explanation of how the brain works and describes the problems that are keeping us from this optimal state of health, what the authors refer to as “disconn Doctors David and Austin Perlmutter claim to have “found a powerful way to reframe and reclaim our potential for exceptional physical and mental health.” The introduction opens with some very inspirational descriptions of the optimal state of wellness that they believe is possible for each of us. The first part of the book provides some simple explanation of how the brain works and describes the problems that are keeping us from this optimal state of health, what the authors refer to as “disconnection syndrome.” The authors discuss relevant scientific literature and provide some deeply disturbing statistics while maintaining an encouraging, optimistic tone. I also appreciated their acknowledgment that much of the literature indicates correlation but not necessarily causation, and that studies of lab animals may not be fully applicable in humans. I felt like they had a very balanced approach. Part 2 describes the authors’ proposed solution. They discuss conducting a digital detox, practicing empathy and gratitude, spending time in nature, following the low-carb Brain Wash food protocol, getting good sleep, exercising, meditating, and strengthening social bonds. They present a 10-day boot camp to implement these changes, including 40 recipes that follow the Brain Wash protocol. I found this book interesting, inspiring, and easy to understand. I like the authors’ suggested plan, but I think trying to implement these changes in 10 days will be very challenging for most people. It’s about an hour a day of activities, plus a time-consuming diet and a commitment to get at least 7 hours a night of quality sleep. I prefer slow, incremental change to these boot camp challenges. I haven’t tried any of the recipes yet. They seem interesting and healthy and generally use commonly available ingredients, but many look difficult for a beginning cook or someone dealing with significant fatigue or concentration issues. Some also require equipment that not everyone will have access to (food processor, high-power blender, double boiler). I’m deeply suspicious of the estimates of time required. Considering that the food plan states to treat meat as a condiment (if you eat it at all) and to eat more plants, I was surprised that all but two of the main dishes focused on meat or fish. Also, they don’t provide nutrition information if that’s important to you. The book includes extensive notes by chapter listing many scientific papers and other references. Additional information and resources are available at https://brainwashbook.com/, most of which are accessible without any signup. While the implementation may be a challenge, overall, I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to improve their physical and mental health. Some of it will likely be review if you read much about lifestyle medicine, but I enjoyed the presentation and learned some new information that I found helpful. I was provided an unproofed ARC through NetGalley that I volunteered to review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Muene Ngo

    It’s a great book, but I found as a weak upgrade of his previous book - The Brain Maker. Hence, I recommend readers to read The Brain Maker instead.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jenny GB

    I received a free copy of this book through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you! Brain Wash details the author's theory of disconnection syndrome and their plan to combat it. First, the authors detail all the ways in which we're distracted, overtired, and generally unhealthy. This is followed by some general ways to combat these problems by enjoying nature, eating better, sleeping better, exercising, and meditating. Finally, there is a ten-day plan where each day you implement one of the ways listed a I received a free copy of this book through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you! Brain Wash details the author's theory of disconnection syndrome and their plan to combat it. First, the authors detail all the ways in which we're distracted, overtired, and generally unhealthy. This is followed by some general ways to combat these problems by enjoying nature, eating better, sleeping better, exercising, and meditating. Finally, there is a ten-day plan where each day you implement one of the ways listed above along with a few other strategies thrown in and some self-evaluation to end the ten days. Finally, a large section of recipes ends the book. I found the general parts of the book interesting, but not surprising. There are many in-depth articles and books about each of these topics alone so this is a quick overview of these topics and the science behind it. I think the book went off the rails with the ten-day plan, though, and since this is the entire culmination of what the book was leading to I can't rate this book highly. The problem is the authors are talking about some gigantic life changes that are hard to make new habits: changing how you use technology, completely changing your eating habits, changing your sleeping habits, etc. They expect you to be able to implement one new thing a day. Not a week or a month, but a day. Then move onto something completely new the next day and also keep doing everything you were doing the days before. The pace of the change was unrealistic and laughable. It takes time to make a habit. The best way to make changes is incremental changes to build toward your goal. This book does not seem to take that science into account and expect an unbelievable amount of change immediately. I think that trying to implement what the authors suggest can only end in failure, and I can't recommend this book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Hilary

    Brain Wash, written by David and Austin Perlmutter, explains how our evolving brain in the past has kept us out of trouble is now being hack by corporations and really our lifestyle. This leads to being unhappy, feel lonely, chronically stressed, and more in a world where everything can get to us at the touch of our fingers. It’s kinda strange. The authors explain how this ‘hack’, which can range from junk foods to social media likes and more, can become like a drug and drags us into a constant Brain Wash, written by David and Austin Perlmutter, explains how our evolving brain in the past has kept us out of trouble is now being hack by corporations and really our lifestyle. This leads to being unhappy, feel lonely, chronically stressed, and more in a world where everything can get to us at the touch of our fingers. It’s kinda strange. The authors explain how this ‘hack’, which can range from junk foods to social media likes and more, can become like a drug and drags us into a constant cycle of unhappiness. However, the authors don’t just explain what’s happening but how to solve it. This book has opened my eyes to certain cycles that I didn’t even know I can fall into can be fixed. It’s a book about the basics if you want to better your life and generally just how you feel, though I do warn you might have to google a few definitions and explanations, or at least that how it was for me. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to better their lives. 3 out 5 stars.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mohamed Sheikh

    Well written with scientific research on subjects that are critical to everyone's lives. This book made me pay attention to disconnection syndrome and value impacts of healthier social relationships, sleeping, exercise and food and their relation to our brain. It ends by giving many practical advices on how we can all improve Well written with scientific research on subjects that are critical to everyone's lives. This book made me pay attention to disconnection syndrome and value impacts of healthier social relationships, sleeping, exercise and food and their relation to our brain. It ends by giving many practical advices on how we can all improve

  14. 5 out of 5

    Gavin Griffith

    Really fantastic book. Mostly basic information if you already started to look for a different lifestyle, but backed up by numerous medical journals and trials and comes with an easy 10 day " brain wash" program and lots and lots of awesome recipes. Really fantastic book. Mostly basic information if you already started to look for a different lifestyle, but backed up by numerous medical journals and trials and comes with an easy 10 day " brain wash" program and lots and lots of awesome recipes.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Murphy

    Well, there is a lot of information that overlaps the Grain Brain book, but the notion of Disconnection Syndrome rings true, and the tips for beating it are (intuitive) but a handy reminder. It is much like the advice your grandmother might give you.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Katherine Hardee

    Enlightening and Informative book with loads of current and relevant research about the effects of technology and other vices on our brain. Best of all, the MD authors provide a practical 10 day brain detox with recommendations for exercise, being in nature, social interaction and limited exposure to screens for brain health and longevity. It won't be easy to do everything on the detox plan all the time but it makes me more aware of this global crisis and how to make small changes for big and po Enlightening and Informative book with loads of current and relevant research about the effects of technology and other vices on our brain. Best of all, the MD authors provide a practical 10 day brain detox with recommendations for exercise, being in nature, social interaction and limited exposure to screens for brain health and longevity. It won't be easy to do everything on the detox plan all the time but it makes me more aware of this global crisis and how to make small changes for big and positive results. Very important information in this digital age! Read it for your health.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    There is no new information to be found in this book that hasn't already been stated elsewhere. There is no new information to be found in this book that hasn't already been stated elsewhere.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    A lot of really good information laid out in a logical step-by-step plan.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Todd Taylor

    Having really liked "Grain Brain" and "Brain Maker", I was excited to be able to read this book. While the book is full of good advice for someone just starting the journey towards improving their health, I personally would skip this book if you've been on a wellness journey for any length of time. I personally preferred David Asprey's book, "Head Strong", which largely covers the same topics. If I could give this book a new title, I'd call it, "The Atheists Guide to Healthy Living". The author c Having really liked "Grain Brain" and "Brain Maker", I was excited to be able to read this book. While the book is full of good advice for someone just starting the journey towards improving their health, I personally would skip this book if you've been on a wellness journey for any length of time. I personally preferred David Asprey's book, "Head Strong", which largely covers the same topics. If I could give this book a new title, I'd call it, "The Atheists Guide to Healthy Living". The author cites "evolution" about 300 times (well, not that many, but often) and attributes this magical, theoretical force as being the reason why we are the amazing creatures that we are. I don't subscribe to the "billions of years of evolution" model. I believe we were intelligently designed to be as wonderful as we are. As such, a vast majority of this book contains topics that are frequently discussed in my Christian community and were not new to me.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tanya

    I like Perlmutter books. Usually it seems to be slightly beyond what I agree with, but very well stocked with studies and references. This one I had moderate hopes to learn more from. I knew general ideas, especially from Grain Brain. Such as the more you google for every question and do 10 tasks in parallel, the more you build pathways for short term unfocused thinking and your brain actually changes. I hoped for more in depth for this and didn’t truly get it. There was more mention of differen I like Perlmutter books. Usually it seems to be slightly beyond what I agree with, but very well stocked with studies and references. This one I had moderate hopes to learn more from. I knew general ideas, especially from Grain Brain. Such as the more you google for every question and do 10 tasks in parallel, the more you build pathways for short term unfocused thinking and your brain actually changes. I hoped for more in depth for this and didn’t truly get it. There was more mention of different brain pathways and changes but it still felt like an introductory book to the whole idea of constant phone and social media having negative affects on life and connections. I thought a lot of it made sense and I get the negative effects of always distracting yourself with a phone, but I hoped for more in depth discussions and ideas. More sciencey.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Adrian Filardo

    I think overall this is a great high level overview book. The problem that arises is that those who may be more inclined to read it are likely those interested in the field already, and therefore have a lot of this knowledge anyway. The tricky thing is getting in the hands of people who haven’t already delved into this world. I think for those people there would be amazing information to help begin their change and growth, from there you have the freedom to explore certain topics in more depth i I think overall this is a great high level overview book. The problem that arises is that those who may be more inclined to read it are likely those interested in the field already, and therefore have a lot of this knowledge anyway. The tricky thing is getting in the hands of people who haven’t already delved into this world. I think for those people there would be amazing information to help begin their change and growth, from there you have the freedom to explore certain topics in more depth if you wanted to.. I’m appreciative of it for that reason, it’s a great recommendation for friends and family of mine who aren’t this way inclined.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Savannah Hendricks

    I previously read Brain Maker by this same author and found many things helpful and informative. This book was the same as far as what I took away from it. Just because a doctor writes a book doesn’t mean everything should be followed or seen as the “right way.” I skipped the sections on relationships, eating, and sleep because those didn’t pertain to me. I was most interested in the effects of nature and social media/technology. I find these types of “self help” books work best if I take what’s I previously read Brain Maker by this same author and found many things helpful and informative. This book was the same as far as what I took away from it. Just because a doctor writes a book doesn’t mean everything should be followed or seen as the “right way.” I skipped the sections on relationships, eating, and sleep because those didn’t pertain to me. I was most interested in the effects of nature and social media/technology. I find these types of “self help” books work best if I take what’s applicable to me and use it as I see fit. Not to say the advice is not correct, but it’s advice and as a criminal justice major I know wayyyy to much about how statics and studies are gathered. So I take everything with a grain of salt. And maybe some pepper too. If you’re looking for an informative read and to make yourself better, or to be healthier on all levels this book is awesome. But be warned, it also tells you that the world, us as humans, how we are killing the world around us, and I don’t see a change happening, so it’s a bit of a downer there.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Pradyuman Singh Rajput

    Detox Declutter Strengthen Up

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lily

    Good insight Nice blend of the science behind how your brain works and doesn’t work, the impact of marketing and ads, and actionable steps for improvement. Little scattered, but interesting.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Narayan Singh

    This is the only book I would like to read multiple times. Firstly to remember all the tips secondly, whenever I need to reinforce discipline. Loved it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    timothy sprague

    Good Book I think it's a 5 star because it is relevant and up-to-date with the reality of our modern-day issues and concerns. Great insight. Good Book I think it's a 5 star because it is relevant and up-to-date with the reality of our modern-day issues and concerns. Great insight.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cristie Underwood

    The author explored how our current society of instant gratification has caused us to have more mental health issues, such as anxiety and also caused physical health issues, such as being overweight. Clicking a button and having whatever you want to eat delivered to your door seems to be perfection, but the author delves into how harmful this is in the long run. This was a very interesting book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rehmat

    The father and son duo authors have made a great contribution to the addition of self-help industry with writing this book on Thinking. It is a great book covered from scientific studies of the brain to its releases of harmones in different situations of its functioning and from healthy sleep and food to embracing exercise, meditation and tech detox. Each argument is supported with research studies. The collaborative authors argue that brain is malleable and susceptible to change, for both good The father and son duo authors have made a great contribution to the addition of self-help industry with writing this book on Thinking. It is a great book covered from scientific studies of the brain to its releases of harmones in different situations of its functioning and from healthy sleep and food to embracing exercise, meditation and tech detox. Each argument is supported with research studies. The collaborative authors argue that brain is malleable and susceptible to change, for both good and bad. For instance, it’s 1848 and railroad worker Phineas Gage is in trouble. A disastrous explosion has pushed an iron rod straight through his skull. Amazingly, the accident doesn’t kill him. However, it does damage his brain and change his life. Before the accident, Gage was affable and friendly. Afterwards, his personality shifted. He was impulsive, mean, and had a fiery temper. For many years, Gage’s behavior made him a social outcast. But, as time went on, his brain began to heal. At the end of his life, he was once again acting gentle and kind. Luckily, big, dramatic events like the one Gage experienced are pretty rare. That said, everyone’s brains are constantly changing in many small ways throughout their lives. Every time you have a new thought, feeling, or experience, your brain cells, or neurons, form new synaptic connections. This is called neuroplasticity.  The connections between neurons in your brain help determine your overall thought patterns and personality. The more you use certain connections, the more robust and influential they become. For example, consistently having dark or anxious thoughts makes it easier to have dark or anxious thoughts in the future. This patterning becomes especially important when you consider the relationship between different parts of the brain. In simple terms, our brain has three main parts. First there is the brain stem, which oversees automatic bodily functions like breathing. Next is the limbic brain, which contains the amygdala, and is responsible for processing emotions like fear and excitement. Finally, there is the cerebral cortex. This last part is the most recent evolutionary addition to the human brain. It moderates functions like reflective thinking, advanced problem solving, and complex planning.  In a healthy brain, there is balanced communication between the limbic brain and the cerebral cortex. For instance, if we see a predator, the amygdala provides a rush of fear. Then, our cerebral cortex can take over and assess the level of danger and provide a plan of action. Problems arise when this communication is weak, and the impulses of the amygdala are allowed to run wild. When this happens, we become impulsive, reactive, and self-centered.  Part of rewiring our brains to have healthier habits requires strengthening the good connections between the cortex and the amygdala. This system works wonders when you’re on the savannah and sweets are rare. However, when you’re surrounded by candy bars and fast food, it goes haywire. These days, we constantly engage in dopamine-releasing activities. We do it so much that those reward pathways build a tolerance, and we’re never satisfied. Complicating the issue of too much pleasure is the opposite problem: too much stress. When you experience a difficult or frightening situation, your body releases cortisol. This hormone sets off your fight-or-flight response. Your muscles tense, your heart rate spikes, and the amygdala section of your brain takes control. This is great in life-or-death situations, but, over time, it weakens your prefrontal cortex, priming you to make more impulsive decisions. If you are familiar with empathy as you are well-acquainted with the term by reading it again and again in different self-improvement books but the authors have beautifully explained the term in clearer way than any explanation you have come acrossed. According to the collaborative authors so what exactly is empathy? Specialists usually define it in one of two ways. The first is “affective empathy.” This is the ability to feel the pain or emotions of others. When you watch a sad movie and cry along with the characters, you are experiencing affective empathy. The second form is “cognitive empathy,” also known as “theory of mind.” This is the ability to see the world from someone else’s point of view. In relation to empathy then there is narcissism which is directly connected with your thinking. In contrast to empathy is narcissism. Narcissistic people are highly self-centered, selfish, and often completely disregard the feelings of others. Narcissistic tendencies have been linked to aggression, domestic violence, and other antisocial behavior. Over the past decade, scientists have noticed a disturbing trend. Narcissistic behavior is becoming more common than empathetic behavior. One study from the University of Michigan found that since the year 2000 students are about 40 percent less empathetic than in the past.  What does this have to do with the brain? Well, the rise in narcissism could be connected to the ways the modern world has rewired our neurons. We already know that things like an overstimulated reward system and overuse of social media can weaken the link between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala. Recent science also suggests these same processes could limit our ability to feel empathy. This is bad news for those suffering from disconnection syndrome. A decreased ability to feel empathy limits our ability to connect with others and form deep relationships. It can also contribute to our already overworked stress response, since those with narcissistic personality traits tend to produce significantly higher levels of cortisol. In conclusion, the modern world is designed to knock your brain off balance. Poor nutrition, inadequate sleep, and constant digital distractions set you up to be impulsive, depressed, and disconnected from what matters most. However, by concentrating on building better habits – like eating fresh, reconnecting with nature, and turning off your phones – you can rewire your brain to deliver long-term happiness and contribute to your clear thinking.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sejal

    Another COVID-19 mental health help type read, but this one is backed by science and written by doctors. It’s things I inherently knew but was helpful to see in one place. As a positive note, this was more reassuring that I was on the right track as many of the elements of the 10 day Brain Wash program they recommend were things I was already proactively doing on my own. If you’re looking for a plan to help you towards a happier you, this would be a place to start. Also, a big chunk of the book Another COVID-19 mental health help type read, but this one is backed by science and written by doctors. It’s things I inherently knew but was helpful to see in one place. As a positive note, this was more reassuring that I was on the right track as many of the elements of the 10 day Brain Wash program they recommend were things I was already proactively doing on my own. If you’re looking for a plan to help you towards a happier you, this would be a place to start. Also, a big chunk of the book is recipes so it’s not as dense as you might think.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

    While I can appreciate the motivation and theories behind the book, there comes a point when speaking about food and produce where I was completely turned off. Most of the book regurgitates studies after studies with citation to claims, this all ends at the food section. They make a claim that conventional produce is inferior to organic with nothing to back that up. They use words like “big AG” meaning the agricultural industry and blame the development of this industry on the decline of our hea While I can appreciate the motivation and theories behind the book, there comes a point when speaking about food and produce where I was completely turned off. Most of the book regurgitates studies after studies with citation to claims, this all ends at the food section. They make a claim that conventional produce is inferior to organic with nothing to back that up. They use words like “big AG” meaning the agricultural industry and blame the development of this industry on the decline of our health and mental well-being. It seems like they fail to realize that “big organic” is an industry all in its own. They claim GMO foods are also a cause of inflammation with zero research to back that up. Finally what rubbed me the wrong way was a passage in the book that says “Our food has been modified in part by pesticides, herbicides, hormones and antibiotics we use. Eating organic food, though more expensive than conventionally grown food, is a way of regaining control of the chemical messages that enter your body. When it comes to food expenditures, you pay more for healthful foods now or spend a lot more later to treat the diseases that result” talk about PRIVILEGE! When it comes down to eating conventional broccoli vs organic, if all you can afford is conventional you should not be made to feel that there’s no point in even eating it. Again this claim has no sources to back it up and makes me wonder who’s funding these doctors? It’s like they’ve always grown up with money and have no idea what it feels like to wonder if you’ll have enough money for your next meal. While I love the ideas that less use of social media and more time outdoors and getting more sleep are fundamental to a healthier life, it’s their attitudes towards food and lack of sources to back them up that make me give this book two stars. I’m assuming these two privileged doctors don’t spend much time with the people who are struggling financially, and they cater to the wealthy. I wanted to like this book, I had really high hopes but I was so disappointed by the end.

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