Raise Resilient Minds: How to Help Your Kids Self Regulate & Form Better Habits

Dr. Caroline Leaf

Dr. Caroline Leaf shares how we can help kids clean up their mental mess and be more resilient—all based on research from her latest book, How to Help Your Child Clean Up Their Mental Mess. We discuss tools from the Neurocycle for self-regulation and forming better habits.


In this Episode of The Human Upgrade™...

Today, we’re joined by second-time guest, Dr. Caroline Leaf, to talk about helping kids clean up their mental mess and be more resilient—all based on research from her latest book, How to Help Your Child Clean Up Their Mental Mess. In this episode, Dr. Caroline Leaf shares the best ways for parents to help their kids understand their emotions and build better habits.
Dr. Leaf conducts ongoing research and clinical trials in the field of psychoneurobiology in order to improve mental health interventions, many of which she summarizes in this far reaching, informative conversation.
We explore the impact of social media on kids’ anxiety, what parents can do to minimize the mental mess social media can make, and even how to rewire neural patterns it forms. We also dive into the myths of habit formation and how we can break down old habits to form better, new ones.
Dr. Leaf’s expertise doesn’t stop there. She also gives a comprehensive explanation of the five steps of the Neurocycle, a tool set for self-regulation and changing your internal programming.

“We need to describe, not to diagnose.”


00:01:32 — The Dangers of Social Media & Minimizing Mental Messes

00:27:31 — Habit Hacking 101

  • The 5 Steps Neurocycle to rebuild neural networks
  • The myth of building habits in 21 days
  • Identifying patterns in habit formation for transforming and healing the brain
  • How the history of habit formation and brain neuroplasticity has evolved over time
  • The new standard of care and giving hopeful diagnoses
  • Empowering ourselves to be the driver of our own health

00:54:37 — Helping Kids Build Resilience

  • Curiosity as a tool for building resilience in kids
  • The importance of learning how to self-regulate
  • How modeling the Neurocycle can help parents and children manage emotions
  • Why you should double down on what makes you weird
  • Teaching kids to question everything to filter out what’s real
  • Removing bias by connecting with others who aren’t your age
  • Helping kids get good sleep

Enjoy the show!

LISTEN: “Follow” or “subscribe” to The Human Upgrade™ with Dave Asprey on your favorite podcast platform.

REVIEW: Go to Apple Podcasts at daveasprey.com/apple and leave a (hopefully) 5-star rating and a creative review.

FEEDBACK: Got a comment, idea or question for the podcast? Submit via this form!

SOCIAL: Follow @thehumanupgradepodcast on Instagram and Facebook.

JOIN: Learn directly from Dave Asprey alongside others in a membership group: ourupgradecollective.com.

  • Our Partners
  • Links & Resources
  • Key Notes
jQuery(document).ready(function($) { $(document).on('click','ul.selectTabs li', function() { var el = $(this), tgt = el.data('target'); $('ul.selectTabs li').removeClass('active'); el.addClass('active'); $('.partners').hide(); $('.links-resources').hide(); $('.keynotes').hide(); $('.' + tgt).show(); }); });

[00:00:00] Dave: You’re listening to The Human Upgrade with Dave Asprey. Today, we’re going to talk with Caroline Leaf, who has been on the show before, and we’re going to talk about helping kids clean up their mental mess, how to have resilient kids with mental health. I care about this because I am a dad, a very grateful father.

[00:00:24] I have two wonderful kids as I’m recording this. They’re 16 and 14. And I like to think that I’ve done everything I could have done, but all parents think that. And then all parents also have that, what else could I have done or should I have done? And all those racing thoughts that happen. So I thought we should have a really cool person back on the show. Uh, Dr. Caroline Leaf was on Episode 799 of The Human Upgrade, and, uh, very, very well received, and you’re going to find that she’s incredibly intelligent and understands things about humans that most people don’t. Caroline, welcome back to the show.

[00:01:06] Caroline: Thank you, Dave. It’s always so nice talking to you. And thank you for such a lovely intro. And I see you drinking your Danger Coffee. I have mine too. So there you go.

[00:01:14] Dave: Oh, right on. Well, I definitely appreciate that. Let’s start there. Before we get into your new book, and neuroplasticity, and memory formation, and all this stuff like that, do your kids drink Danger Coffee?

[00:01:31] Caroline: Oh, we all do. I don’t have blood in my veins. I have coffee. So good for your brain. I don’t have to tell you that, so we love your coffee. It’s amazing.

[00:01:43] Dave: I started giving my daughter coffee when she was one year old, and it wasn’t planned. Uh, she reached for the room temperature, lukewarm, um, at the time, I was still using Bulletproof beans. And she just took a sip, and I thought she wouldn’t like it. And then she fought me for control of the glass and just wanted to pound it. And she’s been a coffee connoisseur ever since. Just an ounce or two when she’s younger to get the butter and the fat in. How early would you start? 

[00:02:09] Caroline: My kids have been drinking coffee. They’re also the same situation. I’ve always drunk coffee, even all through my pregnancy and everything, and I’ve had four children. So they’ve been from very, very young, and they’re all totally addicted in a good sense. They love it. So from young. I think it’s up to the individual.

[00:02:26] There’s some people that can’t tolerate coffee, as we know, which is– medical reasons. But I honestly think let children be exposed because it’s had such bad press. Meanwhile, we know how good coffee actually is for you. And that’s more than a 1,000 phytonutrients and these antioxidants, and it’s amazing, so yeah.

[00:02:45] Dave: Okay, so there we go. We have an expert in neuroplasticity, and brains, and kids saying it’s okay for kids to drink coffee. I’ve been saying that for years as well, but it’s always nice to be, uh–

[00:02:56] Caroline: Reaffirmed.

[00:02:57] Dave: Yeah, reaffirmed. Thank you. That’s the right word.

[00:02:59] Caroline: I’m a great believer in coffee.

[00:03:01] Dave: All right, so no problem with kids and coffee, but we do have some serious problems with kids today. Do you feel like if we were to go back in time 30 or 40 years, that the adults of that time are saying, kids these days, or is it actually worse now?

[00:03:19] Caroline: It’s such a good question because if we look at what’s happened, every generation has adults of the generation saying in my time, this and this. So what we’re dealing with really is that we’re always facing change, and there’s always something different, and we have to adapt to that change.

[00:03:35] There’s a few reasons why we have such a crisis in mental health. One of the main reasons that I believe, and I talk about this a lot, is that we’re not teaching our kids, nor ourselves, to manage our minds in the midst of this current climate of very fast technology and excessive technology. I hate the fact that technology is to blame for mental health because I don’t think it’s good to blame an external locus of control, but to rather look at, what are we doing with what we’ve got? Because technology is not going away, change is not going away, pandemics are not going away. Change, challenges, wars, whatever, that’s always part of being a human.

[00:04:15] So we can’t keep thinking it was better before or it will be better in the future. We live now, and this is where we’re at. We’ve got AI. We’ve got social media. These are all great tools if they’re managed properly. So that’s a big key. There is mind management of understanding the place at which technology throws information and how to use it effectively so that your mind-brain-body network, the psychoneurobiological network doesn’t crash.

[00:04:39] If it crashes, we will have mental health challenges and physical. The other side, Dave, is that 30, 40 years ago, 40 years ago, I started out, and I’ve been in the field for 38 years now. When we were trained 40, 50 years ago, the whole concept of human behavior was very different. So if someone was battling, we looked at their circumstances. And I’m sure you can relate to this.

[00:05:03] Adverse circumstances produce adverse responses, which is a normal thing. We didn’t medicalize misery. We didn’t pathologize childhood. And yet it was a biological model which was flipped into being around about 40, 50 years ago, and mental health was subsumed into the same model as medical stuff.

[00:05:23] So if someone had something like Parkinson’s, or diabetes type 1, or something like that, we use the biomedical model because we know that there’s a structural damage in the substantia nigra for something like Parkinson’s. We know there’s a problem with the pancreas. We can diagnose and link it back to a biological cause.

[00:05:41] That model works for the physical brain and body. But when it comes to our human experience, it doesn’t work well at all. And time has tested this approach of putting it into a symptom diagnostic, eliminate the symptom biomedical model, and it has not done well at all.

[00:05:59] So that’s one of the other reasons why we’re sitting with a mental health crisis for all ages and is also because of the biomedical model, which doesn’t allow us to process or experience, that just labels, locks you in. We need to describe, not to diagnose. So those are two main factors that have contributed to the crisis currently. And yeah, so I can go on and on for hours, but that’s two broad things that have really resulted in this change.

[00:06:27] Dave: So you don’t want to blame social media at all for anxiety in kids?

[00:06:32] Caroline: That’s a good question. I don’t blame social media. I blame how it’s been managed. There’s a very distinct difference. So if you just let your child go on social media all day or you don’t teach a child or an adult, ourselves, educate ourselves to understand that whatever you think about the most will grow, so if I’m a 13-year-old and I’m going to spend all day long scrolling through social media and seeing that that body image is the body image, and if I don’t look like that, I have no value, that’s what I’m going to see. So I’m going to wire that experience into my network, and it’s going to become all consuming.

[00:07:08] If I put my fingers like this, that is going to be the viewpoint. And I’m going to think about that all the time. It’s a distorted viewpoint. The more I look at it, the more I reinforce it. It’s getting stronger and stronger in my network. And whatever you grow and recycle in your biological network drives how you function.

[00:07:23] So from that perspective, yes, it’s a problem, but the problem is not the social media. The problem is how it’s being managed. We need to teach our kids, hey, if you’re looking at social media that long, it’s wiring in your brain and changing. This is how it’s changing. These are the signals you can look for.

[00:07:38] And also we’ve got to ask questions. We’ll help our kids ask questions. Is that really the right way that every single person should look? Is that really the truth? So it’s those conversations that are missing, and that’s what I mean. So social media unmanaged will become a problem and will create mental health challenges The contagion aspect, the speed, all those kinds of things have to be managed. Otherwise, it’s going to be a big problem. But it’s not the main cause of mental health issues.

[00:08:05] Dave: So we say it has to be managed, which is relatively passive. Is it Mark Zuckerberg’s job to manage it? Is it the government’s job to manage it? Is it parents’ jobs? Teachers? Who’s supposed to manage social media for kids who don’t seem able to manage it themselves? Heck, adults, most of them are addicted to it as well.

[00:08:24] Caroline: Exactly. So this is where the mind management aspect comes into adulthood as well. So it comes from both ends. We’ve got to obviously have policy in place. We’ve obviously got to have responsible CEOs of things, but that takes time because these are the reasons that they’re going to drive it.

[00:08:39] But on the other side, it’s educating ourselves and our children. We need to understand. That’s why I’m so hot in helping people understand the impact of experience on how we function as humans. And whether that experience is being hours on social media or having some circumstantial situation like an abuse or just battling with boss, or battling with finances, or just social politics, etc, all that stuff, everything from the moment you open your eyes to the moment you go to sleep is an experience that you’re having and processing through your mind-brain-body network and becomes part of you.

[00:09:12] So if we don’t know how to recognize that that’s making a mess in us, we’re going to land up with attention problems, and hyperactivity, and mental health, and depression, and angst, and anxiety, and a sense of unease, which is what a lot of the adolescents will tell you that they feel. They just feel something’s not right.

[00:09:31] When you bombard the mind, brain, and body with all this unfiltered information, it’s going to change us. First part is education. Educating parents. Educating that the parent should help have these conversations with their children. That’s at the grassroots level. Hopefully, the policies will come into place, but it’s going to be driven by the adults talking to the children and children being educated about what’s happening.

[00:09:58] Dave: It seems like relying on your government, or your boss, to be in charge of your health, whether it’s physical health or mental health has never worked out very well.

[00:10:10] Caroline: I agree with you, Dave. That’s why you can’t rely on that. It’s going to happen, hopefully, but you have to be empowered yourself. So that’s the focus that I take, is self-empowerment.

[00:10:23] Dave: Some of that you can’t really outsource. In the book, you talk about mental messes. As someone who really understands brains, what is a mental mess? Walk me through the concept.

[00:10:37] Caroline: Let’s take social media. Let’s take that example that I gave of a child getting consumed on social media. That’s a bunch of experiences, unmanaged, are being processed by the mind into the brain, and everything that goes into the brain becomes protein cluster of information, which is memories clustering into a thought. So it’s changed. That’s neuroplasticity. 

[00:11:00] So everything that we experience– you know this. People watching know this, but you may not know the details. Literally every word I’m saying is broken down into vibrations which group into amino acids, which group into proteins, which grow into branch networks. Plus, these are changing all 37 to 100 trillion cells of your body.

[00:11:18] Plus, there’s a change in the mind networks, gravitational fields, electromagnetic fields, etc. So this embodiment is going into us, and then it’s influencing how we show up. So basically, if I have a messy– let’s say you have an argument with someone, or let’s say you get an email, let’s say there’s a relationship issue, crisis with your child, or whatever. That’s information coming in, and it’s wiring in in this way. 

[00:11:45] The messy part of it is it comes– it’s like waves of the sea. This is the easiest analogy. The information comes in. If you think of the waves of the sea, they’re big, they build as they get close to shore, they get a little white crest, they crash on the beach and make little waves. They get sucked back in.

[00:12:03] So we want that wave action in the brain. You understand all the brainwave frequencies and so on. All my research is done using the QEG and neuroscientific principles using the brainwave frequencies, which are very powerful and give you a lot of information. So messiness is not a nice balanced waveform across the left and the right side of the brain.

[00:12:23] Messiness is when you have an experience that’s toxic, like bullying or whatever. Anything toxic, that energy wave that comes in and builds and collapses in the brain, like it collapses on the beach, as it collapses it’s building these protein pillar structures that our mess folded. And that thing creates this sense that is captured and then makes a mess inside of our brain and our body.

[00:12:45] Then that shows up in how we feel, what we do and say, how we feel in our body, our perspective. And that combination influences how we function. So that’s the messiness I’m talking about. And that mess can be on a gradient. If this is one, and this is 10, your eight signs and 10s are your most obvious traumas. Sexual abuse trauma and physical abuse. The big traumas. 

[00:13:08] Then the middle is more like the habits that we’re forming, the not managing social media, getting into habits, creating these patterns in our life that we don’t control, bad eating patterns, etc. One, twos, and threes are the minor irritations, day-to-day struggles, things breaking, little ups and downs, issue with the sibling. So no major stuff. 

[00:13:28] On that scale, each of those are different levels of messiness, but they’re growing into us, they build into us, and they show up with signals. So what we need to do is be empowered to recognize the signals so that we can track where it’s coming from so that we can deconstruct. So that’s where we have messiness.

[00:13:45] Dave: That’s something that was the core of why I wanted to chat with you about the new book, because, uh, in my most recent book, I talk about your main job is to get the right signals into the body to get the results you want. And sometimes getting a signal in can look like neurofeedback, or it can look like, when did you eat? Everything you do is basically a signal. Your brain is an interpreting machine that really brings in something that you can’t see, and then it repackages it so you can see it.

[00:14:18] It’s simplifying all the time, uh, because it’s picking up things that it just says, it’s not worth you knowing about that little detail. So it just doesn’t bring it to your attention, and so you don’t see it. Um, I started thinking about listening to a podcast, or reading a book, or even watching a YouTube video or something that has something in it.

[00:14:41] It’s installing a little app in your brain. It’s a new way of looking at the world, at least, if it’s not just mindless content. When you’re using social media, an algorithm is feeding you stuff that changes how you see the world. What are the tricks to use social media so that it doesn’t make a mental mess?

[00:15:02] Caroline: Excellent question. This is an educational thing. It’s really sitting down with your kids. If you read an article on this for a magazine, they put time magazine in fact. It’s sitting down, you yourself, and getting information. It’s sitting down with you and your kids. It’s education. It’s understanding first of all, how that’s changing your mind-brain-body network, how it shows up in signals.

[00:15:23] And then understanding things like, do you know that if you keep scrolling in that page that is commodified, that is an algorithm, they’re taking your interest, and they’re making money out of you. You tell that to a child. Do you want that to be done? Do you want people to be watching your patterns and use that against you to sell more stuff to you and take you down another road? 

[00:15:48] So there’s understanding that, and there’s some really great tools out there. Um, there’s a lot of information. You can just Google information on how this works and have these discussions with these kids. And these kids also are pretty tuned in because they’re watching TikTok and that kind of thing. They tuned in, but they also– you can so easily get consumed. 

[00:16:05] And that’s another thing you need to teach a child and an adult through literally having the experience and saying, okay, when you get on that page and you look two hours later, you’re still scrolling, that’s addictive nature where you are maybe even feeling worse about yourself, but you’re really begging to put that down. Let’s talk about those signals. Let’s understand what that looks like. So that’s the way that I have approached it with people and how I have researched and whatever.

[00:16:32] So it’s basically education and helping them understand the impact on their network plus how it leads them down another path. And as you say, it puts these thoughts in your brain. And you want to say to these kids and adults, do you want that in your brain? Because whatever you focusing on is growing.

[00:16:48] Whatever you think about the most is growing in your brain. It becomes one of your drivers. So what do you want? Do you want to drive yourself or do you want to be driven? And it’s those kinds of concepts that are very– once you understand them. That idea, it’s easy to get through to people when they start knowing how to recognize that, hey, when I’m spending this time, I feel uneasy. I feel this hovering sense of anxiety. I’m begging to concentrate. 

[00:17:14] If we understand that those could be not necessarily now that you have ADHD that wasn’t diagnosed, which is the latest trend, undiagnosed ADHD. Maybe it’s because you are– there’s so much technology, so much information, such a speed.

[00:17:28] Maybe you’re just scanning the surface of things, and looking at this, and looking at that. That’s not good for the brain. Your brain doesn’t like to do– it gathers information, but it works cyclically. So it likes to have these points where you stop and you actually listen to the whole podcast, or select from those 500 things you’ve just looked at and choose one thing that’s really interesting to you and read deeply to think, to understand. 

[00:17:50] If we don’t go down, and we just go across, we create these lender sense of distance in our mind, in our body. But we’ve got to teach the kids about that, adults about that. And you’ve got to teach them how to pick up those signals. So it’s a three-pronged approach that makes sense. And it can be done. I’ve done it for a long time now with people.

[00:18:11] Dave: It feels like Instagram poisoned everyone’s brain when they went away from the old model. Here’s a picture, and then read some interesting stuff so you could see something and then go deep. And they started punishing you for that. Now you have to play a video, which takes 15 or 20 seconds for what you could have read in two seconds.

[00:18:31] And you go into this zombie state where you see it, and then you scroll, but you never go deep anymore. And people don’t even read the comments there. And I’ve gone from writing about 3,000 articles that are 2,000-plus words on my blog, as well as all the books, which I’m still writing the books. But I’ve spent way less time writing and really carefully structuring thoughts that go in and create a new thing to put a lot of energy into inane stuff.

[00:19:00] Like, how does my hair look on video? And it’s not very good mentally, to do that either. But if no one sees it when you do the hard work of writing something, and they see it when you put on your tight pants and lipstick, or whatever the thing is, it’s encouraging behavior, on one hand of content creators, but on the other hand, the consumers, it’s like go into a zombie mode for five seconds of video, scroll, zombie, scroll, zombie, but never going deep. How do you teach a kid to go deep?

[00:19:33] Caroline: That’s where you sit down, and it’s not going to happen overnight. To change behaviors and emotions, because behaviors never live alone. Behaviors are linked with emotions, and your bodily sensation, and your perspective. So it’s a cluster. To change that cluster is going to take cycles of at least 63 days, between 59 and 66 days. 

[00:19:53] So a lot of the work that I’ve done, and you’ve got a big study running currently, clinical trial that I’m running currently, confirming how long it actually takes to rewire and to create a new network that will actually drive you in the direction you want to go. So you’re not going to teach your kids or yourself this idea of, hey, that’s zombie scrolling that puts me in that state, that’s actually affecting my concentration, that knowledge. 

[00:20:21] You can have conversations over a period of time, um, but to make that actual change, it’s going to take you a little bit of time every single day. And I recommend around 5 to 15 minutes, 45 minutes a day of very deliberate and intentional time that you spend on this concept or whatever it is that you’re trying to change in order for change to take place. And the mistake a lot of people make, Dave, is that, and this is where the mind management aspect comes in.

[00:20:46] Mind management has as an active ingredient, self-regulation. And self-regulation is not happening when I’m in zombie zone scrolling from one video to the next. So it’s a matter of saying, okay, let’s look at this. Let’s look at what you’ve done. Look at what we’ve done. Look at what I’ve done. Go through that. Show someone. Pull up those videos, and let’s see how many we scrolling through in 45 minutes, or 15 minutes, or whatever. Now let’s look at how you feel. Let’s analyze how you feel. How’s it affecting your behaviors and so on?

[00:21:23] You can go through and analyze. There’s a framework you can follow that will actually be driving energy through the mind-brain-body network correctly. And then you’re going to say, okay, well, this is how it’s making me feel. What can I do about this? What’s the good and bad? So there’s a lot of these deliberate, and intentional, and conscious unpacking and deconstruction from observing the impact of what I’m doing. What am I doing? What is the impact of what I’m doing on how I’m feeling and functioning, and so on? How’s this affecting my relationships? How’s this affecting how I’m functioning at school, or at work, etc? 

[00:21:56] It’s being very deliberate, and not just a hodgepodge conversation now and then. I’m talking about a very deliberate and intentional daily process for nine weeks And that may sound like hell for someone listening now. How am I supposed to do that with my teenager or my two-year-old?

[00:22:10] And that’s why I write the books I do, and that’s why you and I do what we do. But let me throw this out there just to capture that thought in that moment. Your brain is changing every single moment of the day. From the time you wake up, you’re building in life experiences into your brain till the time you go to sleep.

[00:22:26] 95% of what’s being wired into the mind-brain-body network you’re not even aware of. It’s in your non conscious. 5%, more or less, you’re aware of. You’re conscious and deliberately, intentionally, focusing on. So that means that at night time, your mind has to work with your brain to sort out what you’ve built during the day.

[00:22:43] So there’s this constant action happening. So it’s happening regardless. And I did some of the first, I think I told you this before. Neuroplasticity worked back in the ’80s when they didn’t think the brain could change. It’s a huge part of the work that I do. So your brain is changing. So now the question is, can you influence that change?

[00:23:00] Because if your mind-brain-body network changes in the wrong direction, messy mind, messy brain, messy body, messy life. And that’s what we’re talking about here. So if I don’t do anything and I just keep scrolling, or I let my child just keep scrolling and throw up my hands and say, how am I supposed to deal with this? Let me just get that medication to help them concentrate, 63 days later, you are even deeper in the mess than you were at the beginning of the 63 days.

[00:23:27] So therefore, my argument is if you’re changing anyway, don’t you want to be in charge of that change? Don’t you want to drive the change in the direction that is healthy for you? And it’s just a matter of learning how to manage your network and getting into the habit of doing that. And then you can apply this across board daily without then– the first and most effort in getting into mind management is the first nine weeks. 

[00:23:51] And this, you can teach a two-year-old. A lot of my kids, patients were two and three-year-olds, which is why this current book is ages two to three through 10. And then my other books all from 11 onwards. Um, so yeah. So this is something we need to be proactive about teaching now. 

[00:24:08] Dave: I’m still blown away. 59 to 66 days isn’t something I’ve seen before. All of the research that I’ve seen around habit formation and change says either 42 days, six weeks, or 40 days, as in from the Bible, like 40 days and 40 nights. Those are about the sweet spot. That’s the amount of time it takes you to be fully convinced the vegan diet is amazing forever because you get sick after more than six weeks.

[00:24:36] So the habit is ingrained. The lens is put in place on your reality. That’s what happened to me when I was a vegan. Um, so I’ve talked with people about that, but where do you come up with 66 days? It’s so precise. Talk to me about the science.

[00:24:49] Caroline: 59 to 66 days. So there’s some leaders in the field that I’ve been following for years, and I’ve been doing this research now for a time frame. It’s almost 38 years now. And I’ve just published a paper recently. I’ve got three more papers going in this year. I’m doing a huge study on it now. So what the range is is 18 to 254 days. Those are the numbers you’ll see.

[00:25:08] And you’ll see the 40, you’ll see the 42. And there’s a major thing that happens at 42 days. So what I’ve found in my research is, um, and this is very much established in literature too, and I’ve pretty much confirmed this, but gone a little deeper, is that around 18 to 21 days is more or less the time you’ll need for something simple.

[00:25:25] So trying to get someone to, for example, wash their hands or take your tablets regularly, your vitamins regularly, that kind of stuff. Simple stuff that’s more– make sure you get to that gym every day. Get those kinds of things in place that are not too complex. But when it comes to complex behaviors, where you’re dealing with a relational issue, you’re dealing with social media stuff, which is complex because of the fact that it changes so many networks and has such a pervasive effect, and that’s why it’s so needed to be managed and can be so useful when managed correctly, that’s going to take longer. 

[00:25:55] So what we see is that the 42-day, around 40 days, we see a significant change, but that change is one of moving towards stabilization. At day 18 to 21, if it’s a simple behavior, you can get it under control. If it’s a complex behavior, at 18 to 21, you’ve reached a point where you’ve gone through quite a lot of pain to get to that point.

[00:26:17] So for example, let’s say that you are working on some coping behavior mechanism where you’re just very overwhelmed daily, all the time, feel overwhelmed. When you start digging in, you’ll see in that first 21 days, 18 to 21 days, you feel worse because you’re starting to unpack and start seeing what’s driving you, what is the source of the situation?

[00:26:40] Well, how are you thinking about yourself? How you feel, all this. It starts opening up your mind to seeing what’s going on. And that can cause a sense of depression, anxiety, grieving. Imagine if you’ve been abused all your life and you’ve suppressed that. This is classic I’ve had so many patients like this, and in my clinical trials as well.

[00:26:57] To cope, you suppress. And that’s not sustainable. It’s fine at the time because that’s how you cope, but it’s not sustainable, and you start working and seeing, okay, I lost all those years of my life. This is why my life is falling apart, why I’m suicidal, whatever, on an extreme state. And you’re grieving for what you have seen that you lost and why you’re like you are.

[00:27:17] In your book, you introduce a new concept called the Neurocycle, which is five steps that I’ve never seen written about, even with all the stuff I do in the world of neuroscience about how emotions and memories are put in and how to change them. What is the Neurocycle? What are the five steps?

[00:27:34] Okay. So the Neurocycle is a system for how you can self-regulate and drive the neuroplasticity in the mind-brain-body network. And not just neuroplasticity. Your neuroplasticity happens in the physical brain, but it’s driven by the mind, mind-brain-body being separate but work together. So Neurocycle is the process of how information gets from the outside into the brain and the body and then shows up in how we actually function, whether it’s work, day, in everything, every aspect. 

[00:28:06] It’s something that we’re doing on an unconscious level at 400 billion actions per second. It’s got a whole neurophysiological component. What I’ve done, Dave, is I’ve taken that and made it very simple because I worked for years with people, with patients, and so on. They make things complex. The complexity has to be simplified. 

[00:28:23] So what I found is that we go through three stages and five stages when we are building stuff into our brain. Let’s go from that angle first, and then you reverse engineer and you use the same five stages. Those five stages are a very focused awareness, gathering awareness, where you are– not just general awareness that you get from meditation and mindfulness that’s all brain preparation, but being very focused and specific on gathering awareness about certain signals. We’ll go into the details. 

[00:28:54] Then once you’ve gathered that awareness, you’ve actually pulled into the conscious mind the thought that those signals are attached to. So whatever you’ve gathered awareness of, there’s four things you gather awareness of that bring the thought into the conscious mind. In the conscious mind, from a neuroscientific perspective, the proteins that thought is made of, and the chemicals, the bonds start weakening. So if the bonds are weakening, now we can start deconstructing and finding root causes, and finding what is going on. What is this driver? What is it made of? What am I saying to you? What wave is coming from you? 

[00:29:28] You can start doing that, but you can’t just do that through meditation. You can’t just do that through, um, meditation will open the door. Let me explain this, and then I’ll give you an analogy, and then it’ll make sense. Um, so then the next thing is, once you’ve gathered awareness, you’ve got to reflect.

[00:29:42] Then you’re going to write, then you’re going to recheck, then you’re going to active reach. I’ll go through it slowly. Gather awareness, reflect, write, recheck, active reach. Before you do those five steps, you need to prepare your brain. And that’s things like breathing, meditation, whatever you want. There’s a million different things you can do. I give lots of examples in my book, and app, and so on. 

[00:30:02] Then you go into the five steps. The first step is to gather awareness. What do you gather awareness of? The four signals. What are the four signals? They are things that give you information, and they are your emotions, your behaviors, what you say and what you do, your bodily sensations in relation to the emotions and behaviors, and your perspective.

[00:30:20] It’s a cluster of four, and underneath those, you can break those down into a lot of detail. So you literally say, how am I feeling? Where do I feel this in my body? How’s this affecting what I’m saying and doing and how I’m saying and doing it? How is it affecting my perspective? Imagine four balloons, and each of those signals is like a balloon, and as you identify them– those balloons have strings. And the strings are actually attached to a tree. 

[00:30:45] So just visualize this to help you picture this analogy. As you identify those, you’re pulling that thought into the conscious mind. Once it’s there, once you’re consciously aware of it, it weakens. At neuroscientific level in the brain, it weakens, which means I can change it. I can start seeing what’s there. I can start doing something with this driver. Instead of it consuming me, I’m getting empowered to consume it and do something with it. 

[00:31:09] Then I’m going to reflect. So I’m going to go a little deeper. Why do I feel that emotion? What other emotions do I feel? [Inaudible] So you start doing a bit of digging. When you do that, you can imagine you’re looking at the branches that those four balloons are attached to. Those are the self-talk, the extra other emotions, the patterns. And then you’re going to take all of that, and here’s really key. You don’t spend long in each step. 

[00:31:36] Then the key thing is to now take that and dump it down. Not journal at this point. You can journal at a later point. At this point, it’s to take a big blank piece of paper, or open a journal, whatever you want, date it, put a circle in the middle, and then just put down all over the place in squiggles, lines, sentences, paragraphs, drawings, arrows, whatever comes up. Even if it makes no sense, just get that up. Those three steps so far have activated, um, literally opened the nonconscious mind so that you can view it. So the nonconscious is what’s driving us. So it’s making this access.

[00:32:14] Dave: The first step of gathering awareness in your mind, your body, no one ever told me that emotions had a place in the body until I was 30. And many people listening, especially if you’re a parent, you have little kids, you can go to a five-year-old and you can say, where is the feeling in your body? And the five-year-old will stop and go, oh. And they’ll do. 

[00:32:40] And I did this actually with my daughter. She was freaking out when she was five or six. I don’t remember what it was about, but I did this. Thankfully, 40 Years of Zen stuff has taught me about where these things live in the body. So I said, well, where is it? And she stops, and all of a sudden, she shifted from whatever she was panicking about to curiosity, which is behind all of step one, is gather awareness. Oh, where’s that?

[00:33:03] And she said, oh, it’s in my stomach. And I said, great. Does it have a color? Can you draw it? And she came back and she had a drawing of the feeling. And by doing that, she totally was like, oh, it’s okay. You’re having some kind of a stress reaction or anxiety. But just doing that one thing, which is similar to what you’re talking about, completely gave her agency over her emotions.

[00:33:28] Not that she could control her emotions, because emotions are what they’re going to do, but instead of feeling tossed about by them, it was like, oh, okay, like I’m riding with it. Um, in her case, the reflection was, what is the color? In your process, you actually ask yourself why you’re feeling how you’re feeling. 

[00:33:46] Caroline: Exactly. 

[00:33:47] Dave: What if you’re feeling that when you have no idea because you drank moldy coffee, which for me, gives strong feelings of anxiety. What if it isn’t anything that you think it is?

[00:33:57] Caroline: But that’s why you go through the whole process. And this is where people make a mistake. We’re so in tuned into meditation, breathing, talking about our emotions, doing all these great things, which are great, but you have to go through a cycle. The easiest way to understand this is to think of flying a plane.

[00:34:14] Now, everyone doesn’t fly a plane, but people know planes fly, and people know that you have pilots. And pilots and co-pilots prepare the plane, the tower, etc. There’s preparation before you take off. When you take off, that’s– so the preparation of the plane is the equivalent of that breathing meditation, whatever calming activity for the neurophysiology of the brain-mind-body that you do, which is very important to do, is the equivalent of the preparing of the plane.

[00:34:39] Then the pilot takes off. That’s gather awareness. It’s very focused. I don’t just randomly take off. It’s a guided process, and it has an effect. It gets the plane in the air in the right place. Then they fly the plane, which is a very distinct, planned, and guided process. Then they land the plane. And it’s a cyclical process. Then they fly to the next place.

[00:34:58] Our body works in these cycles of prepare, take off, fly, land, prepare, take off– so the Neurocycle follows the same thing. Prepare. Take off. Take off is the gather awareness. The reflect, which is the second step, and then writing, which is a third step. And the fourth step, which is the checking of what you’ve written to try and make sense of it– this is what’s happened. 

[00:35:17] What am I going to do about it? What’s the pattern? What’s the antidote? Where’s this coming from? Oh, maybe it is the moldy coffee. But as you get to the fourth step, you’re starting to make sense of all these things coming up. There was no major format. It’s just that I just didn’t eat today or something.

[00:35:33] And the last step is an action that closes the cycle. It’s landing the plane. What people don’t do, Dave, is all these things in therapies, techniques and stuff, I’m not saying throw any of that out. I’m just saying, pack them in the right order because that’s what drives the psychoneurobiology. So I’ve done the research with the time, with the brain, with the– and I’ve done clinical application.

[00:35:58] My career path has been one of working clinically and doing research parallel. And very strong behavioral research are going in the field, working with people that are in very, very poor extreme trauma to people that are extremely wealthy all over the world. So in other words, um, there’s a common element amongst all humans, and that is the desire to know, why am I showing up like this? And love, and those basic things of, who am I? And identity. And so that’s all incorporated. But I don’t want to diversify and get philosophical. 

[00:36:30] The essence of this process is that there’s a very fundamental neurophysiological need for us to work in a sequence that is ordered. If I just do an affirmation, or I just name my feeling, what I’m going to do is take off. Imagine if that pilot that you’re flying to wherever you’re flying, if that pilot didn’t know how to fly the plane, he only knew how to take off, or she only knew how to take off, that pilot would crash the plane. So if we only name our emotions, what the research is showing is that people crash. If we just meditate and just become aware of the moment, and I’m totally for them, I’m not running anything down, everything we need to do. We need to meditate. 

[00:37:08] But if you just meditate, if you just become mindfully aware, if you just do a mindful, um, cognitive behavior type technique in the wrong place, you will actually make yourself worse because you’ve got all this stuff coming up. Now what do I do with this? What does this mean? How do I solve this all now? Because we’re in a quick fix mentality, fast, fast, fast, so I want fast. I feel bad. I want to fix it quick. No, that’s not the way it’s going to be. Part of being– we have to get back to the deep stuff. We have to realize that we’ve got to go through the pain of the surgery before you heal, that concept.

[00:37:41] And that’s where we’ve got to then get into this correct sequence. So once we’ve brought it up– and that’s why it’s sequenced. It’s nice, and organized, and ordered. And that then helps us not just talk about the emotion, but like you did with your daughter, where is it in your body? How is it affecting your behaviors? Whatever. 

[00:37:56] And sometimes it’s a very quick process. You do it in two minutes. Sometimes it’s longer. You need five minutes. Sometimes you may even need 15 minutes. And you’re going to do this over time because if you’ve got a pattern emerging in your life or your child’s life, you’re not going to do one Neurocycle and fix it.

[00:38:12] You’re going to do one and find, oh, geez, I didn’t get anywhere today. That’s fine. Your active reach is, okay, I’ve started. I’ll do it tomorrow. And then you pick it up tomorrow, and you go a little deeper, and you get a little deeper. And as you build to the 21 days, more and more and more is revealed because it’s little bit by little bit. You are literally digging the sand away of the roots of a tree to try and see what’s going on in that process.

[00:38:35] And in the process of doing this, even when you start finally seeing, oh, it’s the moldy coffee, that’s a quick, easy fix. We’ve got to get that mold out your body, whatever. But let’s say it is, okay, this is coming from a relationship that I had years ago that I don’t quite resolve, and now I’m in this new relationship, and there’s something here that’s triggering. Okay. I can see where it’s coming from. 

[00:38:55] You can’t understand maybe why that person hurt you. It’s not your role to get in that person’s head. It’s your role to fix your head. It’s your role to fix your life. Just knowing, okay, that’s where it comes from is an acceptance that needs to happen and a release from, okay, I’m not going to understand why everything happens, but I can at least know that’s what the impact is. That’s what’s been driving me. So now how can I reconceptualize?

[00:39:22] For the kids, we talk about going into the roots of the tree and putting plant food on. How can I put plant food on to make this tree healthy because whatever’s happened to you is not going anyway. It’s happened. But what you can do, you can paint what it looks like inside of you. And if you change that slowly over time, it will then show up in a different– how it plays out into your future is totally different.

[00:39:46] So that child is being bullied, and it’s impacted them, and they’re showing up with all these behaviors, but you don’t know they’re being bullied. Through this process, you could potentially find what that element of bullying is and what it looks like, and then how you can then work forward towards solving that problem over time and getting that child’s identity and all that kind of stuff. 

[00:40:04] All the things that happen, with something like bullying, you’re not going to fix that in one day. You’re not going to fix that in 42 days. But within the first 21, you’re going to start getting to the deconstruction reconstruction. 22 more or less to 42, you’re into a more stabilization phase, a practice phase. You’re getting this– imagine the tree’s this big.

[00:40:23] So here’s this big ugly tree. I heal it, so the ugly part shrinks. Now I’ve got to grow a nice healthy part. That’s going to take me the 21 days, more or less. 18 to 21 to 23. It’s in that region. Then I need to grow that tree. I need to practice it. I need to stabilize it. So I need to give it energy to grow. And then that takes that extra more or less 42 days.

[00:40:44] So another 21 days takes me to day 42. Another 21 days takes me to more or less the sweet spot of where I feel, okay, if I’m triggered, even if it’s three months from now, and I’m in a new relationship, or I’m in a new school, or whatever, that stabilized energy is strong. New thought network is there in my resilience network, and I can use it.

[00:41:08] But if it’s small and weak, and it’s competing still with that potential old way of operating, I’m going to get into a situation where I’m triggered, and I could easily fall back, and then that can lead to lots of frustration and anger towards oneself. Why have I failed again? I followed all these rules.

[00:41:22] So that stabilization is vitally important. So what we see from my work, from Philip Alali, Gardo, all these people, we’re seeing that the complex stuff, we’re not going to get that sweet spot until around 59 to 66 days. And then you’ll have cases where I’ve had with patients and so on in the past and in my clinical trials of people that have had such severe trauma, the eight, nines and tens. One cycle of whatever. Nine weeks. It’s just more or less nine weeks. 

[00:41:49] So anything from 59 to 66 is not going to be enough. It’s going to start the process. So I’ve had some patients that have done 12 cycles over two years before they’ve really– and each day, each cycle is going to lead to more empowerment, better self-regulation, more autonomy, more ability to see that toxic issue from a different perspective, more resilience being unmasked, but it gets to the point where, okay, I feel like I’m getting somewhere. And it might take that long.

[00:42:18] Um, so that’s where we get to the numbers of things like 254 days, whatever. So you start doing the methods, combinations. And it’s interesting because we see this in our biology too, which it’s something I think you and I have spoken about before. But stem cells, for example, if you get a blister, it takes more or less three weeks for the stem cells to form to heal the blister. But if you’re very stressed out or having an argument, there’s a great blister study, that healing time can cut back by up to 60%. 

[00:42:47] But the point is, our biology also works in cycles of healing. That’s the famous Dr. Maltz who spoke about the 21 days. And it became a myth that we build a habit in 21 days. Dr. Maltz was a plastic surgeon. He found that his patients were physically healing from plastic surgery in these cycles of 21 days. And so he then said, ooh, maybe this is also in the mind. Not a bad idea. But then that 21 became a myth. So it does do something, but it’s not enough. 

[00:43:16] So what we’ve seen, so it’s interesting, Dave, from the working with kids, working with adults, and in a research function as well, research way as well, if you stop around that 18 to 21-day mark, and you’re working on a patterns of things that are more established, anything from the four to the 10 range, if you stop around 21 days, your chance of reverting back to an old pattern or being driven by the old behavior and landing up in that same place increases because you haven’t actually healed the whole tree yet.

[00:43:49] The whole thought network is partly healed, but it’s not stabilized. If you can imagine my hand as a tree, at 21 days, half of my hand, is still toxic and yucky, and this side is beautiful and green. It’s even. So at this point, if I just stop here, this competition, it’s small. The network is in a very unstable state. And so then you will be different, and you will maybe even be excited, but at any point, if I’m challenged, if there’s any trigger, activator, I prefer the word activator, I could revert to either of these. And then if I revert back to the toxic regrows, then there’s tremendous frustration.

[00:44:33] I was there. I was getting there. I know what to do. I know the problem, but I just can’t get there. That’s the frustration that can lead to a lot of mental health challenges. So we have to get this side shrunk, and this side big, and this whole thing bigger, and that’s what takes time. That’s why we talk about the time factor. I need some coffee.

[00:44:54] Dave: It’s really beautiful to see numbers of days and how things happen over these long cycles because they’re invisible to us.

[00:45:03] Caroline: Exactly. 

[00:45:06] Dave: They’re invisible unless, in the fourth part of your Neurocycle, you talk about finding patterns and triggers. And in my case, because I used to have Asperger’s syndrome, people who are on the spectrum are really good at finding patterns. And that’s because when our brains are forming when we’re young, there’s so much static on the system that just perceiving reality takes an enormous amount of work. So I’m very efficient at that. 

[00:45:31] And then when you heal the biology that created the static, you have this massive pattern recognition engine that makes it easy to see stuff that really isn’t easy to see. And so the birth of biohacking had to do with me seeing patterns around the emotions, the feelings of the brain fog and all of that, long-standing patterns. How did you get good at seeing these 200-day patterns and things like that as people were changing their brains?

[00:45:59] Caroline: I think it was true. I loved your story by the way. It’s always amazing. Always fascinates me. It just shows the power of how we can really hack our system, our network. The utter fascination that I’ve had working with humans and working in such diverse contexts from the wealthiest to the poorest across countries like Rwanda, in the States, in Africa, and just seeing how people respond– in the most severe circumstances, people with brain injuries where they’d been written off as vegetables by a neurologist.

[00:46:32] Thank God, they don’t talk like that anymore, but they used to. They used to say, oh, this is like a vegetable. They’re going to be like a vegetable. So it’s a terrible thing to say to a human. Seeing people go from that state to becoming top in their field, getting multiple degrees, being able to track that over time and seeing the regularity– my patients taught me stuff.

[00:46:54] I would tell them the stuff, and then I would see them grapple with this and work through it. I started observing these time frames and seeing this as, what am I seeing here? So it was all the experience of watching and working with people and trying it on myself, I thought, hey, listen, I need to fix stuff. Let me test on my kids and then just expand it into more and more time. 

[00:47:13] So the patterns came from I think a lot of, um, like a scientist, you hypothesize, and then you test your hypothesis, and then the thing ran away. I said, this is unreal. The key thing that made change happen in a person was that deliberate and intentional regularity of moving through a very deliberate planned and guided sequence.

[00:47:35] And that’s why I got so consumed with habit formation because the science of habit formation is what the networks are based on. That’s how you change networks, whether you’re a two-year-old, and you can teach the kids this in advance. How fantastic. Or whether you’re an 80-year-old, or a 50-year-old, whatever age.

[00:47:51] There’s always hope to be able to observe your signals and reverse engineer this process and change how you function. So at the same time, Dave, what I also do, where this actually started is I wanted to see– I work with people with traumatic brain injury. And I was challenged by one of my neuroscience professors when I was back at university.

[00:48:09] And I worked a lot with autism, Asperger’s as well. And I wanted to see, because we were told in the ’80s that– I’m 60. So in the ’80s, you were told the brain couldn’t change. So you may remember those days as well. And it was only mid ’90s with having to [Inaudible] that neuroplasticity was accepted. So when I was still doing research in neuroplasticity, I was some of the first in my field. And I really had to fight to show this, and I had to use CT scans and things like that to show, hey, there’s change. Look at the IQ. Look at all that stuff. So cut all that out. 

[00:48:42] A neuroscience professor said to me, um, because I said, hey, your brain must change because this neuroscience prepositions in my brain can’t change. And I said, that can’t be the case. Our brain must change because our minds are changing. At that point, they saw the mind-brain as separate. So that was good about the ’80s. What was bad is they didn’t think the brain could change, only the mind. But I said, hey, that’s not right. If the mind changes, the mind uses the brain and the body, therefore the body changes.

[00:49:04] So this guy said, well, go do research on traumatic brain injury. That’s a pointless exercise. He was really being facetious. Um, and it’s pointless because your brain can’t change. So that’s why there’s hardly any research. There was literally no research in the ’80s from traumatic brain injury. And also very little in autism, Aspergers, those areas because they thought, well, it’s damaged brain, why bother? So that’s why I got so consumed to try and find the pattern of how we can actually drive that change. 

[00:49:31] Dave: It’s so cool because I think Eric Kandel who got the Nobel Prize for discovering neuroplasticity won it in 1994, but it historically took a generation of doctors dying before new research would come in. But now we have people like you, and we have social media. We have the internet. We have PubMed, and all of a sudden, the speed of innovation is coming out there.

[00:49:55] And if doctors don’t do it, parents and caregivers or people who are themselves affected, we go out, and we start biohacking. And it was my experience of no one believing the stuff I had going on with mold and with my brain. I’m like, okay, I’ll hack it. And what I think is going to happen in the US is that people are just trusting their doctors less and less, which is sad because doctors get into the field in order to be healers.

[00:50:22] But the imposition of things from insurance companies, and governments, and licensing bodies, and frankly, media companies now censoring doctors, um, a lot of them are having a hard time with it. But if you’re in charge of your health instead of your doctor, and your doctor is a consultant, the problem goes away. You just have to be curious.

[00:50:40] Caroline: Change is everything. I love what you said. Because if you think of a child at a school and they are battling to concentrate, and the standard of care is, go to the psychiatrist, 15 minutes later, short questionnaire, boom, you have a diagnosis and potentially a medication that’s really disruptive to brain function.

[00:50:59] Where did that help the child? Yes, maybe they are concentrating more in the class, but are they really, or is their brain numbed? And is that a good thing? Well, we know from the research it’s not. So what about another approach, which is the approach that has been tried and tested and scientifically shown to be effective?

[00:51:15] The other approach that I just described is actually being disproved by top neuroscientists in the world. We’ve got track history, uh, historical research over 40 years showing it doesn’t work yet it’s the dominant flavor of the month. And parents are almost being scared into, well, if you don’t do this, you’re just doing a disservice to your child.

[00:51:31] It’s bad for your child. They need this. This is a lifelong problem. You have to have this. And they get research thrown in their face, and assuming the parents don’t read the research, which is common that everyone’s not going to understand how to read research, they’re told your brain is different, whatever. And you can’t change it. 

[00:51:48] That’s a message that doesn’t bring hope. Initially, to know that, okay, there’s that label, and now I know why my child’s like that, that’s comforting, but it’s an empty gift. Rather than diagnose, let’s describe. So rather than saying, which is what I was trained to do, and people that are in the field with me, what we’ve been saying for years and showing for years, sit down with that teacher, the child, the parent, the caregiver, whoever, the team, and start asking questions. What are the patterns? When did this happen? Why is that? 

[00:52:19] You can go through the Neurocycle, and you can analyze the pattern and get a description, and ask the child, and observe, and spend time, which takes time. It would take me sometimes seven to eight sessions with a patient and a team before we even had some close inkling of what was going on and how we could best help that child. And obviously, you’re helping along as you go, but it’s a situation of, let’s now look at the whole person in the context of their life instead of limiting them with a label, which is that quick fix mentality.

[00:52:47] And the other thing, Dave, around what you’ve also just said in terms of the medication situation, I work with a lot of doctors as do you. I have my research team. I have some of the top neuroscientists, and physicians, and things on my team, and I’ve trained doctors. Regular three-week rotation in mind. Three weeks, maybe four. And that rotation in their training is one of, these are the diagnosis, DSM, or the ICD, and these are the medications. That’s what they learn in that time period. And it may be a little more, but that’s generally it.

[00:53:22] Dave: Maybe there’s a vaccine for that. What do you think?

[00:53:27] Caroline: Just trying that out there. And the doctors come to me and say, but this is not enough. But people see the doctor as the mind expert. I’ve spent my entire life in this field. It’s like saying, okay, I’ll spend three weeks studying cardiology and cardiovascular surgery, no other training, and now I’m a cardiovascular surgeon. 

[00:53:50] I mean, it’s as dumb as that. Primary care physicians whose desire is, as you say, to heal, it puts a pressure on them to do what they’re actually not trained to do. And this is where we have to teach the parents, and the kids, and the caregivers, and educate people to understand, hey, don’t just blame the social media, don’t just blame us. Teach your kids about social media. Teach your kids about– don’t pathologize childhood. Don’t medicalize misery. We’ve got to go through pain in order to grow. This is how we manage it, all those kinds of things. Safety net parenting, that’s what I call it versus helicopter parenting.

[00:54:29] Dave: So if we want to create resilience in our kids, we can teach them the Neurocycle from your new book so that they understand where emotions come from, where they sit in the body, uh, what the patterns are, what’s triggering it, so that they have some agency over their emotions. That’s a powerful tool set. Um, I also would propose, and I want to get your feedback on this, I’ve been teaching my kids since they’re old enough to understand it, whenever you see something, something that’s written, it’s a sign at the airport, uh, social media post, a video, what are they trying to make you feel, and what are they trying to make you believe?

[00:55:08] Caroline: Excellent. 

[00:55:08] Dave: It doesn’t mean any of that’s real or true, but usually because when you feel something, it feels true, so then it becomes true. Um, so I’ve taught them, I don’t want to call it skepticism because skepticism also has a side, but just curiosity, like, hey, is there an agenda here? Is that a good thing to teach little kids, or do they feel unsafe because they don’t trust reality?

[00:55:29] Caroline: No, that’s excellent. My kids, you asked, they’re all adults. I think you’ve met one of my daughters. They’re all adults, 24 to 32. They all work for me. And one of the things that they will tell you if you ask them about me, and this is not me setting them up because they told me this. One of my best things my mom told me to do was to think and to challenge and to question.

[00:55:48] That’s what you’re doing. We have to. Kids are so insightful. They’re so wise, and resilience is naturally part of us, but we either can suppress or unmask and grow. So yes, it’s really important. What are you doing when you did that with your kids and do that with your children, you’re basically doing a Neurocycle. You’re basically saying, okay, that sign at the airport, how does it make you feel, where in your body? How’s that influencing how you’re looking at life? 

[00:56:11] If you just focus on that, if you just focus on that social media, how is it influencing your outlook? How does that influence your behaviors? Why do you think that’s happening? Look at the video if you don’t want to write down. Let’s just stand back and watch yourself as though you’re in a movie. That also works for step three, is visualization, and drawing pictures, and pick up– any kid knows how to pick up an iPhone and video.

[00:56:39] I tell you, well, if this is the case, what’s a better way? That’s the curiosity. That’s the reaching. What should we do then with that now? What have you just learned? You can do that in 30 seconds. So you were doing that with your children. All I’ve done is really break that down into these very organized– which then gives you order in that network. Because the network, it’s like Vitamix. 

[00:57:03] If you don’t do things in the proper order, and you keep all this great stuff to the brain, it is like a Vitamix. It’s all mixed up. And then there’s a bit of this and a bit of that and nothing really works properly. You don’t want that kind of approach with the brain. You want the mind-brain-body network.

[00:57:18] We want to be very organized, and deliberate, and intentional, all the preparation of what you’re going to put into that smoothie before the Vitamix. It needs to be a lot that goes into that. Don’t just chuck in any old thing and just switch it on. That’s what we’re doing. And all those things might be good, but done that way, there’s no order. I need this. I need this. I need this. I need to add this. That’s order. If you want a food analogy, that’s what we’re teaching them to do.

[00:57:43] So you can use it in those instances, in the airport. Conversation. You maybe go out for dinner and you meet some friends, or you’re at dinner and these people bring up a comment, and your heckles arising because of what they say. This happened the other day with my kids. We would meet some new people. It’s sitting around the pool that we live here, and it’s beautiful, and they started saying things that I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

[00:58:06] And in my mind, I was doing a Neurocycle just to analyze my reaction so that I didn’t react badly and say something that was going to be rude. My kids were hearing this. We had a discussion afterwards, but we were using that– it’s a lifestyle for us now, but it helps to get wisdom. When I just dive in, react, or I just skip a step, um, I don’t come up with wisdom. I don’t say the right thing. I mess up. 

[00:58:29] And it’s okay to be messy. But I’m so self-regulated, and I’ve trained myself, like you’ve trained yourself, Dave. I’ve trained myself to be so self-regulated that I see the impact on myself and others very fast. So I’m very quick to say, okay, sorry, hang on. Let me backtrack. I didn’t do this right. Whatever. And that’s a skill you can teach kids. My kids are way better at this than me because they’ve learnt this from the age of two. My kids were my little lab rats. They’ve learnt this from young, and that’s why I want to give kids the tools. Because our generation of Gen Z, Gen Alpha are growing up being told that if you have an emotion, there’s something wrong with your brain. It’s the worst message we could ever give our kids. 

[00:59:09] And there’s a lot of people, I won’t even mention names, that are out there saying the heart is the tool of the cardiologist or the cardiac surgeon. The brain is the tool of the psychiatrist. That is not the right physiology.

[00:59:20] And if you are battling, and you’ve got a problem with your blood pressure, it’s your heart. If you’ve got a problem with depression, it’s your brain. No, it’s not. It’s not a chemical imbalance. It’s not that. It’s a life experience that goes through your brain. So sure, your brain’s impacted and your body’s impacted, but that’s the consequence. It’s the result. It’s the response. Not the cause.

[00:59:40] And we have to deal with the effect because telomeres will shorten. That’s in my Neurocycle biological work. We look at the psychological. We look at the neurological, and we look at the biological. Hormones, HPA axis, telomeres, all kinds of things. And Dave, we’ve shown in our research that you can change telomeres. And I work with Lisa. I consult with Lisa Epel.

[00:59:59] I know you’ve interviewed Lisa Epel. Yeah. She’s actually been consulting, and she consults with me. So she’s reached out to me because she heard about this research because she proposed that we can change our telomeres in shorter periods of time. Thinking what you can do in five years. I’ve shown that you can get 35 years of biological age in nine weeks of mind management. If that’s not a biohack, I don’t know what is a biohack.

[01:00:26] Dave: That’s a huge, huge difference. Even things like toxic metals, they’ll leave the system faster when you deal with whatever is triggering you. And I’ve believed for a long time that if something triggers me, it means I’m carrying around a loaded gun. So maybe I should unload it. And so when people go, oh, that triggered me, I’m like, well, why are you walking around armed? 

[01:00:49] Go get a therapist because expecting the world around you to change so you won’t be triggered is a fool’s errand. And if you’re going to bully people into behaving the way you want so you won’t be triggered, now you’re actually firing your gun. And bullying doesn’t work on stable people. It never does. 

[01:01:09] Caroline: No. And then you create a victim mentality, and then you get bitter. And then that terrible cycle sets up. So absolutely. And the other thing, Dave, is, yes, get a therapist. I’m all for that, but you can’t contact your therapist 24/7. You live with yourself. You wake up with that panic attack. You’re being triggered in that conversation. You can’t just say, oh, hang on. I’m going to be rude to you. Now I’m going to go see my therapist, and I’m being facetious now, but you have to empower yourself to manage your mind. 

[01:01:34] And when you’re managing your mind 24/7, you can then see, okay, this area, I need support. Let me go and see a therapist. And then you’re very specific. When my patients came to me, they did not come 1forever. They came and worked with me in cycles of 63 days. And we would see how many cycles they needed. There was a timeframe attached to it. There was empowerment. I don’t help anyone if I try and fix them.

[01:01:57] You can’t fix anyone. You can only facilitate. And as a parent, you can’t fix your child. You don’t understand the experience. You may guess, but you’re still not in their head. What may seem for you to be something that’s, oh, it’s not so bad for them, it is bad. And it doesn’t mean that we’re going to mollycoddle.

[01:02:13] It means that we’re going to validate the experience and say, this is not who you are. You’re showing up like this because of, and I understand that you can’t hit your brother, throw toys at your cot, have a tantrum, whatever the case may be. You can’t just withdraw. You can’t shout at me or swear at me as your parent, or whatever.

[01:02:29] Those are not acceptable behavior, but I do understand that that’s not who you are. And I want to sit with you and help you understand why you’re doing those things, because that’s not who you are. So that identity is never broken. They’re not told that they’re bad. You separate the person from what’s going on, and you say, okay, something’s going on. These are because of, let’s describe. Let’s find the because of. And that’s what the Neurocycle helps you do. 

[01:02:52] So for parenting, it’s unreal in terms of collaboration, and deep meaningful connection, and all that great wisdom you have as a parent. The things you’ve been saying, the people listening and watching, you’ve got wisdom, so is your child.

[01:03:06] Draw on that wisdom. Your kids will help you. Model for your kids. If I freak out, which obviously, it’s okay to be a mess. I have my days too. I am very open with my kids. I’ll say, listen, I’m feeling like this. It’s affecting me. And I’ll run through a Neurocycle out loud and model for them, and they’ll jump in and will act. 

[01:03:24] That we check phase, they will collaborate, and they’ll give me advice. It’s generally fantastic advice. A five-year-old can give you fantastic advice. And you invite them in, and you then model for them, oh, okay. Adults also battle. It’s okay to battle. It’s part of life, but there’s a way of managing it. It doesn’t mean I’m bad. It doesn’t mean I’ve got brain disease. It doesn’t mean that I’m weird. It means I’m human. And that’s the message that we have to get to our kids. It’s not the message they’re getting. It’s what people are telling children.

[01:03:54] Dave: I’ve actually been teaching my kids that it’s really beneficial to be weird because if you’re not weird, you’re average

[01:04:02] Caroline: I like that actually. I like that. 

[01:04:04] Dave: And being average is really boring. So find the ways that you’re weird, that you like, and double down on those. And if average people don’t like it, well, screw them. It’s their problem because they’re average.

[01:04:16] Caroline: I love it. So make the weird– 

[01:04:17] Dave: Is it healthy? I don’t know.

[01:04:21] Caroline: When I back that up with research, Yale brought out a beautiful study, I think it was the end of 2018, beginning of 2019. And they said that this whole search to try and map the human brain and attach neurological, it’s nonsense. There’s no normal brain. It was the most freeing, one of the best research papers I’ve seen in this field. 

[01:04:39] There’s no normal brain. There’s only unique brains. So weird is actually, if we try and change that word, make it constructive, it’s different. We saw Barbie last Saturday. I don’t know if you’ve seen Barbie yet, but there’s the weird Barbie, and the message was so cute about, hey, weird is okay. It’s different. 

[01:04:57] I often say all of us are crazy. All of us are unique. There’s no normal brain. What’s your best Goldilocks principle that you can find? That messaging we bring through to kids from young– it doesn’t mean that you’re old and whatever. You’re an adolescent, or you’re elderly, or something that you can’t change. You can always change, and you can direct that change. That’s really key. So no, I agree with you. I think that what you’re telling your kids is totally in alignment with what the science teaches and what good parenting and safety net parenting is teaching.

[01:05:36] Dave: Okay. Good. So normal is the worst thing you could ever be. Gross. That could be my bias, but–

[01:05:44] Caroline: This day, that it’s the definition of normal. We’re stuck in one bell curve, and we have said, everyone’s going to be here, and the outliers are weird. Meanwhile, we’re actually all outliers. If you really look at the beauty of why we need the bell curve and why we need all the outliers and how it all contributes to the beauty, trying to make us all vocal, that’s a problem. That is really a problem.

[01:06:08] Dave: Another questionable practice. I didn’t realize I was going to turn this interview into a critique of my parenting, but this is really helpful, so I’m going to have to do this.


[01:06:15] The other thing that I’ve been doing with my kids since they were very little is I’ve been telling them things that are mostly true with one lie, but one that they probably can spot so that they’re always listening with curiosity to see whether it’s bullshit. Because what I wanted them to have is, as they grow up, a bullshit detector.

[01:06:40] So it doesn’t matter if you’re a teacher, um, or some authority figure like a coach, or even a transnational, semi-governmental authority telling you things about your health. It doesn’t matter. You’re willing to question everything, and you do it automatically to filter out what’s real. And that helps with narcissism, and also people who are con artists. It’s not a distrustful thing, but it’s a, is that true kind of thing. Did I create kids with distrust or kids with good nervous systems? I don’t really know, but it just felt like an important thing, so I’ve been doing it.

[01:07:22] Caroline: I think that what you’ve done is very similar to what you explained with the airport example. Where you’ve made them question things, it all goes to that teaching kids how to think about things, and to question, and to challenge. So you’ve given them a skill. You’ve used something– I think it’s brilliant actually, to be able to help them to detect what’s not quite true. 

[01:07:41] And then obviously, you get to a point where you discuss it and say, yeah, what do you think? And so if you’ve done very obvious stuff, and then you get more subtle, you’ve given and them a skill that has– so they’re going to listen. Everything’s going to be, where’s the catcher? Where’s the stuff that’s not true? And that’s so important to build in a child. So yeah, I love the bullshit detector thing. 

[01:08:03] Dave: Okay. So you’re in favor of that. And I’m hoping that it translates to when they see stuff on TikTok, or YouTube, or whatever, like, okay, you get someone who’s saying something, and it might be real, but it might not. 

[01:08:16] One of the other biases that we’ve all seen is that when you’re 16, you’re going to likely listen to people who are from 15 to 19 because they’re the most like you. But those are people who don’t have a lot of life experience. One of the reasons that I was able to start the biohacking movement is that in my mid-20s, I started running an anti-aging nonprofit group in Palo Alto, and I was hanging out and learning from people in their 80s with 60 years more experience than me.

[01:08:48] And they were telling me all this stuff about longevity, about controlling our biology, and all the spiritual stuff, and the life stuff and just the wisdom of my elders. So I’ve written everything that I write to say, look, if I’d have just known this when I was 19, it would have completely saved me millions of dollars and tons of pain and all. But there’s this bias. We listen to people who look like us. So you mentioned you’re 60, so naturally, the people I’d see the most are out of my age bracket. Do you spend quality time with people in their 20s other than your kids, or with people in their 80s?

[01:09:27] Caroline: I have made it a policy in my life to connect with all ages, all genders, all cultures. And that’s been an objective too. And we travel extensively as a family. My kids travel, so for me, it’s not just one age. It’s all ages. The wisdom to sit down and listen to someone who is 80, I’ll listen with as much intensity to someone who’s 15 because both are going to teach me something.

[01:09:54] And it was such an interesting thing we’ve done, Dave, um, over COVID where they looked at– I didn’t like parts of the study, but the general idea was brilliant where they looked at depression rates in– I think I’m trying to get the exact age. It was 12 to 18 versus 65 plus. So those two brackets had really battled with depression, but the depression was different. 

[01:10:19] In the elderly, there was a depression that they actually managed better than the younger ones because their depression came from the loneliness. Um, and they managed because they had the memories of, I’ve gone through this before. I’ve gone through stuff, and they could draw on their wisdom.

[01:10:36] The younger ones didn’t have that level of wisdom because they didn’t have much of a past yet, but they had access to technology, so they were able to connect. So as soon as I read that study, I thought, well, that’s just evidence that if we brought the two groups together, we should be at all stages of our life bringing the two groups together and learning from both.

[01:10:55] And one thing I did a lot in South Africa when I was still training, I trained lots of teachers, and I did a lot of family therapy, and I would encourage schools to bring in the elderly that are in old age homes, that kind of thing, into the classroom to support the teachers because the teachers have got too many kids in the class.

[01:11:12] So use the wisdom of, I’ll let them sit with the kids that are really battling and help them with their school work and help them read. It was such a successful program. And it’s something I’ve been trying to get people to do in this country and work at that again because there’s an example of how you can get the support and conversations on both sides. You get an eight-year-old talking to an 80-year-old, or you get a 15-year-old, there’s a beauty there that starts growing, the wisdom of connecting the different ages. 

[01:11:40] That is something that worries me a little bit, that we should do more of that in this day and age. But I do believe, and you may know or may not agree with me, Gen Zers are so philosophical, and I love it. They’re so open to listening to everyone’s viewpoints. I’m obviously generalizing, and I work a lot with this age group and all age groups. They are very open to talking to elderly and to learning from getting the wisdom from the elderly. They may be a little impatient, but I find that they’re much less impatient than a millennial, for example.

[01:12:13] And I don’t like to categorize because I don’t think it’s fair because each unique person’s different. I do recognize the uniqueness within each age group, but I do love that expansive mind that I’m seeing with the Gen Zers, and I’m seeing that they are interested in sitting and listening to the wisdom of elders. So that’s a long answer to your question, but I’m all about–

[01:12:33] Dave: You do mix it up as well. I’ve made it a practice as well. I’m going to Burning Man in a little while, and I’ve learned over the years of going that if you don’t have a really good camp, you need a couple of people in their 70s, and you need a couple of people in their 20s. And if you have that and other people scattered throughout, you have this amazing, vibrant community where it just self-regulates. 

[01:12:56] But if you have a bunch of people who are in just one age bracket, it actually isn’t as fun of an experience. And it doesn’t seem to work because you get different kinds of energy and different kinds of wisdom from different ages as long as they’re good people. You can bring bad people of any age, so you have to filter for that.

[01:13:14] Caroline: Exactly. But yeah, that’s so true. I love that.

[01:13:18] Dave: Now, we’re coming up on the end of the show, but there’s one other thing that’s a part of your new book, and it’s about kids and sleep. Making your kids get good sleep one way or another changes their resiliency maybe more than almost anything else. And I think that’s been a secret for my parenting, is that I’m a sleep hacker who’s measured my sleep every night for actually about 16 years, which is the age of my oldest kid. So, um, it’s helped me make the environment so they can sleep. What are your tricks from your book for parents to help their kids get better sleep so that they can regulate their emotions better?

[01:14:02] Caroline: I’m so pleased you asked that question. So I agree with everything that you do, but I would add in a component of mind because if we worry about sleep, it’s going to affect how we sleep. That’s like the biggest one of the worst things. So one of the things that I always would tell my parents if a child couldn’t sleep was, you know what, it’s okay.

[01:14:19] Just tell them it’s okay. Because once you start relaxing around that sleep issue, things will then start improving. Then you can start working on specific techniques and things, but really that worry about not sleeping is one of the worst things that keeps people awake. Then the other side is the mind drives everything. If you’re dead, your mind’s not working anymore. 

[01:14:41] As soon as your mind’s not working, you’re dead. Your brain and everything’s disintegrating. So mind is the first thing. Mind is what you use when you make– everything you say, you’re using your mind. To teach the concept of biohacking and all the different ways that you do, it’s your mind driving that. 

[01:14:55] So mind is number one. So we have to see that if I’m going to go to bed with a messy mind and unresolved stuff, it is going to keep me awake. So I can use all the external things that will definitely help me to get into the right– all the biohacking, but I think the main biohack is that to support that is we have to get the mind right. 

[01:15:14] So before you go to sleep, and I’ve got an actual Neurocycle in the book for, um, dealing with nightmares, and dealing with sleep, and getting kids ready for sleep. It starts in the morning. So that’s when you wake up in terms of, how do you wake up? And you wake up complaining, you wake up anxious, that sets the pattern for the day, and already, your sleep for the next night could be potentially impacted for tonight and be impacted if you wake up like that. 

[01:15:36] So how your child wakes up in the morning is really important. And then obviously, the things like eating and exercise, all those play a massive role. But to keep the mind stuff under control. So these issues going on with [Inaudible] is to do little Neurocycles to make sure that if your child showing up in a different way, or your child knows how to self-regulate and recognizes the signals, that they do some mental work. 

[01:15:58] So there’s deliberate and intentional self-regulation through the day and as you go to sleep at night. So just before they go to sleep at night, just do a quick Neurocycle to check, okay, is there something that’s making me feel a bit on edge? And work through that to get– now, you may not solve it because it’s maybe a biggish thing, but your solution could be, all right, well, at least I know that’s worrying me, so I’m going to put it over there, or maybe write it in a book, or do some kind of physical thing to make myself compartmentalize, and maybe call in a parent to talk about it, and maybe just get some level of resolution so you can have a level of peace and then go to sleep.

[01:16:31] So that’s huge. I want to give one example that you can come to that. There’s a story in the book of a child who had severe trauma, and it’s quite extreme, but it’s a great example that I’ve drawn the story through the whole book, and there were so many stories to choose. I could have told a 1,000 stories, but the reason I use this particular story is because these people didn’t know me, and they were– long story short, it was a child who was physically abused and the stepmom who married the father, um, basically mothered this child, and they managed to get the child away from the biological mother. Long story. Um, as soon as they saw what was going on.

[01:17:13] And so this is not even her biological child, but it was her child. Um, she mothered this child in the most incredible way, but this child had such terrible– the child was being physically abused from the age of three months, sexually abused and everything. By the time she married the child’s father and they managed to get the child away from the biological mother, he was about three.

[01:17:33] He couldn’t sleep through a night. They couldn’t go anywhere for years because from 5 o’clock, they had to start the sleep process. It would be an hour of sleep, and then he’d wake up with nightmares. And you can imagine all the behavioral issues. He had every diagnosis. Autism. He had every label. And the mom was falling apart trying to deal with this. You can imagine how hard, and she was trying to hold it together and work. This was costing them a fortune. And she happened to be on one of the research teams that I had because her field is working on research teams.

[01:18:06] She happened to come onto the team. Thought, well, I’m going to just try this Neurocycle. I’m desperate. And she started using for herself. The child watched her because she was homeschooling him as well. And he watched her change how she was reacting and how she was coping. Because I’ve interviewed them, I’ve spent time with them. I’m sitting down, and he said, you’re different mom. What are you doing? I want to do it. And so she told him about the Neurocycle, and this child started using the Neurocycle with her. Within four days, this child slept through the night.

[01:18:35] Dave: Wow.

[01:18:37] Caroline: And since, they’ve never not slept through the night. What he’ll do is if he had nightmares, he’ll draw pictures. He showed me one picture. He’s got these chimneys, and the houses. And one, there’s all this ugly smoke coming out, and one, a heart is coming out. And he’ll tell himself. He’ll do that. Makes me feel like this. He runs, uses Neurocycle. Says, that’s my active of reach. I want the hearts coming out of my dreams tonight. I don’t want that ugly smoke. And he goes to bed with that intention.

[01:19:03] Dave: Wow.

[01:19:04] Caroline: And sleeps through the night. I sat there with my jaw dropping open with the things that that child taught me about how– I didn’t even know that Neurocycle could be used to that extent. So that was an eye opener. That really has launched my thinking and seeing that this can be used on every level. 

[01:19:21] Dave: There’s so many tools, and there’s so much wisdom about how to manage our spiritual stuff, our emotional stuff, trauma, uh, and we don’t teach it in school. And most people don’t know, but it does exist. It’s priceless when you see a child who you’d think wouldn’t be able to do it suddenly take up something and just easily change in a way that most adults, if they tried it, years of hard work and suffering and tears in four days.

[01:19:54] So you’re doing an amazing job of creating tools and spreading them. Uh, and that’s what I do. I find the stuff that works, the knowledge that I wish someone would have given me that would have saved me millions of dollars and months of suffering. And let’s find the worthy stuff, and let’s put it out there, uh, because there’s way more tools than anyone listening is ever going to try that. Even me, and I make a living from trying all the tools.

[01:20:18] Uh, so you will resonate though. And when one of these, something you heard on this episode, oh, that one caught your attention, well, that’s your body telling you that’s the one. So you start there, but you don’t have to do everything. There doesn’t need to be a FOMO. So I would say, pick up the book. Um, it’s called How to Help Your Child Clean Up Their Mental Mess by Dr. Caroline Leaf.  So pick it up if you have kids. And if not, you have the one that came out before this that we talked about last time, which is how to clean up your own mental mess. 

[01:20:50] But this idea of a Neurocycle, of a tool set you can use for racing thoughts before bed or racing thoughts in a board meeting, it doesn’t really matter, or that feeling like you’re going to die that you know isn’t real, but it feels like it’s real, I have experienced all of those. I had PTSD. I’ve had traumatic brain injuries. Uh, Dr. Daniel Amen diagnosed me with, uh, toxin-induced brain damage from mold toxins. So I’ve dealt with all this stuff, and it is something you can overcome. And if you feel like you’re alone in a sense of doom, yes, I’ve had that too. All of it.

[01:21:22] There’s tools available. And maybe it’s sleep. Maybe it’s coffee. Probably not, but maybe it’ll help. But maybe it’s the Neurocycle. So if this episode appealed to you, your job is to read the book and say, huh, maybe I can use it. And also maybe the most important thing from our interview, Caroline, is when you talk about, look, it my take in nine weeks to really transform because a lot of people are expecting an overnight sensation. 

[01:21:50] If you try this, and the first day and you feel different, even if it’s not better, now you have control because you changed your state. And then now your job is to say, okay, what direction do I steer this in? And the more you do any of these processes, the faster you do, like you said, you can do it just sitting there.

[01:22:07] Um, I do that with the reset process that is that 40 Years of Zen, where it took me a long time to learn how to do the process of forgiving someone and something in a way that I’m no longer triggered. But I can do it pretty reliably. Sometimes it’s hard if it’s a big thing, but that’s allowed me to be more free.

[01:22:25] That’s a tool that works for me. So read the book, find the things that resonate the most with you, and then go do those. The one thing you’re not allowed to do, see how I just took away your autonomy with programming, is to walk around and say, that triggered me. Because that’s not okay.

[01:22:45] You might have been triggered, but it didn’t do it. It was your internal programming that allowed you to be triggered, and you can control your internal programming. So you weren’t helpless, but you were triggered. And it’s a really important distinction to know. You have tools available so that when you walk around without any triggers, you are also unprogrammable.

[01:23:07] That means you are not going to be tricked by someone telling you that they’re doing it for your own safety while they’re doing something that is clearly not in your best interests. And if you’re hard to fool, you’ll have your intuition. And right now humans need intuition more than we ever have. And the more programming you have, the less intuition you have. So let’s create more freedom of thoughts and freedom of action by going through and doing the Neurocycle and just being a biohacker.

[01:23:38] Caroline: I love that. I love what you just said. And can I add that something to the box for people? What I did for parents, because parents might be thinking, how do I teach this to a three-year-old? I created a cartoon character 25 years ago. It was a Disney– and this cartoon character is called Brain-ee. And throughout the book, you’ll see Brain-ee.

[01:23:52] We had it updated by an artist, so it’s all modernized. So throughout the book, you can teach this to children using– everyone loves cartoons. So for example, you’ll see here all the thought trees and Brain-ee, and we’ve even created a toy. So we have a toy. Brain-ee, which is really cute for young kids, even adults. They’ve got this as a point of contact.

[01:24:10] If a child isn’t verbal yet, or is battling to express himself, they can point to the cartoons, they can pick up Brain-ee. It becomes this tool that I need to talk when I hold this up. It’s almost like a talking stick. And even a coloring book which will appeal to kids for all kinds of scenarios with Brain-ee and friends, and they can color in, and talk, and whatever.

[01:24:28] So it’s having this. A lot of other tips in the book. To help yourself not walk around and be triggered and your children to be triggered, you can empower them. As you say, it’s so important. And so I just wanted to throw that in there because people might be thinking, how do I do all this fancy stuff. It’s so simply put with cartoons and things in the book to help the parent and the child.

[01:24:51] Dave: I love that. All right. Final question, Caroline. Barbie or Oppenheimer?

[01:24:57] Caroline: I’ve seen both. So Barbie and Oppenheimer, isn’t that the thing we got to do both? Both have very interesting messages. I could have had Oppenheimer. I would have liked to see more of the science, but it was brilliant. And Barbie’s brilliant too. So I’m a Barbie and Oppenheimer at this stage.

[01:25:12] Dave: All right. Got it. Somehow, I thought you’d say that.

[01:25:15] Caroline: Well, you have to go and see my Instagram. We even took a picture last night. It was hilarious. So we had to really do the whole thing. I’m inside the Barbie box.

[01:25:24] Dave: Oh, I love it. So where can people find more? I know mentallyresilientkids.com. And what’s your Instagram handle?

[01:25:32] Caroline: It’s @dr.carolineleaf. And the webpage is drleaf.com. And my podcast, Cleaning Up the Mental Mess.

[01:25:40] Dave: Thanks for being on a second time, and I am going to be following up with you because I have some questions about my process at 40 Years of Zen, and maybe I’ll run that past you when we both find some time to sit down. So thanks again for your work in the world, for your new book, and by teaching parents that you can get your kids to do this stuff, which makes your life as a parent so much better.

[01:26:02] Caroline: Thank you, Dave, and thanks for such a great conversation. And I’m really looking forward to speaking to you soon on my podcast. Followers can find you there as well. Soon.

[01:26:11] Dave: All right.

Listen and Subscribe using your favorite podcast provider

You may also like

Start hacking your way to better than standard performance and results.

Receive weekly biohacking tips and tech by becoming a Dave Asprey insider.

By sharing your email, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy