Welcome to the TLC tour of You Are Not Your Brain!
Title: You Are Not Your Brain: The 4-Step Solution for Changing Bad Habits, Ending Unhealthy Thinking, and Taking Control of Your Life
Author: Jeffrey Schwartz, M.D. and Rebecca Gladding, M.D.
Publisher: Avery Group (a division of Penguin)
Genre: Non-fiction, Medical, Self-Help
Where I got it: I was provided an ARC from the publisher through TLC book tours in exchange for an honest review.
Challenges: Non-Fiction Challenge (medical)
We all have habits, or other things about ourselves that we would like to change. Whether it is eating too many coffee shop muffins, checking your email fifty times a day, buying too many books (clears throat), or something more serious like alcohol addiction or depression. I know I have plenty of habits I would like to change. In fact, I've struggled with my weight my whole life, and I've been on every imaginable diet. One thing I haven't ever tried is reading a self-help book, but when I read this one, I realized that it just might be able to help me with my problem.
Like I said, I've never read a self-help book before. Why not? Because I'm kind of allergic to jargon. I like science. I like reading primary text psychology. I don't like that when science become self-help terminology is made catchy, and that does happen a little bit in this book and it did bother me. However, once I got into the book, and recognized the potential of the techniques it was providing, the terminology fell into the background and I started to appreciate what the book had to teach me.
And what it had to teach me was this: Your brain does all kinds of kooky stuff without your permission. It sends messages and forms habitual response patterns, and often enough, we just become spectators, or even worse, start to believe that false brain messages (which are often destructive) are our "true selves." Schwartz and Gladding want to teach us how to disrupt those patterned behaviors, and to use four steps - relabel, reframe, refocus and revalue - to learn to identify and eventually, perhaps, change some of those destructive patterns. We can do this, they tell us, because our brains are built for change; once patterns become conscious, we can focus on changing how we behave, and eventually changing our habitual responses.
Schwartz and Gladding's program has much in common with other types of cognitive reframing, cognitive/behavioral techniques, and Eastern practices (such as mindfulness and meditation). I did appreciate some of the messages that made this book a little different. Messages like, "Hey, you might actually never be able to stop your crazy thoughts from popping up. What you can change, is how you react to them" (not an actual quote, just a very rough paraphrase). Although the book is repetitive at times, the authors provide many helpful charts and activities that the reader can copy or return to as he or she practices the steps in life.
Overall, I definitely got something out of this book and I would recommend it for anyone who has something they want to work on. I know I do. Some of the suggestions reminded me of Jill Bolte Taylor's, My Stroke of Insight, so I would recommend this for fans of that book. The book is also based on neuroscience, and although it does have some repetition and irritating jargon, I felt like it was a credible and useful tool for self-improvement.
Be sure to visit the rest of the stops on the tour:
Tuesday, June 7th: Silver and Grace Monday, June 13th: The Book Faery Reviews
Tuesday, June 14th: Always Well Within
Wednesday, June 15th: Bookshipper
Thursday, June 16th: Guinevere Gets Sober
Friday, June 17th: Positively Present
Monday, June 20th: A Room of Mama’s Own
Tuesday, June 21st: By the By Books
Wednesday, June 22nd: Overstuffed
Thursday, June 23rd: Today’s Path
Friday, June 24th: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Friday, June 24th: Luxury Reading
Monday, June 27th: Take Me Away
Wednesday, June 29th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Thursday, June 30th: The Things We Read
Wednesday, July 6th: Arriving at Your Own Door