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You Are Not Your Brain: The 4-Step Solution for Changing Bad Habits, Ending Unhealthy Thinking, and Taking Control of Your Life
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You Are Not Your Brain: The 4-Step Solution for Changing Bad Habits, Ending Unhealthy Thinking, and Taking Control of Your Life

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  311 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Two neuroscience experts explain how their 4-Step Method can help break destructive thoughts and actions and change bad habits for good.

A leading neuroplasticity researcher and the coauthor of the groundbreaking books Brain Lock and The Mind and the Brain, Jeffrey M. Schwartz has spent his career studying the structure and neuronal firing patterns of the human brain. He
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published June 9th 2011 by Avery (first published May 19th 2011)
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Jesse Bowers
Not a book for people wanting to learn about the brain, but for people who struggle with OCD, anxiety, and depression, you will find this book a powerful tool.
Daniel Ionson
I love this book for the data that it gives. SDN: "Self-directed neuroplasticity" was a complete life-changing piece of knowledge for me.
However, I hate the style used in the writing of this book. It comes across as very "self-helpie" in the worst kinds of ways.

So, if you go into this book forewarned of that style, the knowledge you gain is exciting and helpful.
Sara Strand
I will tell you that the reason I picked this book to review is because I have a very unhealthy way of thinking when it comes to diet and exercise. I am extremely good at talking myself out of good behaviors and convincing myself that the bad behaviors are not only more fun and awesome, but will be better for me later on. Despite the fact thunder thighs are not my friend.

Basically everything in the book comes down to four steps:

Step 1: Relabel: Identify your deceptive brain messages and the un
I've been on a neurology kick, and picked this up at the library based on the credentials of the author. I thought it would not be a typical self-help book, even though the cover sure looked like one. I should have turned it over and noticed that one of the blurbs on the back was from Leonardo DiCaprio, noted neurology researcher movie actor.

I guess that was a good example of a deceptive brain message, because this is a self-help manual with all the smarmy examples one might imagine. Abby thinks
If you are doing inner work, this book is a must read. Seeing the prison is paramount if you hope to escape.
I'm not crazy for the gimicky title and much of the material has been in other books but it's the overall content of this book, the message and the concrete help the author offers that I'm loving. It's the neurobiological how-to of inner-bonding (Margaret Paul's Inner Child healing process) that I am always trying to distill for myself and other people. This book illuminates how to differentiate between the wounded part of us, what Schwartz calls "deceptive brain messages" versus the loving adul ...more
I read a synopsis of this book in a magazine, which was really interesting. However, it turned out to be a self-help book which turned me off by immediately introducing an internal "wise advocate". I'm marking this "read" so I don't try to pick it up again.
♥ Ibrahim ♥
Excellent ideas, poor editing! I have been reading several books on how we can make use of neuroplasticity so that we learn better habits and get rid of bad ones. I have great respect for the author and his contributions in the field of OCD studies as well as other fields of brains research. His book has the right ideas, indeed, they are excellent but it is poorly edited. This book should have been edited in such a way as to get rid of all redundancy. In fact, this book could have been cut by ha ...more
Jun 21, 2011 KC rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
You Are Not Your Brain is a wonderfully written self-help book by two prominent neuroscience researchers. Many years of research have culminated in their theory to help people stop listening to the deceptive messages produced by their own brains and become the person they want to be instead.

Do you have any bad habits that you wish you could just stop doing? These include excessive worrying or anxiety, eating or drinking to cope with stress, caring too much about what other people think, and mor
You Are Not Your Brain is a book that teaches the reader how to recognize deceptive brain messages and how to change their relationship with those messages. The book could be a source of empowerment to an individual following the 4-steps (relabel, reframe, refocus, and revalue) because it tells them they have it in them to be capable of whatever it is they are facing. Those who’ve experienced stress and the feeling of being overwhelmed will be able to take something away from the book and it’s 4 ...more
The beginning of the book is engaging, the further into the book I read the harder it was to read. It is a do it yourself psychology book that integrates cognitive-behavioral with the new brain science and mindfulness giving four steps to work with many stuck patterns typical of OCD, or a way to rid ourselves of unhealthy habits that are wired into our brains. The concept is simple, the process to rewire challenging and I think better to do with a live counselor than with a book.

The explanation
Kai Sousa
Nov 22, 2013 Kai Sousa rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: No one
Recommended to Kai by: Therapist
There were so many things that I didn't like about this book that I just couldn't seriously recommend it to anybody.

1. The section on how to deal with depression and fatigue are at the BACK of the book. Don't I have to get over these things just to pick up the book? Shouldn't this be at the beginning?

2. The introduction reads like an infomercial.

3. The seem to completely ignore the origins of the issues and perceptions of their case study patients and go straight to "Let's learn to look at this
Mindfulness For Dummies!

A very helpful book that illustrates exactly how to get rid of bad habits through mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral therapy. The accessibility of the writing is both the strength and weakness of the book as it makes it easy for anyone (especially the distressed demographic the book is aimed at) to get comprehend and begin applying the '4 steps' to their lives immediately, but will also inevitably leave some people feeling patronized as a result of seeing brain parts
Jul 01, 2011 Laura added it
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 ...more
I don't even think I've made it to chapter two yet, and already I feel the need to pontificate. Not a good sign.

Never mind the deadly earnest tone of the audiobook narrator, I wanted to quibble with the author before I even started to listen. As a matter of fact, I *am* my brain. If you don't believe me, have yours surgically removed, then get back to me.

The author has cast the brain in the role of enemy. I kid you not-- your devious, nasty brain is the cause of all your problems. Who's the hero

<><>><><>>>><><><><><><><>Spoilers for Inception follow<>><><><><><><><<><><><><><

"An idea can grow to define you or to destroy you."

You Are Not Your Brain, as I like to call it, Inception: The Book, first of all because it is written by Jeffery A. Schwartz, the Howard Hughes expert who worked on the movie, The Aviator. Jeffery helped Leon

Wednesday, June 22, 2011
You Are Not Your Brain

Bad Habits? I definitely have more than enough of those. Unhealthy thinking? Unfortunately, yes. I struggle with that, too.

Sometimes I wonder why I can't control my actions as well as I would like. Self-discipline and moderation have always been a little elusive to me. I have my moments, but I also have my moments, if you know what I mean. It seems like sheer willpower should be enough to break bad habits and establish the ones that my heart really w
You Are Not Your Brain is a DIY psychology book that integrates cognitive-behavioral with recent brain science findings and mindfulness.

I found it less readable or impressive than Emotional Life of the Brain by Richard Davidson or Emotional Chaos to Clarity by Phillip Moffitt.

Basically, I was put off by the defining of "...the amygdala, insula, and anterior cingulate as the warning center of the brain, or what we like to call the Uh-Oh Center." The author's appeals to neuroscience are totally un
If you put aside the excess wordiness and repetitiveness of the author there is a good gem of an idea underneath.(I would have rated it higher if the writing was clearer.)

Being able to see that your thoughts (your brain) are not actually who you are can be an extremely eye-opening experience (akin to mindful meditation in my mind). The fact that the writer offers hope and simple ways to see these negative thoughts/behaviours as old patterns and be able to start to change them is great.

If you sc
Eliza Fayle
I love cognitive psychology. I know that sounds a bit strange from someone who makes her living off of her intuition, but I really do love the science behind how we behave. When someone, or in this case, someones come along and explain this behaviour in layman’s terms, I am thrilled.

Shwartz and Gladding do just that. They take the complex science behind how our brain is wired, and make it easy to understand. They explain how we can get trapped in a vicious cycle of bad habits because of this wir
The authors do a very good job of explaining their research to laypeople, and their work makes a lot of sense. There isn't necessarily anything earth-shattering, I don't think, but they do offer some good strategies for dealing with bad thoughts and strengthening positive thinking. Of course, as with any self-help book, their plan won't single-handedly revolutionize the mind of someone with a serious mental problem, but it probably can help people with mild anxiety or compulsive behavior, and it ...more
A really fantastic strategy for making long-lasting change. The book is simple and easy to understand while addressing complex issues we all face daily.
David Harbour
I have always had an interest in whether thinking has physical affects on the brain, this book clearly indicates that it does. It helped me understand how habits are formed, that they become neural trunk lines and thus the reasoning for the difficulty in changing them.
I was riveted from the first few pages. Really? My brain can be at fault for my actions? I was very skeptical though because I can almost imagine other people referring to their brains as the "culprit" of why they are the way they are. Still, it has a lot to offer, maybe if taken with a grain of salt. Still a worthwhile read, just for the opportunity to combat those pesky negative feelings and inhibitions that are nothing more than your brain telling you and you acting on it. Right, brain?
Great read for do-it-yourself life coaching. Once you realize your brain is continuously sending you messages for all the wrong reasons (e.g., habits), you are able to readjust those destructive thoughts by calling on the mind for reconstructing the reality and presenting healthier responses. Interesting theory but will take some practice in awareness and differentiation to fully implement. However, I found the approach very valuable and refreshing.
The science here felt solid, and the tips and exercises as well. But the repetitiveness of the example case studies and the cutesy choice of language (e.g. "Uh Oh Centre" and "Wise Advocate") drove me crazy and made the book difficult to read and difficult to take seriously.

In the end, I skimmed it quickly, taking notes of the key points and examining the exercises in detail. It was much more effective that way.
Very clear, practical tips for overcoming negative thinking habits, understanding why you respond the way you do, and changing your behavior. Includes real case studies of individuals with an assortment of different issues and actions they took to become more aware of their own needs and how to care for themselves versus depending on others for validation all the time. Highly recommend.
Bailey Olfert
Although quite wordy and repetitive, there does seem to be a good framework at the core of this system for "changing bad habits, ending unhealthy thinking, and taking control of your life." I'll have to see how do-able the steps are in my own life. I certainly would like to see improvement!
I think this book is a concise and simple melding of science, research and eastern philosophy, specifically Buddhism. I found it to be a relatively easy read. What I noticed and appreciated most was how closely the author's 'four steps' parallel the Buddha's 'Noble Eight-fold Path'.
I would find it difficult to follow the 4 steps suggested in this book without years of therapy. However, I do like the "labels" placed on areas of the brain and mental habits reviewed in this book. I would rate it on the higher end of self-help books.
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Research Psychiatrist,
Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences,
University of California, Los Angeles
More about Jeffrey M. Schwartz...
The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force Brain Lock: Free Yourself from Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior A Return to Innocence: Philosophical Guidance in an Age of Cynicism Dear Patrick: Life is Tough - Here's Some Good Advice Review of the Pleistocene Hominoid Fauna of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Excluding Hylobatidae).

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