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You Are Not Your Brain: The 4-Step Solution for Changing Bad Habits, Ending Unhealthy Thinking, and Taki ng Control of Your Life Hardcover – June 9, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 147 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

For a more detailed description of the book's contents, read this reader's review on her website (we do not know her) :
alwayswellwithin.com/2011/06/13/you-are-not-your-brain-book-review-and-giveaway/ --Reader Sandra Pawula

“A testament to mind over brain ... It's the truth of the matter that sheer willpower can truly make you break free.”
—Leonardo DiCaprio

“Operating on the highly rational perspective that we are not our brains, but rather, substantial free agents who exercise control over our brains, Schwartz and Gladding develop a simple, yet profoundly insightful approach for developing a flourishing life.  The result is truly life-giving, and it will bring healing and hope to all who read it and practice its wisdom.”
—J.P. Moreland, author of The God Question

"How can the brain, which is just a complex network of interconnected nerve cells, give rise to consciousness and to thought? Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz and Dr. Rebecca Gladding argue, persuasively, that the mind actually has massive causal effects on the functioning of the brain. In other words, you can not only change the way you think, feel and behave through conscious effort when you're upset, but you can also change the programming and chemistry of your brain. A compelling and important message."
—David Burns, M.D., author of Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy

“The idea that we can deliberately and systematically change our brains with our minds was once thought ridiculous.  But now, largely due to Jeffrey Schwartz and his UCLA research on neuro-plasticity and OCD, this once revolutionary idea is well accepted.  Rebecca Gladding and Jeffrey Schwartz adapt Schwartz’s extraordinarily successful program for a mainstream audience giving simple, self-directed tools to help achieve greater happiness, emotional balance, and overall well-being.”
—Susan Kaiser Greenland, author of The Mindful Child

From the Back Cover

Advance Reviews
"Operating on the highly rational perspective that we are not our brains, but rather, substantial free agents who exercise control over our brains, Schwartz and Gladding develop a simple, yet profoundly insightful approach for developing a flourishing life.  The result will bring healing and hope to all who read it."
--J. P. Moreland, author of The God Question.

"This book will be very helpful to those who want to improve their outlook and quality of life.  As this book shows, and most every musician knows, You Are Not Your Brain. The Heart and the Spirit are the source of real creativity. The brain is a vehicle to express that creativity."
--Kenny Burrell, National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master and Professor of Music and Ethnomusicology, UCLA

"Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz and Dr. Rebecca Gladding argue, persuasively, that the mind actually has massive causal effects on the functioning of the brain. In other words, you can not only change the way you think, feel and behave through conscious effort when you're upset, but you can also change the programming and chemistry of your brain. A compelling and important message."
--David Burns, M.D., author of Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy

"Largely due to Jeffrey Schwartz and his UCLA research on neuro-plasticity and OCD treatment, the once revolutionary idea that we can systematically change our brains with our minds is now well accepted.  Gladding and Schwartz adapt that program for a mainstream audience giving simple, self-directed tools to help achieve greater happiness, emotional balance, and overall well-being."
--Susan Kaiser Greenland, author of The Mindful Child
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Avery; First Edition edition (June 9, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583334262
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583334263
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (147 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #661,708 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Habitually dismissing and devaluing your true emotions and needs causes your brain to adopt unhealthy responses and to strongly discount much of the positive information about you that is coming in." -- Jeff Schwartz, MD, and Rebecca Gladding, MD

I was well aware for some months that Jeffrey Schwartz's new book (co-authored with Rebecca Gladding) was coming out. When I saw the package from amazon.com on my front porch last week, I quickly opened it. The reward circuit in my brain got activated as I held the hardcover book with bright yellow lettering that told me: YOU ARE NOT YOUR BRAIN!

Jeffrey Schwartz is a pioneer in the field of self-directed neuroplasticity, and his work with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (as described in his book BRAIN LOCK) is highly regarded and used in clinics around the world. In this new book, Schwartz and Gladding have refined the 4-step method used in "Brain Lock" as well as expanded the scope of how it can be applied to lifestyle habits, addictions, and unhealthy thinking.

The 4-Step process is based on mindfulness. I found their revised process very clear and easy to grasp--and it can easily be used personally or by counselors, psychologists, and others to be shared with clients as a form of treatment. The 4-Step process includes 1) Relabeling (noticing thoughts), 2) Reframing (naming the brain's deceptive thought pattern to change your relationship to the thought), 3) Refocusing (placing awareness elsewhere), and 4) Revaluing (aligning with one's deeper values, or true self).

The book is a treasure trove of real-life case studies that demonstrate how Schwartz and Gladding used the 4-Step mindfulness process--and show how anyone can rewire their brain in this way.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book after reading "The Brain that Changes Itself" by Norman Doidge, MD, which is a fascinating book. In it, Doidge mentions Schwartz and his method for helping patients who suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

In "You Are Not Your Brain," Schwartz and Gladding expand on that method and help the reader apply it to other problems that result from what they call deceptive brain messages. I have also heard these deceptive brain messages referred to as automatic negative thoughts, core beliefs, et cetera. Essentially, they are ideas/beliefs you have that lead you to engage in bad habits, feel terrible about yourself, avoid taking actions you need to take, and generally prevent you from living the life you want to live. One example the book gives is an actor who doesn't believe he's good enough and therefore does not go on auditions for parts and, as a result, sabotages his own career success. In short, these false messages are running your life and it's time to stop listening to them. This book teaches you to identify these false brain messages, how to deal with them and how to take back control of your choices and your life.

Could this book have been written in a more engaging and perhaps slightly more cohesive way? Sure, but I bought this book for what it could teach me, and it has taught me a great deal. It goes beyond what a lot of books say, which is to write down and challenge the deceptive brain messages. Yes, that's helpful, but the steps in this book, especially the steps about doing something constructive and engaging while allowing those brain messages to continue to play on in the background are what really creates lasting change in your brain.

I liked the concept of the "Wise Advocate.
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4 Comments 107 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
I read a lot of books and I have a hard time imagining anyone with an interest in practical results not finding this book valuable. I noticed the previous reviewer panned it because it wasn't full of detailed scientific descriptions, despite the fact that would probably turn most of its intended audience off. This is a common problem in book reviews. People read a book, like this one whose intent is to provide a practical technique and then criticize it for what it is not and was never intended to be. This book wasn't written to convince you of its theoretical foundation or educate readers on exact "neural pathways", although it does touch on that lightly. It was written to help you so get over it. This is a self help book and in that regard succeeds brilliantly.

The case histories included throughout this book are people with moderately significant problems (I would say even sometimes pretty severe). However, don't let that dissuade you because I think virtually anyone who is a normal human being would find the advice practical in many circumstances. I don't have any issues even remotely approaching those of the people described in the book but I still found it very helpful.

This is a fairly long book for this genre (approximately 350 pages) and it is very well organized. It includes a lot of worksheets and practical tips. I have no major criticism at all. I would recommend it to anyone who wants practical advice on how to improve their mental well-being and that includes people who think they are doing well already. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up!
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