Meet Dr. Caroline Leaf — cognitive neuroscientist, bestselling author, and Friend of Ned. We chat with her about healthy mind management and how to stop living in the past, the best advice she's ever received, and her favorite way to start the day to get more energy and mental clarity.
Ned: How would you describe yourself?
Dr. Leaf: I am a cognitive neuroscientist that nerds out on all things science and the mind! My idea of relaxing is getting into a sauna or the bath with a bunch of new research articles haha!
Ned: What are the core values that guide you in your daily life?
Dr. Leaf: I think, based on my professional and personal experience, I would say that my core values are honesty (with others but especially with yourself and what you are dealing with/how you feel and think), perseverance (to do the work and give your best, even if things don’t go as planned, internally and externally), curiosity (learning is one of the best things we can do for mind and brain health, and is something I am incredibly passionate about—I try to use my mind and learn something new every day) and hope (there is so much evidence that we don’t have to be prisoners of our past or present, and that we can be empowered to take control of our health and our lives, no matter what we have gone through or where we are).
Ned: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Dr. Leaf: You can’t always control your circumstances, but you can learn to control your reactions to your circumstances.
Ned: What’s something you’ve learned this year?
Dr. Leaf: Uncertainty is a major part of life, and something we all have to grapple with when it comes to our mental health—this is normal and part of being human.
Ned: What’s your idea of contentment?
Dr. Leaf: Being at peace within myself and learning to embrace each moment, in the moment—knowing that even though I have so much more to learn about myself and the world around me, I know that my mind is more than capable to take on whatever challenge comes my way, and that where I am now is good.
Ned: What’s a super simple practice you do that’s improved your life?
Dr. Leaf: Using NED’s incredible CBD products daily! These have really helped me deal with stressful situations and improved my sleep, so I wake up feeling rested and refreshed.
Ned: What’s the smallest change you’ve made that’s had the biggest impact?
Dr. Leaf: Fasted workouts in the morning! Not only does working out on an empty stomach give me, paradoxically, more energy, it also improves my mental clarity and gets rid of any morning “brain fog” we sometimes experience and helps me start the day off right.
Ned: What’s something you want to start doing?
Dr. Leaf: I have always wanted to learn Tai-Chi! From the research I have done, it has so many mental and physical benefits.
Ned: What’s something you want to stop doing?
Dr. Leaf: Worrying about the past—sometimes, like all of us, I get into those “what if/should have/could have” moments, so I have made it a daily mind management practice to stop doing this.
Ned: What’s your favorite daily ritual?
Dr. Leaf: Neurocycling! This is a mind management technique I developed based on over three decades of research and practice that is based on the mind-brain connection and focuses on building healthy networks in the brain and reconceptualizing toxic thinking patterns in 5 simple steps.
Ned: Who do you follow that really inspires you?
Dr. Leaf: Really, any quantum physicist out there haha! But I am also so honored to have interviewed and met so many incredible people that inspire me daily in my line of work, from relationship experts like Mark Groves, functional medical practitioners like Dr. Will Cole, deep breathing experts like the Iceman Wim Hof, change agents like Michelle Williams and holistic psychologists and psychiatrists like Dr. Nicole LePera and Dr. Rudolph Tanzi and Dr Daniel Amen.
Ned: What’s something you’re grateful for?
Dr. Leaf: My family—I love them so much and they are my ultimate “mental health” practice, because their love and support keeps me grounded, happy and at peace no matter what is going on in my life.
Ned: What’s something that would make the world a better place?
Dr. Leaf: Mind management! We use our minds for everything—indeed we don’t go three seconds without thinking, so it is incredibly important to learn to think well!
Ned: What’s your favorite Ned product and why?
Dr. Leaf: I personally love the Full Spectrum Hemp Sleep Blend (I use it every night), as well as the Mellö Magnesium Lavenderberry flavor (which tastes amazing!), both of which have really helped improve my mental and physical health!