Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess Summary, Quotes, And Review

MindsetPersonal DevelopmentPsychology

Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess by Dr. Caroline Leaf puts stress on how mental health problems are at zenith these days and why everybody should learn about neuroscience and master mind-management.

Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess: 5 Simple, Scientifically Proven Steps to Reduce Anxiety, Stress, and Toxic Thinking
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Dr. Caroline Leaf (Author) – Caroline Leaf (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 03/02/2021 (Publication Date) – Recorded Books (Publisher)

Last update on 2024-05-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon

Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess Summary [Pdf]

Mental health has been long ignored compared to physical health by many people.

The reason is that mind-management is hardly taught in schools compared to other subjects.

Think about how toxic stress and anxiety are affecting your lifestyle.

When you ignore your mental health, you indirectly trigger a loop of suffering.

Your mind controls your life, and if your mind is a mess, your life will be a mess too.

But don’t you worry.

In this book summary, I’ll discuss the best lessons I learned from the book Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess, written by Dr. Caroline Leaf, which will help you deal with your mind and become peaceful.

Alrighty, so without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Best Tools for Bibliophiles

Lesson #1: Mental health issues are severe and need to be addressed.

Today, we have more mental problems than ever before.

The author shares concern about how even mental health professionals get depression and anxiety.

They are getting more people with mental health conditions than ever before.

As a result, life spans are getting shorter.

People are getting diseases even at a young age.

The mental body is connected with the physical body.

Think about when you get butterflies before giving a speech on stage.

When your mind is not calm, the body starts showing symptoms of uneasiness.

Studies on stress hormones show that chronic exposure to stress can even cause modification to your DNA or genes.

This means everyday stress is not only harmful to today’s generation but also future generations.

But that’s only a part of the problem.

People take only physical problems seriously as they are visible to the eyes.

Mind is always ignored.

A person with a sick mind won’t take himself as seriously as someone with an unhealthy body.

We treat mind and body as two separate things.

But they are not separate. They are connected.

Ignoring one over the others is the root cause of all the mental issues we see today.

It’s like watching a car crash in front of you and not being able to do anything.

The time has come for us to address mental problems and learn how to manage them.

Lesson #2: Think deeply as quick fixes won’t work.

When we talk about growth, technology is the most prominent thing.

Technology has advanced rapidly in the last few decades, but the human mind hasn’t much.

I think that our mind is still adapting to this rapid change.

Today, the author says, most of us want quick fixes.

Think about all the social media platforms that we use today.

TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, etc., all have bite-size informational content promising happiness or solutions to all the problems.

But do they really help?

We are trained to consume quick content.

The problem is that the Mind doesn’t process things that quickly.

We need time to process and apply all that information.

By focusing more on gathering information, we also avoid implementation.

And that’s not it. We are destroying our ability to think deeply, reflect, and contemplate.

More and more people are switching to video-based content as it’s short and entertaining.

Few people are reading books today.

Attention spans are getting shorter.

How does this affect all of us?

When we don’t think deeply, we don’t get perspective.

Every experience in your life teaches you something, and learning from those experiences requires you to sit and reflect.

When you don’t do this, your growth in life suffers.

And when you stop growing, life gets boring.

Then people wonder, “Why is my life not exciting? What’s wrong with me?”

This further creates guilt and brings more problems.

You can prevent this by reducing the amount of short content you consume on the Internet.

Try to avoid quick fixes if possible and find the root cause of the problem.

Often you will find that the problem emerged from the disorder in your mind.

Try to meditate and reflect on your thoughts.

Whenever you consume any information, try to think deeply about it.

Avoid learning on a superficial level. It’s no use anyway.

Lesson #3: Suppression of thoughts and emotions is not healthy.

Many people don’t understand the functioning of the mind.

So whenever they feel negative thoughts or emotions like fear or guilt, they try to suppress them.

It’s human nature, after all.

We fear what we don’t understand and try to run away from it.

But do you know why suppression of thought is a bad idea?

First, if you are trying to suppress any mental activity, it won’t work.

Sooner or later, it will come back with 10x more power.

Second, by suppressing it, you lose the opportunity to understand more about your mind.

The author says:

Everything we do begins with a thought. If we want to change anything in our lives, we first have to change our thinking, our mind.

Dr. Caroline Leaf

Are you getting it?

Nothing can change if you suppress your thoughts and run away from them.

Think about it. (Deeply)

How will you change your mind if you don’t understand it?

Fortunately, hope is still there.

Lesson #4: The 5-step Neurocycle method can help you become more mindful.

Okay, now I’m borrowing the exact steps from the book to give you a quick idea.

The author recommends a simple 5-step method to become calm:

  • Step #1: Gather
  • Step #2: Reflect
  • Step #3: Write
  • Step #4: Recheck
  • Step #5: Active Reach

First, Gather your thoughts and Reflect on them.

Observe what kind of thoughts are there in your mind.

After that, Write them down in your journal or a piece of paper.

Then Recheck them and analyze them.

Finally, reach out to someone who can help you understand those thoughts better and find a solution to your mental problem.

In other words, you have to become more aware and record your thoughts.

This will give you a broader perspective, and you will be able to find a solution.

When you do this exercise, you also reshape your mind to think with awareness, which further helps you deal with stress and anxiety.

Deep breathing is recommended in case you find this exercise exhausting.

The brain has neuroplasticity, which means you can change your paradigm and thought patterns if you practice enough.

Your mind shapes as you gather experiences.

But when you learn mind-management techniques like this, you build control over your mind.

You no longer remain helpless, getting caught up in the tantrum of your thoughts.

Keep in mind that when you do any mental exercise, try not to rush.

You have to allow yourself enough time to process and reconceptualize.

Don’t try to reject your toxic thoughts.

Embrace them and analyze them.

Mind management is all about becoming mindful.

Recommended Summary: Rewire your anxious brain

Lesson #5: Allow yourself at least 63 days to improve your mind management.

Many people feel guilty and lost when they cannot direct their thoughts.

They don’t realize that the thought patterns they are carrying have turned into habits after repetition for years.

It’s unrealistic to become a master at mind management in 24 hours.

Even if you try to adopt a new habit, it’ll take around 21 days.

But here, the author says that you wait for at least two months, or 63 days to be exact, to get good at it.

Repeat the exercise that we discussed above every single day.

With each passing day, you’ll notice that you are becoming more self-aware.

You will be able to see the pattern of toxic thoughts when they come.

Note here that your old thoughts won’t go immediately. But your perspective will shift gradually.

Again, this is not a one-time thing.

Even after 63 days get over, you’ll have to keep practicing the exercise.

You have to make it your routine so that you don’t have to think about it every day.

You might be wondering, “How does all this work?”

When you practice mind-management, so much happens in your mind on a molecular level.

It’s hard to put in words, but your mind changes.

This is no different than going to the gym and lifting weights.

When you train and sweat, your body trims the extra fat and becomes muscular.

The same thing happens with the mind. Training your mind releases hormones that make you feel good and reduce stress.

I recommend you keep gathering more information about mind-management yourself through articles, podcasts, etc., so that there are no doubts.

The more you learn about the mind, the wiser you become, wasting less energy.

Recommended Summary: Learning how to learn by Barbara Oakley

Lesson #6: To understand your toxic thoughts, you must know what the mind is not.

Toxic thoughts exist within the mind.

And as we discussed, understanding the mind is the key to reducing them.

But if we ask, “What is mind?” things get complicated.

So the author recommends that we first figure out what the mind is not.

She compares the mind to a tree.

There are 3 parts of the mind:

  • The conscious mind (Leaves and Branches)
  • The subconscious mind (Trunk)
  • The unconscious mind (Roots)

When you are awake and thinking, your conscious and subconscious minds are at work.

When you sleep, your conscious mind doesn’t work, but your subconscious and unconscious mind are at work 24*7.

The trick here is to raise your awareness and bring your attention to your subconscious mind.

According to the author, every thought comes from our memories.

Without our memories, we can’t think of anything.

All thoughts are like little universes of memories, says the author.

This is because language is also based on our memories.

The oldest experiences reside in our subconscious or unconscious mind.

So chances are, your toxic thoughts have a root in your unconscious mind.

Unless you figure out where the roots are, it’s challenging to change your mental structure permanently.

Another thing worth noting is that you are not your mind.

You are its master. Not its prisoner.

Many people don’t realize this, so they keep suffering and are always at the mercy of their minds.

The author recommends adopting a proactive approach.

Remember, the mind is energy. When you don’t channel this energy, it creates chaos in your mind.

The author says that whenever you think anything, it creates energy, which is the mind. And whatever you think about the most, you give it power. And it grows.

It’s like watering a plant. The more you water it, the more it grows.

On the other hand, if you are not watering the right thoughts, you are watering toxic thoughts.

Must read summary: Be your own sunshine by James Allen

Lesson #7: The mind can easily influence and get influenced.

The books you read, the channels you watch on YouTube, the people you spend your time with, etc., all influence your mind.

The mind can get influenced.

For instance, if you spend time with extroverted people, chances are, you will have more extroverted thoughts.

And if you spend time with philosophers, you’ll think more about what purpose a man has in life.

Thoughts are energy, says the author.

And they can easily be transferred from one mind to the other.

It’s essential to reconceptualize your thoughts once in a while.

If you notice any toxic thought, try to determine where it came from.

Was it your friend who gave you that thought unconsciously?

Or did a news channel influence you?

You can always find answers to such questions.

But it requires a deep investigation of the mind.

Neuroplasticity is both good and evil in this sense.

You can change your thinking with awareness and practice. But at the same time, the mind is vulnerable to toxic thinking.

This is why I’m a big fan of reading books.

It helps you recollect your thoughts, investigate them, and bring a change in perspective.

Purchase this book from Amazon: Hardcover | Paperback | Audiobook

Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess Quotes

Here are some of the notable quotes that will help you understand the topic properly:

You can go three weeks without food, three days without water, and three minutes without air, but you cannot go three seconds without thinking.

~Dr. Caroline Leaf

If you don’t shape your life, it’ll be shaped for you.

~Dr. Caroline Leaf

I believe we are asking the wrong questions and looking for answers in the wrong place.

~Dr. Caroline Leaf

Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess Review

Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess: 5 Simple, Scientifically Proven Steps to Reduce Anxiety, Stress, and Toxic Thinking
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Dr. Caroline Leaf (Author) – Caroline Leaf (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 03/02/2021 (Publication Date) – Recorded Books (Publisher)

Last update on 2024-05-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon

The worst part about this book is that it has a lot of jargon.

There is so much research, but what’s the point if one can’t find actionable ideas.

I also found this book a tad repetitive.

The author could have spent more time explaining how to put the ideas into action.

Sure, the concept of Neurocycling is excellent, but it’s not that new.

I have read many books on this topic earlier, so I didn’t find much new to learn.

The technical details were backed by neuroscience. Only this was different.

If you are someone who loves reading research papers with lots of technical words, this book is your jam.

It was tough to finish this book, even for me.

I wish this book were easier to read and was written keeping ordinary people in mind.

I won’t recommend this book to people who barely know about psychology or neuroscience for all the reasons discussed above.

Otherwise, they’ll fall asleep while reading.

Book Rating: 6/10

Buy this book from Amazon: Hardcover | Paperback | Audiobook

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Last update on 2024-05-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon

Now it’s Your Turn

There you have it.

I hope this book summary helped you learn a lot about how the mind functions and how can one master it with practice.

Now you tell me:

Which techniques do you use to deal with stress and anxiety?

Leave a comment below.

Shami Manohar

The Brain Behind

I am Shami Manohar, the founder of WizBuskOut. My obsession with non-fiction books has fueled me with the energy to create this website. I read at least one book every week on topics such as business, critical thinking, mindset, psychology, and more.

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