Small Things You Can Do Every Day to Protect Your Mental Health

Dr. Caroline Leaf
4 min readMay 9, 2022

In this replay from Lewis Howes’ amazing podcast The School of Greatness, I talk about ways to handle the mental conditions that affect us all.

Lewis and I dive deep into why mismanagement of mental health is on the rise, and I share my five-step Neurocycle process to help people manage their minds. We also discuss how to protect your mental health if you’ve undergone painful and traumatic experiences in your life.

Emotional states like anxiety and depression are our body’s way of responding to painful experiences. Despair, anger, depression, anxiety — these are all normal responses to life. In fact, they can be helpful. They are messengers and warning signals telling us what is going on in our lives, not just scary illnesses.

We need to shift our focus and change the way we talk and think about mental health. It’s important to focus on the story and the person’s experience, not just their symptoms.

The mind is complicated, and to properly heal, we need to focus on specific ways of dealing with negative emotions. This is where the Neurocycle comes in. This process is an alternative way to manage our mind’s response to traumatic memories or painful experiences.

For instance, in a tremendously acute traumatic state, you have the options of going into two zones. The first is the mental mess that you’re in, where you are the pilot. However, you also have the zone of the co-pilot, which is also you. The only difference is that your co-pilot can see what is going on from a more objective point of view. It has its wisdom because inside each of us is what I call our “wise mind”. This co-pilot state is necessary for us to prepare ourselves for the Neurocycle process. Once we hand the control over to our mind’s co-pilot, our wise mind, then we can proceed to the five-step process below:

  • Gather awareness: In this gather step, you are gathering awareness of your emotional and physical warning signals, behaviors and perspective/attitude. It’s a bit like gathering apples into a basket versus letting them all fall on your head and knock you out. In this analogy, the apples represent all of these warning signals. In this step, allow yourself time to feel. Validate your feelings, don’t run away from them!
  • Reflect: Put your thoughts and feelings on the witness stand in your mind. Ask yourself questions like: Why do you think you feel the way you do
Dr. Caroline Leaf

Mental health expert. I have spent the last 30+ years researching ways to help people manage mental health issues in school, work, and life: