“One of the unique things about the human brain is that it can do only what it thinks it can do. The minute you say “My memory isn’t what it used to be” or “I can’t remember a thing today,” you are actually training your brain to live up to your diminished expectations. Low expectations mean low results. The first rule of super brain is that your brain is always eavesdropping on your thoughts. As it listens, it learns. If you teach it about limitations, your brain will become limited. But what if you do the opposite? What if you teach your brain to be unlimited?” – Deepak Chopra, Super Brain
I’ve always been fascinated by how the brain works. Documentaries about the mind mesmerize me. Super Brain, a new book co-authored by Deepak Chopra, MD and Rudolph E. Tanzi, PhD, left me with a similar feeling. This book is a manual for relating to the brain in a new way, showing how we can use our brains as gateways for achieving health, happiness and spiritual growth by being mindful of our thoughts. The authors are two pioneers: Chopra is a bestselling author and physician, and Tanzi is a Harvard Medical School professor and one of the world’s foremost experts on the causes of Alzheimer’s.
In short, a “super brain” is your brain, only better. A super brain requires being conscious of your thoughts and feelings and taking charge of them proactively. Most people let their feelings control their lives. This is dangerous because it allows us to settle into repetitive thought patterns and unhealthy routines, dictated by feelings and emotions. But if you can control and master your emotions by paying attention to your thoughts, you can create a healthy, rational super brain. When you are in control of your brain, you make wise, sensible choices.
The book offers lots of advice on how to acquire a super brain. Simply put, all experiences are either positive or negative for your brain. If you maximize the positive ones, you can shape your brain for the world you want. Chopra and Tanzi break down tips for achieving a super brain into “outer work” and “inner work.” Outer work includes habits like eating healthy, exercising, managing stress, getting out with friends and intellectual stimulation.
Inner work includes practicing qualities like adaptability, flexibility, creativity and patience. They advise becoming involved in things that make you happy, and also taking the time to be still, as living a balanced life is most healthy for the brain. To quote, “By work, we mean doing the best you can for yourself.”
The biggest message I walked away from this book with is that we can and must choose to be the observer of our thoughts and feelings and use them to create a positive and constructive world that best suits us.
Want to learn more about building a super brain? Read Tanzi’s advice for tackling anxiety on deepakchopra.com.