4 out of 4 stars
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I hate mornings with a passion. I have never been one of those people who can bounce out of bed bright and early and make it to the office by eight in the morning with a workout at the gym under my belt and a smile on my face. I’m a drag my body from under the covers at the last possible moment, dependent on coffee to turn me into a functional human kind of person.
When I picked up The Morning Mind, I was expecting to read a manual on how to successfully become an early riser with productive mornings and less bed-head at the office. I didn’t get that. Instead, Dr. Kirti Salwe Carter and Dr. Rob Carter III taught me how my brain functions at its basest level and how to translate that knowledge into a higher degree of self-control and enlightenment about how to best work with my mind and body, not against it.
The Carters explain how the brain is broken into three main parts: the reptilian, mammalian, and the human. They refer to the reptilian portion of the brain as the Lizard. This is where your most basic instincts come from (e.g. fight or flight). The human brain is the portion with higher reasoning and awareness, aptly named the Wizard by the authors. The Lizard convinces you to stay in your safe place, be it in bed, your less than desirable job, or to avoid the physical discomfort of going to the gym. The key to overpowering the mental roadblocks from this portion of your brain is to identify that it is acting up and to use the higher reasoning of your Wizard to make the best decision, not the most comfortable one.
The book builds upon this understanding of the war going on within your own brain, but it also goes into great detail about the importance of understanding your natural circadian rhythm, hormones, positive affirmations, and constructive routine building techniques. They also take great pains to help you understand and work with your particular dosha, aromatherapy, and working exercise into your day.
The Morning Mind is professionally produced and extremely well-written. The authors take a heavy subject matter (essentially neuroscience) and boil it down to a level that is understandable by the average person. As you read each chapter, you find yourself thinking about how much sense they are making with each point they bring up. The Carters drive home their concept of the Lizard and Wizard with the example of your Lizard telling you to run from a housefire. Meanwhile, firefighters are able to tap into their well-trained Wizard to apply a calm and methodical approach to walking into that fire despite their instinct to avoid peril.
While some discussions were about subjects I’ve never considered (doshas being a big one), I found myself intrigued and open-minded. What helps overcome a reader's incredulity is the fact that the entire work is extremely well documented and includes twenty-five pages of endnotes. The authors are constantly quoting scientific studies at major universities to support their arguments. There is no question that The Morning Mind gets all 4 out of 4 stars.
This treatise on self-understanding would be a perfect gift for college students, procrastinators, yourself, or anyone who is looking to have a better understanding of how their brain and body work in concert together. This book is about so much more than mornings. It is about living a fuller life by understanding yourself. I have not miraculously been transformed into an early riser; however, my mornings have become much more pleasant. I can now identify when my Lizard is trying to talk me out of going to the gym or getting that painful project done at work, and I now have the tools I need to allow my Wizard to triumph. Pick up this book and answer the question put to you by the authors, “Who do you want to be: a victim or an influential person who takes full responsibility for life?” I know which one I’m choosing.
The Morning Mind
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