My Stroke of Insight – A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey – Jill Bolte Taylor

Book – My Stroke of Insight – A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey

Author – Jill Bolte Taylor PhD

Publisher – Hodder and Stoughton, London

Rating – 5

At the age of 37, Jill Bolte Taylor experienced a massive stroke when a blood vessel ruptured in the left side of her brain.  As a brain scientist Taylor was in a unique position to observe what was occurring as she was having the stroke “from the inside”, observing her left brain functions completely deteriorate to the point where she was unable to talk, walk, read, write or recall any of her life to date, within a space of only four hours.

As the left side of her brain oscillated in and out of function, she found herself experiencing two very distinct and opposite realities: the euphoric nirvana experience of the right brain which was an experience of complete bliss, peace and wellbeing, and the fading function of the left brain which is sequential and logical and enabled Jill to recognise that she was having a stroke and to seek help before she was completely incapable of any left brain function.

This book is a fascinating journey into the mechanics of the human brain and mind.  It is a testament to the ability of the brain to heal itself. With a deep understanding of the role of both hemispheres of the brain, Taylor’s goal is to share her learnings about how our brains affect our daily lives and how we can more effectively run our brains through increasing the brains resourceful circuits and thus reduce stress.

The key messages from the book are:

  • We are basically circuitry – thinking circuitry, emotional circuitry and physiological circuitry
  • All emotion and thought are a form of circuitry that can be changed in an instant.  By allowing our circuitry to run its course instead of acting it out, we change our behaviours and thus our results.
  • Redirecting your mind to a more useful circuit (thought) allows the unhelpful or unresouceful circuitry to stop running and thus the negative thought or emotion to dissipate.
  • Whenever we are stressed (left brain action) we can reduce this by returning to the present moment, and being grateful i the now (right brain) – all thinking and emotion then becomes a choice.

This is a powerful and truly inspiring book that provides insight into the way the brain works and how to choose optimum thinking in any given moment.

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