Advice Article

The Power of our Minds

Last night I read an article that truly changed my perspective on life and how we react to it. The article was titled: 10 Amazing Examples of Mind over Matter.

In summary, the article discusses instances where the human mind is more powerful than the body. Here are a few of my favourite examples they used:

1. Tibetan Monks

Tibetan Monks are so in sync with their mind that they have complete control over their bodies. An example is when the monks allowed physicians to experiment on them by placing soaking wet, freezing towels/sheets on them while in their state of meditation. In such conditions, the average person would likely experience uncontrollable shivering and would shortly suffer hypothermia. However, through deep concentration, the monks were able to generate body heat, and within minutes the researchers noticed steam rising from the sheets that were covering the monks. Within an hour, the sheets were completely dry.

2. Placebo Effect

If you haven’t heard of the Placebo Effect, it’s basically an inert substance or belief which produces real biological effects in humans. It’s so widely accepted as fact that a placebo variable is included in most medical tests as way of proving if, say, a drug works on its own merits or because people “think” it works.

Sometimes this works through taking a pill that someone tells you is medicine, when in reality it could be a tic-tac. But because your mind thinks it will make you better, you literally start getting better.

A group Princeton students experimented on their classmates by throwing a Kegger with pretty much fake alcohol (of 0.4% which is nearly impossible to get drunk off of). The students began slurring their words, falling over, and passing as the night progressed. This is simply because their minds thought they were getting drunks. Weird eh?

3. Nocebo Effect

This is very similar to the placebo effect, but rather it’s when you’re mind thinks that something negative happened, when in reality, you’re fine. An example is touching a plant that you think is poison ivy and getting a rash, when in reality it was just a regular plant. If a doctor tells you that you’re sick when you are not, you can literally start showing signs of whatever illness he informed you that you had. It’s all in the mind.

4. Positivity and Meditation

This is so important and by thinking positive you can physically change how you feel. By taking some quiet time to yourself and just breathing, you can cure yourself of a headache, stress, sickness, etc. They say when you wake up in the morning you should think of 3 positive things to begin your day. If you do that, you will have a happy, positive day.

For example, in 1989, Dr. David Spiegel of Stanford University conducted a study on 86 women with late stage breast cancer. Half of those women received standard medical care while the other half were given weekly support sessions in addition to the standard medical care. During the sessions the women shared their feelings, talked with other patients, and generally had a positive outlet where they could cope with their illness. At the end of the study, the women in the support group lived twice as long as those not in the group. In 1999, a similar study found that cancer patients who have feelings of helplessness and hopelessness have a lower chance of survival.

A happy outlook on life can literally improve your life. THINK POSITIVE!!

5. Blocking out Pain

Jack Schwarz, a Dutch Jewish writer, also lived in horrific conditions while forced into a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. Like so many others, he was beaten, starved, and tortured beyond what most of us can comprehend. To cope with his situation, he began the practice of meditation and prayer, which he developed to the point where he could block out the pain of his torment and subsequently withstand his situation.

After his release, Schwarz continued his mind over matter practice and occasionally demonstrated his skills by putting a long sail-maker’s needle through his arm without injury. He also displayed his ability to regulate his body’s blood flow by causing the puncture hole in his arm to bleed or stop bleeding at will. Schwarz was studied by researchers at the Menninger Foundation who found that he could indeed control many of his bodily processes with only his mind. Furthermore, through an electroencephalograph, they determined his brain had different electrical activity as compared to most other test subjects. According to Schwarz, he could also see people’s auras, which allowed him to gauge their physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental conditions.

6. Boosts Weight Loss

If you envision yourself losing weight, and be positive about losing weight, you CAN lose weight! Again, it’s all in your mind what you do, so if you think it, you can achieve it.

To prove the point that the mind has a major impact on the body, Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer conducted an experiment on a group of predominantly overweight hotel maids who, judging by their daily activity levels, should have been thin. Despite essentially exercising all day long through their work, Langer discovered through a survey that 67% of the maids felt they didn’t do any type of exercise. Langer predicted the maids’ perceptions were hampering their weight loss, so she took half the maids aside and, in addition to taking their physical measurements, explained that through their cleaning work they were exceeding the surgeon general’s definition of an active lifestyle. The other half of the maids were given no information.

A month later, Langer’s team returned to the hotel and reevaluated the maids. They found an overall decrease in systolic blood pressure, weight, and waist-to-hip ratio in the educated group. The other group had no significant physical changes. While some suspect the mere discussion of exercise somehow altered the women’s behavior, Langer said there was no indication any of the maids modified their routines, and she feels the results were due simply to a change in mindset.

After reading this article I thought a lot about it. I told a few of my friends, and even called my dad to tell him. I was just so amazed that our minds are so powerful and we don’t even realize it. We go by day after day living our same old lives and never realizing that we have this miraculous thing inside of our heads. We literally have the ability to cure ourselves, heal ourselves, lose weight, remember anything we chose, be happy, and change our lives.

Lately I’ve been getting really bad pimples constantly and I can’t seem to get rid of them. It makes me so upset and definitely drops my self-esteem. But last night I was looking at myself in the mirror after reading the article and thought; I could fix this. I am so powerful that my mind has the ability to heal itself. It’s not crazy and it’s not magic; it’s just the human mind. I could start doing something every day, say like taking a certain vitamin, and convince myself that the pill or vitamin is going to get rid of my pimples. And if I convince myself and believe it, I could physically cure it.

We have the power to do anything; you just have to put your mind to it. If you believe it you can achieve it, remember that.



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