Happiness, Health, Mindfulness

It’s All in Your Head

The mind is a powerful thing.

Most of you have heard of the Placebo Effect, where people have been cured of serious ailments like chronic pain, depression even stomach ulcers just from the power of thought, believing that they are taking a medical drug when it’s in fact just an inert pill.

This concept applies not just to the medical world but to everything in life.

In the book “The Happiness Advantage,” Shawn Achor describes a psychology experiment where a psychologist sends a large group of men in their 70’s to a summer camp for a couple months. At this camp, all the men’s identification were replaced with ID’s that state their age as 55 (roughly 20 years younger than their actual age) all the newspapers and TV’s are replaced with those from the 1970’s and they are made to do activities and sports they participated in 20 years ago.

The results were amazing. The overall health of the men increased, their blood pressure went down and they had more energy. The researchers had some participants who didn’t know the old men compare the before-and-after-the-camp pictures of the men and they looked on average 3 years younger. This improvement happened over just 2 months!

8511471This is a great example of the power of the mind. As we get older, we associate getting old with having to slow down, getting more pain and becoming more limited. If you take on this way of thinking, of course you will believe you can’t do as much as you could when you were young. Just simply from the belief that you can or can’t do something has huge consequence on how well you will perform that task.

Remember those cliché high school speeches “if you believe in yourself, you can accomplish anything,” “Stay positive, have faith in your abilities” etc. etc., there is an absolute truth to that.

I watched the Ironman in Penticton, British Columbia last year. For those of you that don’t know, it’s a major triathlon: 4km lake swim, 180km bike ride and a full 42.2k marathon. Yikes. Looking through the list of competitors, I would have expected the oldest to be maybe 55 to 60 years old at the most. But on the very back page by itself, was the 75 to 80 year old category and in it, an 77 year old nun named Sister Madonna Buder. She completed this crazy endurance race in 16h :59min!! What an unbelievable inspiration- a perfect example of someone who doesn’t place limits on their abilities and doesn’t wake up thinking,”ohh I’m old, I can’t be out doing crazy exercise!”

Sister Buder is quoted as saying, “I train religiously.”

Let’s not allow our minds to convince ourselves that we’re too old, not strong enough, not smart enough, or not clever enough to do what our bodies are capable of. Because as soon as think of ourselves as ‘old’, we’re limiting our amazing potential.

Picture from here

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