Mind Over Matter

Why your belief system is stronger than you think

The human mind is full of surprises. Unlike other organs in our body that passively do their jobs day in and day out, the brain plays a more active role in our lifestyles. Researchers at Stanford University recently discovered that amongst the mind’s abilities to perceive reality hides an ability to change reality. Crazy, right? What is even more interesting, however, is how our mental state significantly impacts our overall health and well-being. Whether you’re a yoga fan or a spinner ring enthusiast, knowing the limitations and opportunities of our unconscious mind can be beneficial.

The pitfalls of skepticism

When we consistently question ourselves, we can actively misjudge our own limitations, regardless of what is actually the case. A study conducted at Stanford University examined this exact phenomenon. The study tested the endurance levels of individuals and then randomly divided them into two groups. Half the people were told they had a gene that improved their endurance, while the rest were told the exact opposite. Each was then asked to perform the same type of exercises and their performances were judged accordingly. Interestingly, the people who were told they naturally possessed more endurance performed better in endurance-based exercises after being given their results, regardless of whether they really possessed that genome. On the other hand, the group who were told they may tire easily gave up sooner than they did before. In reality, their performance had little to do with their natural tendencies and more to do with their inherent belief systems. When we begin to understand human behaviour, it emphasizes how much our mind affects our physical performance.

The placebo effect 

The stressors that come with the unpredictability of life are bound to make us question ourselves. And when we are left with contradictory feelings about the choices we have made, it creates the perfect breeding ground for doubt. Here, we are presented with two ways of dealing with this feeling. When we look at doubt as an opportunity for growth, we can use it as a motivator that pushes us to work hard and achieve our goals. At its worst, however, doubt can put our nervous system into overdrive and do us more harm than good.

The fact that the brain can convince the body it’s healing from a fake treatment has a lot to teach us about our mind-body connection. Of course, this effect will not rid you of disease or cure you entirely, but it offers other benefits. For example, the placebo effect can greatly moderate the symptoms of pain and stress-related insomnia. In cancer patients, placebo effects have significantly improved chemo-related symptoms. The bottom line remains true. When we are convinced that we are getting the right treatment, our body responds positively.

The cultivation of the human mindset

What all these studies have in common is the combination of internal and external mechanisms that impact the mind-body connection. The physical act of taking a pill externally convinces us that we are healing internally. This is perhaps why a combination of both internal and external practices can greatly nurture our mind-body dialogue.

Internal practices

These practices are designed to cultivate a sense of presence within our lifestyles. We must train our brain to create positive mental chatter so that no matter what adversity we face, we have full control of our mental well-being.

Meditation

One of the simplest ways to begin a regimen of meditation is by finding a quiet corner to sit in. Many people opt to close their eyes and settle into the space around them before taking in long, deep breaths. The key here is to pay attention to your body’s cues and forget the outside world within those moments. Focus on the internal mechanisms of your body and what you’re feeling as you deeply inhale and exhale. The biggest challenge, of course, is keeping your wandering mind in check. However, with time, practice, and patience meditation for stress can help you achieve more presence of mind.

Mindfulness

Where guided meditation for anxiety requires a designated time and place, mindfulness can be used anytime and anywhere. The goal is to work on grounding ourselves within the present moment inside and outside of our meditative practices. These techniques can vary between having a presence of mind while looking out the window during our commute or while noticing every bite of food as we eat. The point is to lock ourselves into the present and reign in regretful thoughts of the past or worrisome thoughts of the future. All we really have is now.

External practices

Outside of finding our inner voice, we must not overlook our outer form. The movement of the body can provide some internal peace and help strengthen the mind-body connection, which can aid us in healing.

Yoga

Yoga and meditation have become synonymous, and it is not without good reason. At its core, yoga is extremely therapeutic for both the mind and body. The diaphragmatic breathing techniques, flows, and stretches in yoga push us to truly experience each feeling our muscles go through within an exercise. Unlike cardiovascular or HIIT workouts, mindfulness yoga requires us to slow down instead of speeding up. This process lends a great deal of serenity to each movement. The external pace also forces us to slow down internally in order to transition seamlessly to the next move.

Spinner rings

Spinner jewellery also has an active place within meditation. In fact, these rotating rings are popularly called meditation rings because of their overall calming tendencies. Adversity can strike anytime, which is why anxiety rings come in handy. In moments of distress, spinning our meditation spinner ring can provide an overall sense of calm because it brings our mind back into the present moment. Out of all these practices, owning an anxiety ring is simple and easy.

Our parting advice

As we have learned today, the mind plays a role that can either push us further or stand in our way. It is up to us to stay consistent and mindful in our pursuits for better living because sometimes we are preventing ourselves from reaching our goals. Healing takes time, effort, and patience. So be kind as you make this journey and be aware of the difference between internal voices and external setbacks. The more we learn, the easier it will be for us to make healthier choices for the mind and body. And as we bid you adieu, we wish you immense luck. Be well! 

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