An experiment to test the power of your mind
Author – Emma Triplett
I’m sure that you will agree that decisions and actions are first made in your mind – You think, next you decide to do something and then you act and do it, or not as the case may be. These are your conscious decisions, but many actions happen from the subconscious brain for example, your breathing, your body temperature, your heart rate, fighting infection and digestion. Of course it is necessary for some things to happen automatically, we would all go insane if we had to think about pumping blood around our body or breathing and, quite honestly, many of the functions our bodies perform are far too complex for our conscious brain.
Nonetheless your brain is the control centre for your whole body. You are the driver and you are in charge. What you might not realise however, is that the way in which you use your imagination plays an important role in operating this control centre and how you direct it will affect your physical and emotional reactions.
We’re going to experiment with that right now. This will work best if you read each instruction in turn and close your eyes while you do that bit and then when you’ve done, go on to the next one.
First of all I want you to bring to mind an image of yourself doing something fun and exciting that you really enjoy which makes you happy. Close your eyes and take yourself back to a place or a time that was happy for you, a holiday perhaps, happy childhood memories, a night out with friends, the birth of a child, falling in love (just examples, pick your own that means something to you). Imagine how you feel.
Take a moment to make it as real as you can, keep your eyes closed and fill in as many details as you can with your imagination.
Feel what you felt,
See what you saw,
Really connect with that happy memory
Now how do you feel?
Perhaps you have a smile on your face?
Imagining something happy will create serotonin (the neurotransmitter that makes you feel good, motivates you and helps you cope with life) as effectively as doing it. Your brain doesn’t know the difference between imagination and reality, so when you imagine something positive for you, serotonin is created just as if you were really there.
Now imagine something you really like to eat, something that makes your mouth water,
Imagine yourself eating – it Is your mouth watering?
That’s a physical reaction just from using your imagination and it happens almost instantly – yes?
How powerful is that?
You can understand how powerful your thoughts are on your mind and body so everything you think – EVERYTHING you think will have either a negative or positive impact on your physical and physiological systems.
I don’t want you to do this right now, but you can also understand that when you think about something that did upset you or would upset you if it happened – negative forecasting, worrying about what might happen and connecting with negative imaginary thoughts or negative events, it brings on powerful emotions and has a physical effect. Thinking in a negative way releases adrenalin and activates your flight/fight responses. It’s powerful.
Think about that for a moment – how you think is managing the centre centre of your body, your brain, which is turning on and off good and bad hormones and neurotransmitters depending on what you are thinking about.
What you need to become more aware of is that you are doing this imagination thinking every minute you are awake and if you are activating the flight/fight response by negative thinking, it is also replaying when you are in REM sleep.
So, if you are thinking in a negative way frequently, which is the common thinking habit every anxious, depressed or angry person has, can you see how this affects you emotionally and physically?
If you want to be less anxious, calmer and happier this is the baseline of what needs to change? They are your thoughts, you can change them when you learn the techniques that will help.
If you have an inspiring story or something to share that you think will help others wrestling with anxiety or depression, I would love to hear from you. If you have found in particular strategy helpful, chances are that someone else will also benefit, spread the word, share the love and help the fight back against the epidemic of anxiety and depression spreading across the western world.
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