You know when you were little and your parents would tell you “if you think it, you can do it.”? Well, they weren’t lying.
It’s called mind over matter. Your brain is so powerful you just need to be open to the possibilities. Professor of Psychology at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Laura Freberg, told The Newsroom, “In neuroscience we really don’t make too much of a distinction anymore between mind and body.”
There are a few extreme examples of mind over matter.
Tibetan Monks are able to use a form of meditation known as g Tum-mo, where they dry wet towels or sheets just by increasing their body temperature. Similarly, Therese Brosse, a cardiologist discovered Indian Yogis are able to slow down their heartbeat so much that it’s only detectable via an EKG machine.
Another example is a group of Princeton University students who threw a non-alcoholic keg party without telling their peers. The kegs were secretly filled with O’Douls, which only contains 0.4% alcohol. The Princeton students watched on as their class mates proceeded to act drunk and slur their words because they believed they were drinking a standard beer (containing 5% alcohol).
Professor Freberg said that mind over matter happens in our every day lives. “It’s more of an issue of taking control of what we normally might just let run in the background like your anti-virus software on your computer.”
Using football and rugby players as an example she said, “It’s probably too much of a good thing, they don’t know how badly they’re hurt when they’re out there so that don’t come out when they ought to.”
This is common with athletes; Guy Gertsch broke his leg at the 11.2 km mark of the 1982 Boston Marathon, but proceeded to finish the 42 km race. Gertsch told Boston AP even though he felt pain “I’d rather suffer through a couple of torn ligaments than stop running. I was determined unless my leg went out on me, that I’d finish.”
People who quit smoking or addictive drugs also use mind over matter, and Professor Freberg said they are the most extraordinary. “When you have an addiction process going, it changes the way your brain works in a very real way and it takes years for the brain to get back to the way it used to be. So while you’re waiting for that to happen the poor recovering addict is having to use mind over matter in a very real way.”
Professor Freberg said her way of achieving mind over matter consists of breaking up her big tasks into little tasks, “I’m not going to think oh my gosh I have a book to write because then you just run off screaming into the night but if you take a big something that you have to do and break it into little chunks and think ‘oh wow I got something done today’, I think that helps people when they have to have a lot of self discipline and you have to reward yourself for those little wins.”
She also warned that “We have limited quantities, so we kind of have to make choices about when we use it.” – Bianca Mureddu
Photo from Guillaume Maciel’s Flickr Stream