There was something I read once about the mind as a muscle. And how it worked with other muscles. I don’t recall the study, but here’s my very condensed recollection of it: someone studied two groups of athletic people. Group A was asked to think about every aspect of their bodies while they practiced a certain sport. Group B was not asked to do this and their minds were free to wonder.
I think the sport was basketball (even if it wasn’t, let’s roll with it). Group A was asked to imagine their muscles performing perfectly with each jump shot or layup. They were asked to think about their heart rate with each stride. For every movement, Group A was asked to break down their effort to the cells and tissues within their bodies allowing them to perform this movement. Meanwhile, Group B chatted among each other, engaged in conversation, thought about their day, probably looked at their phones every once in a while, etc.
The result: Group A, the group who made a very strong effort to think about their bodies in relation to the physical activity, made huge strides in mental and physical health over Group B. Group A’s overall performance levels were higher. Everything from the athletes’ form and accuracy, to their energy levels, and oxygen flow was incredibly better than Group B.
I’m no athlete (or scientist) but this theory can be applied to other things in life. According to Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev’s book, Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy, this concept is widely known and practiced in the Eastern world and is a crucial step in the path to enlightenment.
For example, when I eat, I think about the food being crushed down into smaller bits in my mouth. When I swallow, I imagine the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants absorbing into my bloodstream. I try to see my cells receiving nutrients. I envision energy being created within me. When I drink water, I imagine flushing my digestive system with hydration. I sense my liver and kidneys healing. And I feel the absorption my body is receiving.
If people can improve their performance in a sport by thinking about what they are doing while they are doing it, then by nature, you should be able to do this with our health, our relationships, our work, anything! #DailyDEBO