Sunday, September 26, 2010

"Wherever you put the mind, the body will follow."

"Wherever you put the mind, the body will follow." - Ellen Langer

The other day I had a conversation with a friend about another friend who is recovering from some physical injuries. Said other friend has made great improvements recently and attributes them to a new supplement she's taking. I mentioned to my friend that the ingredients of the supplement have not been scientifically proven to be helpful (so far?) and are quite controversial. This led to a discussion of the placebo effect and the power of the mind in healing.

I told my friend about the amazing improvements I saw in myself after I stopped identifying myself as "the partially disabled person" and started seeing myself as "the person working to become more capable." Just opening the mental door marked "possibility of healing" made a huge change in my physical abilities. I wondered how much of our mutual friend's improvement might be due to her opening that mental door vs. the supplement composed of much-tested but not proven ingredients.

Ellen Langer's monastery study gives direct evidence of the power of mindset to affect physical ability. Elderly participants pretending to be 22 years younger suddenly had more physical ability.

It's easy to limit ourselves based on age or information gleaned from media or even doctor visits. Don't forget to leave that "possibility" door open at least a crack at all times. You may just get to walk through it.


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