“Thinking creates our internal experience of reality.”
In other words, with our thoughts we shape our reality. We perceive the world (i.e. the man is in a wheelchair) but we make sense of it with our thoughts (i.e. the man is unable to walk.) Our thoughts is how we bring meaning to what we see in the world.
Can we control our reality?
Have you ever heard of the placebo effect? The phrase was coined in the 1950’s when patients were given sugar pills (a placebo) thinking that they were getting a real medication.
Despite being on the placebo, patients’ conditions improved. The placebo effect became synonymous with the idea of mind over matter and that people who expected to get better naturally would.
A variation on this theme is the self-fulfilling prophecy. The idea behind this concept is that once we have an expectation (positive or negative) about a situation we will change our behavior in such a way that it causes that expected outcome.
Both of these examples, based on psychological studies, tell us how powerful our thoughts are. Research, therefore, proves that we can actually affect our reality and shape the outcome of things.
Continuing with the series of blogs on Wellness, this post will proceed with a spin around the wellness wheel focusing on the 12 dimensions of wellness and the idea that everything is connected, linked and interdependent.
You Can Program Your Mind
Both the placebo effect and the self-fulfilling prophecy teach us that we are able to program our minds. And some experts will also add that our mind causes us to take more inspired actions to fulfill our goals, yes?
So, think it, believe it, DO it, achieve it. Let’s stay in the psyche space for now, though and just discuss a brain metaphor.
Just the way the software in our computer programs the hardware in our computer, we have the ability to program our own software (our mind) to affect our own hardware (our bodies).
Think Positive … or Don’t
If we waste our time on thoughts that take us down a rabbit hole (anxiety, for one) that will ultimately affect our health. A wonderfully funny song written by Barbara McAfee called “Brain Rats” depicts this idea so well – check it out.
So, how do you stop the “brain rats.”
- Recognize them for what they are.
- Make the decision to not allow them to run around in your brain.
- Use the self-fulfilling prophecy in your favor.
- Convince yourself that you can overcome the obstacles.
Influencing our mind in a positive direction is a habit that we can learn. It is the basis of what has come to be known as positive psychology that can teach us optimism.
Researchers found optimism was strongly associated with health and well-being. Their studies examined longevity, heart health, immunity, cancer, pregnancy pain tolerance, and other health topics.
The conclusion was that an optimistic outlook had more positive results than those who were pessimism. So, as the long ago song advised us – “don’t worry, be happy.”
Dr. Ines K. Roe has been helping women in transition rediscover themselves for over 20 years. If you’ve been feeling unfulfilled, are frustrated with your sense of accomplishment in midlife, or simply need guidance on your path to holistic well-being, contact her for a consultation or join one of her ecourses for an unaccompanied path.