Thoughts Build Muscle: Our Awesome Mind

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Our thoughts are powerful. In fact, they may be powerful enough to help maintain good mental and physical health.

Although much has been written about the power of thought over the past few decades, we are just beginning to realize the impact thought has on our lives.

The Power of Thought and Our Muscles

Studies have been conducted to determine whether thinking about exercising a muscle group has any effect on developing muscle strength in that particular area. The results are quite amazing.

  1. People who exercised their little fingers improved the fingers' strength by 53 percent. People who only thought about exercising their little fingers did not do as well, but they increased their finger strength by 35 percent.
  2. Those who built up their little finger muscles using only thoughts showed changes in brain cortical potentials related to muscle control, as though their little finger muscles had been physically exercised.
  3. A different study revealed that muscle loss in immobilized limbs can be reduced by up to 50 percent by engaging those limbs in mental exercise while immobilized.

Our brain, amazing as it is, does not do a good job of distinguishing thought and action. Thought alone can trigger neural messages telling the body to change. The electrical activity in our brain is the same whether we do something or think about doing it.

However, there is a major advantage to actually exercising. Thinking about doing an exercise, or visualizing it, strengthens only the muscle group being thought about, but physically exercising one muscle group generates activity in other parts of the body as well.

Thought and Mental Health

This thought-muscle research seems to validate the use of visualization in mental health treatment to reduce stress and calm anxiety. If thinking about exercise can build muscle, it is not much of a stretch to think it can soothe our nervous system and influence our emotions.

Letting go of preconceived notions about how the mind functions and opening to its constructive potential may in itself be healing. Changing our limited awareness on the mind's generative capabilities could be the key to growing stronger mentally and physically.

Source: LynneMctaggart
Photo credit: / flickr creative commons

 
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