I’ve emphasized the concept of Mental Rehearsal on numerous occasions so I want now to expand on that concept and talk about the importance of mental imagery.
Several studies have shown that the brain does not know the difference between what it is thinking internally and what it is experiencing in its external environment. If you and I have worked together, you may remember that I had you imagine biting into a lemon. And as I described biting into a lemon to you, most of you experienced more or less saliva in your mouth and your jaws clenched. Some of you even smelled the lemon even though I never give scent suggestions.
Your body does not know the difference whether you eat a lemon or imagine eating it. Your body starts producing the same chemicals as if it is real. The same is true with stress. When you are literally being chased by a tiger your body had a stress response that allowed you to out run the tiger. Today, you probably aren’t literally being chased by a tiger, but you are dealing with work, relationships, raising children, paying taxes and stuck in traffic. Your body is producing the same stress reaction as if you are being chased by the tiger. This prolonged stress is toxic to your body.
The mental imagery that you use can either leave you in fear and anxiety or allow you to live your life calm, joyful and filled with love.
The daily practice of the Greatest Expression of You process
is your mental and emotional weight lifting.
Make physiological changes with your thoughts
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has clearly proven that you can change your brain just by thinking differently. In one study, people that never played the piano were divided into groups. The first group physically played one-handed finger exercises like scales and cords, and as a result of the new activity, their brains changed. The before and after results of the fMRI brain scans showed new areas of the brain activated. Not only did they make a new mind, new brain circuits flourished.
When a second group was asked to mentally rehearse the same scales and cords in their mind for the same amount of time, they grew the same amount of brain connections as the group who physically demonstrated the activity. When you are truly focused and attentive, the brain does not know the difference between what is happening in your imagination and what is happening in the external world.
According to the fMRI brain scans in this experiment, the subjects that mentally rehearsed were so inwardly focused that their brain did not know the difference between the internal and the external world. They were activating their brain in the same way as if they were actually playing the piano. In fact, their brain circuits strengthened and developed in the same area of the brain as the group that physically practiced. (Modulation of muscle responses evoked by transcranial magnetic stimulation during the acquisition of new fine motor skills)
Other research has proven similar results not only in the brain but in the body as well. These tests have shown that there is a genuine mind-body connection — in fact, the mind changed the body.
In another study, subjects who were asked to do a finger exercise against the resistance of a spring over the course of four weeks for an hour a day showed a 30 percent increase in muscle strength. This was to be expected. The second group never lifted a finger. They mentally practiced the same activity for the same length of time and demonstrated a 35 percent increase in muscle strength without any physical activity.
This research is significant because it clearly showed that the body as well as the brain changed before the experience of really pulling the spring. Without touching the spring or physically doing the exercise, the body was stronger to reflect a mental effort not a physical effort. These two studies show that physical changes can occur by your thoughts, your intentions, and your meditations. (Mental Power to Muscle Power: Gaining Strength by Using the Mind)
Hold your left palm up towards you. Mentally number your fingers: forefinger 1, middle finger 2, ring finger 3 and little finger 4. Now look away from your hand and touch the finger with your thumb in the sequence 4-1-3-2-4. Practice this several times, without looking at your hand and always in this order: little finger, forefinger, ring finger, middle finger, little finger and so on.
The instant you start to do this, the synapses in the movement part of the right half or your brain accelerate their firing. If you were connected to an fMRI, it would show that extra blood is flowing to fuel the increased firing of synapses.
As I have repeatedly said, neurons that fire together, wire together. If you keep repeatedly having thoughts of anxiety and feelings of fear, you live with fear and anxiety. When you mentally rehearse calm and love, you will live with calm and love. You are sculpting your brain and learning a new way of being.
The daily practice of the Greatest Expression of You process is your mental and emotional weight lifting. You are making physiological changes with your thoughts. It builds and sculpts your brain to be the strong, powerful positive force that allows you to be your best self. You can live your life calm, joyfully and filled with love. You can achieve your goals and improve your health and well-being.
One year later
It was one year ago on March 20, 2016, that I began this series of posts on Becoming the Greatest Expression of You. Now, one year later, this is the 47th post I’ve written on this subject. I thank you for your support, your questions, your input and your suggestions. Your contributions have helped this process to develop and become even more effective. Please keep sharing with me how this Greatest Expression of You process has benefited you
Click on the button below to read all of the Greatest Expression of You posts
Your Hypnosis Health Info Hypnotic Suggestion for today:
I live my life calm, joyfully and filled with love.
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