Sunday, July 23, 2017

Beliefs, cells and bodies

A friend told me a couple of years ago to read "The Biology of Belief" by Bruce Lipton.  I read some of it.  The author is a PhD cell biologist who has tried to extract guides for his life and thought from his knowledge of cells and the body.  I am going to go through the book again.  I am confident that our minds can do things for us and with us that we underestimate and even forget about.  

The best book I have read on the mind leading the body is "Cure" by Jo Marchant, PhD.  One of the two outstanding mind feats done scientifically that I read about involves athletes being told they had been given a drug that would enhance their performance when they hadn't been.  They did better believing their bodies had been affected. That effect is not too surprising when I consider the typical experience of the little red-headed girl showing up in the stand.  When he spots her, Charlie Brown's sharpness rises, his muscles gain strength, and he hits the ball out of the park.  We can work with this idea in various ways, such as informing Charlie that the little red-headed girl has arrived in the parking lot and will be in soon.

Several of the many sources mention mental practice which includes imagining going thru all the motions of dribbling and shooting a basket without a ball or a basket - just imagining.  Some good evidence says that careful mental practice improves performance.

The Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer pulled quite a feat.  She observed that hotel room staff did quite a bit of exercise in each room that they cleaned and freshened.  She measured their caloric expenditure.  Then, she held a meeting with them and explained that while doing their daily work, they were getting a pretty good workout.  She advised them to think of their services as exercise.  Then, she measured their caloric expenditure again and found that thinking of their activity as exercise resulted in an increase of caloric consumption per hour.   

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