I could talk hours about the power of the mind. It is the most capable weapon we as humans have. All the good and the bad that derives from it, when taken into perspective is absolutely fascinating. This is something that I believe 99% of people do not understand. The human mind is a vast landscape, capable of incredible feats, and yet it is so often underestimated and underutilized. In this post, I want to touch the tip of the iceberg and set off on an educational and individualized examination of why the mind is so powerful, revealing its limitless potential and illuminating how it influences our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
The Mind’s Creative Prowess
The first part of our investigation takes us on a journey into three parts in which I believe it all starts. It is the world of imagination where we discover the amazing power of the human mind’s capacity for creativity. That is why my children fascinate me with the things they come up with. All children, when allowing them to be children are absolute experts in this. However, we as adults condition it away for the most part. Yes you can argue that, because it is adults who give way to all the things I talk about below including the people I use as references, however, that is for another post. Nonetheless, the ability to use our imagination distinguishes humans from other species on earth and is one of our most distinctive and defining traits.
The mind’s capacity for imagination and creation is one of its most amazing features. Just think about what we as humans have created – priceless paintings, symphonies, and timeless epic tales that endure the test of time. The childhood stories that live on and on. Our mind is what conceives. Imagination drives innovation. It is in our minds that we as humans advance in the fields of art, science, and technology. Everything you use, from WiFi, to internet to flying on an airplane to go on vacation. We take everything for granted, but someone imagined it. It is the driving force behind every groundbreaking discovery, every revolutionary invention, and every leap of progress humanity has made throughout history.
Think of Sir Isaac Newton, a great physicist who transformed how we perceive the cosmos. It wasn’t just a coincidence that an apple hit him in the head; rather, it ignited his sense of wonder and inspired him to develop the theory of gravity. Newton’s curious intellect created a picture of the cosmos that showed how interrelated all celestial bodies are to one another. By allowing his mind (and for that matter) our minds to wander beyond the confines of the present, we open ourselves to a world of possibilities and insights. Embracing imagination nurtures a culture of curiosity and exploration. This spurs critical thinking, encouraging us to question the status quo and challenge conventional wisdom.
Visualization is a potent technique that athletes, performers, and successful individuals employ to achieve their goals. I use it frequently especially when it comes to endurance related activities. Our brain stimulates similar neural pathways as if we were physically completing an action or succeeding in a particular pursuit when we vividly envisage doing so. I now you may think that is odd, however, the power of visualization has massive effects on the human brain and it’s potential. This phenomenon is known as “mental rehearsal.”
I remember reading an article a while back in a magazine about Michael Phelps. Before entering the pool, the Olympic swimmer would mentally practice his races innumerable times. He used his imagination as a canvas to paint the ideal strokes, turns, and finishes.. His imagination had already prepared the path to success when he finally took the Olympic stage. I believe that if you visualize regularly the things you want to accomplish, that you too will shift your neurons to the point where your mind conceives it. I do this in my endeavors, whether it is running or my business ventures. Conceive it, and visualize it as if you were already there.
Our outlook on life can be shaped by the power of the mind. Positive thinking can significantly improve our success and well-being. When we adopt an upbeat outlook, we widen our doors to fresh prospects and opportunities, which propels us toward success and contentment. I’ve talked about this fairly often here, and by this I do not mean to push out and ignore negative feelings (I’ve said that as well). It is important to shift the focus on the mind to the opportunities that are ahead of us. Imagine it, conceive and visualize it and think about it positively.
Take the story of J.K. Rowling, the visionary author behind the Harry Potter series. She persevered in her belief in her writing and the universe she had built despite obstacles in her personal life and rejections (12 publishers rejected her work!). She finally rose to fame as one of history’s most successful authors, winning millions of hearts with her enchanted tales thanks to her optimistic outlook and perseverance.
The Mind-Body Connection
Now that we have touched the basis of our brain (and only the tip of the ice berg) I want to move on to the mind-body connection, which is a profound and complex interaction that illustrates how our mental and physical moods are inextricably linked. It emphasizes how our ideas, feelings, and attitudes can have a big impact on our general health, affecting anything from our immune system to how quickly we recover from disease. We have the ability to actively influence our health outcomes and encourage healing through the use of what I mention above – positive thinking, visualization, and stress reduction strategies like mindfulness. Recognizing the crucial role our brains play in forming our experiences, promoting resilience, and guiding us towards greater harmony and optimal health are just a few benefits of embracing the mind-body link. It allows us to take a holistic approach to our well-being. The three areas that affect this is what I want to dispense below.
The Placebo Effect
The mind possesses an astonishing ability to influence the body, demonstrated most notably by the placebo effect. This occurrence happens when someone receives a treatment that has no therapeutic properties but yet improves their health because they have faith that it will work. I have read countless studies out of interest (from all spectrums – NLM, or pre-prints or journals) and personal reasons for a variety of topics. And often times the placebo effect is absolutely astonishing.
Numerous studies (I have listed a few in the footnotes) have demonstrated the strength of the placebo effect, showing how the mind may reduce pain, strengthen the immune system, and even enhance motor skills. It draws attention to the mind’s role in healing and implores us to acknowledge the close relationship between mental and physical health. I am consciously aware of my own body and its potential. When I utilize the belief of the placebo effect and manifest my minds strength, then it often surprises me as to what is possible and how. I don’t always have an answer, even when I do my homework, but again this is about the power of the mind, perhaps a bit of faith.
The Impact of Stress on Health
Now I am not saying that stress should be avoided at all costs. Stress is and always will be part of our lives. I have gone days without sleep because I chose to work, for whatever reason. However, stress is a great illustration of how the mind can have a negative impact on the body. Chronic stress causes our brains to release hormones like cortisol, which can worsen immune system weakness, digestive disorders, and cardiovascular diseases, among other health concerns. The “fight or flight” response, which prepares the body for action, is an instinctive reaction that our ancestors developed to deal with imminent threats. The pressures of today’s society (in my view), however, frequently differ from those experienced by our ancestors (is my best guess), resulting in chronic stress that can be harmful to our health. Again, short bursts of stress can be beneficial in certain situations, but prolonged exposure to stress can lead to a range of health issues. And I do believe that this is one of the greatest factors that lead to mental deterioration and illness. Regardless of whether you are an actor or in college. This is what opens the mind to weird stuff and awry inputs that influences us. This is where the mind-body connection (research in the field of psychoneuroimmunology) comes into play.
What I have come to learn over the years is that understanding the mind’s power over our well-being empowers us to adopt mindfulness practices, meditation, and relaxation techniques. Something I wish I would have done or understood at a much earlier age, but as the saying goes – “in hindsight you are always smarter”.
The Mind’s Role in Recovery
The power of the mind to heal extends beyond the placebo effect and includes true physical recovery. Patients have demonstrated rapid healing in different medical situations when their brains were actively involved in the healing process.
One fascinating study found that patients who underwent surgery and were encouraged to imagine the healing process recovered more quickly and had fewer issues than those who did not engage in such visualization exercises. This exemplifies how using the power of the mind in conjunction with medical therapies can improve patient outcomes. Now imagine how powerful we as a society would be if we wouldn’t be fed social media junk all day, but rather walked around our cities seeing motivational quotes on a consistent basis. That is what I would do as a politician. Start at the fundamental stage of mental strength and feeding the mind with goodness.
The mind’s role in healing and recovery is a testament to the remarkable interplay between our mental and physical states.
The Subconscious Mind
We can’t comprehend the power of our minds if we do not comprehend the subconscious as well. At least as much as we do. The subconscious descends into the darkest recesses of the mind. Deep insights, creativity, and transforming skills lay dormant here, in the corners of our thoughts and feelings, waiting to be discovered and activated. The subconscious mind, often veiled from our conscious awareness, is a powerhouse of untapped resources that influence our perceptions, behaviors, and responses more than we may realize. It is the reservoir of our deepest memories, emotions, and beliefs, silently shaping our reality and influencing the paths we tread. That is why I want to touch on three areas you need to think about as well, when it comes to understanding the power of your mind and your journey to becoming resilient and unstoppable.
I know this sounds like some drug, However, the untapped potential of the subconscious mind can be accessed in part through what is called lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming is when the dreamer is conscious that they are dreaming and is able to control and actively influence the dream’s events. Have you ever been on that level? And I don’t mean with drugs. The potential to examine the subconscious mind, face phobias, and acquire understanding of our deepest aspirations can be done through lucid dreaming. We open a universe of creativity and self-discovery by teaching our minds to detect dream states. And the biggest problem I face is the fact that I am an adult.
Children possess remarkable abilities to tap into their subconscious minds through this extraordinary phenomenon. I’ve read a lot about the development of a child’s brain and for example “theta waves” (also look into REM). Through studies, children, who are lucid dreamers possess a unique awareness that they are dreaming, and as a result, they gain the ability to take control of the dream’s narrative and outcomes. Research suggests that young children, especially those between the ages of 6 and 13, have a higher likelihood of experiencing lucid dreams compared to older individuals. One theory posits that children’s minds are more flexible and open to imaginative possibilities, making it easier for them to recognize and control their dreams.
I won’t go into much more detail on this, because it is a very deep subject in and of itself, however, imagine the possibilities if we could consciously be unconscious through lucid healing – embracing the potential, from emotional healing to heightened creativity and self-confidence. I know I did not dispense anything in concrete. The only thing I can say so far is through meditation and warm showers from time to time. Reaching theta is amazing.
Reprogramming the Mind
The mind is so easily susceptible to programming. We are conditioned from a young age to believe certain things. Whether that is based on family values, our culture or the country we grow up in. However, I personally believe, through experience, that anything can be reprogrammed, including our brains. And it starts on a subconscious level, consciously.
One way is through positive sentences that we repeat to ourselves as affirmations. This help us change our mental patterns and strengthen empowering beliefs. We can rewire limiting ideas and establish a solid foundation for personal progress by regularly supplying our thoughts with positive information. Hence, get rid of all the social media, tik tok crap.
For example, a person with poor self-esteem can assert, “I am confident and capable in every aspect of my life.” These affirmations gradually permeate the subconscious mind, transforming one’s negative self-perception and promoting confidence. Its obnoxiously true. I challenge you to do it.
Subconscious in Everyday Life
Whether you know it or not, the subconscious mind is essential to our everyday experiences. Have you ever made a choice that seemed to be made on instinct or without much thought? The subconscious is at work there. These intuitive hunches are often the result of our subconscious mind processing vast amounts of information in a fraction of a second. It’s true. Our brains are excellent pattern-recognition machines that are continually examining our environment and memories for cues and signals that we are familiar with.
The subconscious mind shapes our behaviors in ways we might not always be conscious of, from forming fast judgments based on previous experiences to improving our talents through constant practice. The process through which we pick up new knowledge and skills without making a conscious effort is called implicit learning, and the subconscious mind is a master at it. Over time, we become second nature at things like riding a bike, typing on a keyboard, or playing an instrument because our subconscious mind has assimilated the required movements and actions via continuous practice. We take so many things for granted in life that you probably have never thought about this. Oddly, these are things that go through my mind consistently as I try to unlock the power of my (our) mind.
I’m not a scientist in a traditional sense, I’m just some guy who believes humanity needs to tap back to our fundamental roots of what was ingrained in us – our minds. I could go on about subliminal messaging, emotions and memory processing, but for the sake of this post, I want to spur thought about the overall power of our mind. Making you aware of a few areas you need to be consciously conscious of. I say that on purpose.
Again, we simply touched on a few areas I believe need looking into if you fully want to begin transforming the mind. There are more areas, but it’s a fundamental start to understanding how you can unleash your mighty mind. I continue to shape my mind every day, some better than others. The mind is a phenomenally potent force, a powerhouse, that has the potential to sculpt our world, affect our well being, and direct our course through life. I love how it works and what it is capable of, from watching my children to seeing the creativity in my wife to finishing my triathlons. The mind’s potential is absolutely limitless. Therefore, I want us, together, to set out on this voyage with renewed zeal (as a reminder to myself as well) and a firm conviction in our limitless potential.
To your success. Stay DMC!
- Kaptchuk, T. J., Friedlander, E., Kelley, J. M., Sanchez, M. N., Kokkotou, E., Singer, J. P., … & Lembo, A. J. (2010). Placebos without deception: a randomized controlled trial in irritable bowel syndrome. PLoS One, 5(12), e15591.
- Schwartz, J. M., & Begley, S. (2003). The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force. Harper Perennial.
- Phelps, M., & Abrahamson, A. (2012). No Limits: The Will to Succeed. Free Press.
Seligman, M. E. P. (2006). Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life. Vintage.
- Benedetti, F. (2013). Placebo Effects: Understanding the Mechanisms in Health and Disease. Oxford University Press.