”Mind over matter is simply the use of willpower to overcome obstacles. Sometimes the one thing stopping us from achieving our goals or pushing past struggles is our mind. Our mind can be our best friend or our worst enemy”
Mind over matter is a phrase that essentially refers to one’s ability to use willpower over physical limitations. While it was originally used to explain phenomena such as Telekinesis and other Paranormal constructs, it actually has a real-life meaning as well. The mind, in of itself is capable of accomplishing infinite limitations brought on by the environment. The limitations whether they be physical or mental hinder us from reaching our full potential. Therefore, it is important for us to believe that we are nothing less than powerful in our determination and grit to succeed.
While we often think of our bodies and minds as two distinct entities, it turns out they are much more entwined than we might assume. Researchers are continually finding evidence that the brain has a distinct power to manipulate the body’s physiology. As these examples show, the mind/body connection can work in our favour or detriment, depending on our knowledge of a situation and our ability to control our thoughts.
Drying Sheets:- Judging by their ability to meditate for hours on end, to abstain from food for days, and their vows of silence, most us would agree that Tibetan Monks have better control over their minds and bodies than the average person. Still, what’s particularly amazing is some of them can control physiological processes, such as blood pressure and body temperature – feats many medical doctors find astounding.
In one of the most notable exhibits of their skills, a group of Tibetan monks allowed physicians to monitor the monk’s bodily changes as they engaged in a meditative yoga technique known as g Tum-mo. During the process, the monks were cloaked in wet, cold sheets (49 f / 9.4 c) and placed in a 40 f (4.5 c) room. In such conditions, the average person would likely experience uncontrollable shivering and would shortly suffer hypothermia. However, through deep concentration, the monks were able to generate body heat, and within minutes the researchers noticed steam rising from the sheets that were covering the monks. Within an hour, the sheets were completely dry.
Although, the display was fascinating to the doctors, for the monks it was an ordinary occurrence. In fact, new monks use g Tum-mo as a way of proving their meditative strength and hold contests to see who can dry the most sheets in one night.
The Buddhists say the heat they generate is a byproduct of the meditation since it takes energy to reach a state of an alternate reality – a place unaffected by our everyday world.
Placebo Effect:- A placebo is an inert substance or belief which produces real biological effects in humans. It’s so widely accepted as fact that a placebo variable is included in most medical tests as a way of proving if, say, a drug works on its own merits or because people “think” it works.
Curiously, researchers have discovered the placebo effect is somehow getting stronger, and some drugs that have been on the market for years, such as Prozac, are now proving less effective than placebos. Naturally, this is a major issue for big pharmaceutical companies, which has left many scrambling to conduct neurological studies in an effort to come up with new ways to safeguard their industry from ordinary sugar pills. Incidentally, Big Pharma is currently more profitable than Big Oil, so there’s quite a bit at stake.
Nocebo Effect:- While placebos are generally associated with positive outcomes, like curing an illness or getting drunk on O’Douls and having fun (if you consider that positive), the nocebo effect produces negative results, such as a cancer patient vomiting before chemotherapy starts or someone breaking out in a rash because they thought they touched poison ivy, even though it was merely an ordinary plant.
One of the most talked about examples of the nocebo phenomenon was an incident published in “New Scientist.” According to the account, late one night an Alabama man, referred to as Vance, went to a cemetery and met up with a witch doctor who told Vance that he was going to die soon. Believing the witch doctor’s prediction, Vance soon fell ill and within a matter of weeks was emaciated and close to death. Vance was taken to the hospital but the medical doctors could find nothing wrong with him. Finally, Vance’s wife told the physician, Dr Doherty, about the encounter with the witch doctor, which gave the creative physician an idea. The next day, Dr Doherty told the couple he had tracked down the witch doctor and physically threatened him until the medicine man finally admitted he had put a lizard inside Vance that was eating him from the inside. Of course, the Doctor’s story was completely fabricated, yet he made a big show of injecting the patient with a mysterious substance and snuck in a genuine, green lizard that he pretended to extract from Vance. The next day, Vance awoke alert, hungry, and it didn’t take long before he fully recovered.
Apparently, that story was corroborated by four other medical professionals, and is often cited when explaining why VooDoo sometimes works (i.e. not because of magic, but because of the nocebo effect).
Block Out Pain:- Jack Schwarz, a Dutch Jewish writer, also lived in horrific conditions while forced into a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. Like so many others, he was beaten, starved, and tortured beyond what most of us can comprehend. To cope with his situation, he began the practice of meditation and prayer, which he developed to the point where he could block out the pain of his torment and subsequently withstand his situation.
After his release, Schwarz continued his mind over matter practice and occasionally demonstrated his skills by putting a long sail-maker’s needle through his arm without injury. He also displayed his ability to regulate his body’s blood flow by causing the puncture hole in his arm to bleed or stop bleeding at will. Schwarz was studied by researchers at the Menninger Foundation who found that he could indeed control many of his bodily processes with only his mind. Furthermore, through an electroencephalograph, they determined his brain had different electrical activity as compared to most other test subjects. According to Schwarz, he could also see people’s auras, which allowed him to gauge their physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental conditions.
Positivity and Meditation:- Undoubtedly it’s difficult to keep a positive attitude when you’re facing a life-threatening disease, but, based on a variety of medical studies, doing so may mean the difference between living and dying.
For example, in 1989, Dr David Spiegel of Stanford University conducted a study on 86 women with late-stage breast cancer. Half of those women received standard medical care while the other half were given weekly support sessions in addition to the standard medical care. During the sessions, the women shared their feelings, talked with other patients, and generally had a positive outlet where they could cope with their illness. At the end of the study, the women in the support group lived twice as long as those not in the group. In 1999, a similar study found that cancer patients who have feelings of helplessness and hopelessness have a lower chance of survival.
In recent years, David Seidler, writer of “The King’s Speech,” claimed to have eliminated his cancer through meditation and imagination. After battling bladder cancer for years and only two weeks away from surgery, Seidler decided to see if he could get rid of cancer through his imagination. He admittedly thought the idea was a little “woo-woo,” but by that point, he figured he had nothing to lose. So, he spent the two weeks leading up to his surgery envisioning a clean, cream-coloured, healthy bladder. When Seidler went in for his pre-surgery biopsy, the doctor was stunned to find a distinct lack of cancer – he even sent the biopsy to four different labs for testing. While Seidler believes his visualization were behind cancer’s disappearance, his doctor labelled it a “spontaneous remission.”