Mind Over Matter: Positive Thinking May Have Real Physical Effects

Ms. Koko Vercessi-Clarke, Editor-in-Chief 

Image Courtesy of Deviantart.net

Image Courtesy of Deviantart.net

So you’ve heard the saying, “think and it shall become” but what does this actually mean? Does the idea that your mind has the power to create and change your reality actually have any basis in fact and statistical evidence?

There have always been people who have told you that your brain has the amazing ability to create its own reality based on your thoughts and regular thinking habits and patterns, so how exactly does this work and how can we use it to our advantage? The definition of the statement “Mind Over Matter” is one that refers to the ability of thought processes to influence our physical reality.  UCLA scientists and colleagues from the California Institute of Technology have collaborated to complete studies that show humans can regulate the activity of specific neurons in the brain. According to the UCLA Newsroom our brain can “increase the firing rate of some [neurons] and decrease the rate of others”. If our brain has the ability to exert its control over which neurons fire and when, this means that it can choose what we focus on and “override the visual reality”.

Perhaps the best example of the power of the human brain to manipulate and create our own visual reality is what is known as the Placebo Effect. According to Dr. Mercola, “A placebo is an inactive treatment or substance, such as a sugar pill or sham procedure, that looks and feels just like a regular medical treatment. Patients receiving a placebo generally believe it is the same as the typical standard of care, and many experience what’s known as the “placebo effect” – an improvement in symptoms – even though they received no actual “active” treatment.” In patients with certain ailments or injuries, studies have shown that just the belief that a pill has the ability to heal and repair your body can have the same effects as if the patient actually had taken a pill with the ability to bring about this healing medically. This is because the brain is tricked into believing in this pill and its abilities and therefore it tricks your body into healing normally as if the pill’s effects were really at play.

ScienceDaily reported out about a study done at Baylor College involving patients with knee pain and osteoarthritis where 180 patients with knee pain were randomized into three groups. One group had torn or loose cartilage removed, the second group underwent arthroscopic lavage (the bad cartilage is flushed out), and the third group underwent simulated arthroscopic surgery where small incisions were made, however; no instruments were inserted and no cartilage was removed from these patients.

Dr. Bruce Moseley, a clinical associate professor of orthopedics at Baylor, recruited all the patients in the study and performed all surgeries both real and placebo. According to the study, “During two years of follow-up, patients in all three groups reported moderate improvements in pain and ability to function. However, neither of the intervention groups reported less pain or better function than the placebo group. Indeed, the placebo patients reported better outcomes than the debridement patients at certain points during follow-up. Throughout the two years, the patients were unaware of whether they had received real or placebo surgery.” The Placebo Effect is evidence of the mind’s power to create a tangible reality for our body.

The idea that we have the ability to create and manipulate the world around us and change the quality of our experiences based on the positive or negative nature of our thoughts can be both empowering and scary. It empowers many and equips them with the means of making what we can out of life’s diverse and unexpected situations; it is our choice to think of and react appropriately to produce the outcomes that we seek. The thoughts that we choose to give power to are the thoughts and mantras that decide what we manifest in the world around us with which we interact.

This type of positive manifestation and harnessing of our thoughts in order to serve us is known as The Law of Attraction. Dr. Neil Farber, a writer for Psychology Today wrote that “The law of attraction is the belief that the universe creates and provides for you that which your thoughts are focused on.” This principles of this law rest on the belief that “like attracts like” and that your mind has the ability to think, believe, and therefore create the desired and positive outcomes you seek in life. The idea that we attract what we think about the most and manifest in our mind can be explained once you understand the relationship between the conscious and subconscious mind. According to The Law of Attraction.org, the conscious mind is logical, intelligent, and is in charge of deciding what you want and how to get it. The subconscious mind on the other hand is more powerful, but it takes orders from the conscious mind. Its power lies in its ability to learn by repetition. If your subconscious mind encounters the same thoughts being repeated, either negative or positive, it has the power to belive that this thought or pattern is important and should become true, therefore it will make it part of your reality.

Image Courtesy of Godhealings.com

Image Courtesy of Godhealings.com

So if our mind has this much power to create and shape individual realities of our own manifestation and choice, why is it that we can’t see this power and these results present in the world today? What is stopping people from harnessing this incredible power and using it to change their lives just by changing the way they think? The answer lies in the fact that humans have gotten caught up in the world, its doubts, our fears, our own negative thoughts, these have become normal and we are at fault. Our subconscious mind has listened to our consistent negative thought patterns and it has crafted the reality it believes is the truth and the one we want based on what we have devoted our time to. We have wasted time thinking about our deficiencies, faults, worries, anxieties, and expressing negative emotions like jealousy and bitterness and so this is what our minds have become accustomed to as normal. In order for life around us to change, we have to first change our thinking habits and patterns. Once we change the way we think and choose to react to certain situations, we can start changing our quality of life, the opportunities that we create for ourselves, and the positive change we want to see in our lives.