You Are What You Think and Why Our Thoughts Are So Important

A few years ago I was researching the work of Dr. Ellen J Langer PhD (who is professor of psychology at Harvard University) and her beliefs that by mental rejuvenation, physical rejuvenation follows closely behind. I personally have had similar experiences in a less scientifically controlled environment.

I'm sure you all remember the film Cocoon where a group of elderly people were given an inner rejuvenating force that transformed their lives. Fantastic though it may seem Dr. Langer scientifically reproduced this by asking her control group of Octogenarians not reminisce but to be as they were at a time in their lives when they were full of energy and younger. They then lived for a while in a nostalgic sensory-rich environment, where soon after, they began to transform gradually.

At first glance it may seem that this was simply reminiscence and getting into the spirit of things. It was however much more fundamental than that as the scientific results taken at the time proved. Not wishing to fill this article with the scientific findings (interesting though they are) the point is that a set of belief patterns were changed and physical change took place.

My experience was somewhat different during my time as a music therapist in the 1990's. I was consulted by a residential home to help the residents and engage them. Two of these residents stand out in my mind and confirm Dr. Langer's hypothesis. Under patient confidentiality I can not use real identities, so these cases are explained using fictitious names although the facts are the same.

Ann, 78, had social anxiety and short-term memory loss. She did not interact with the group and spend her days looking out of the window seemly running down the clock. I engaged with Ann because of her love of music and over a period of three months we worked on the social anxiety which I found to be linked to the death of her husband and abandonment issues. I organized a regular music nostalgia event which in time she helped organize. She began to engage with the other residential members forming a friendship and her short-term memory loss all but disappeared. Visibly she rejuvenated as her favorite music coupled with the organizational responsibility bestowed upon her seemingly linked past memories into present day living.

Allan, 86, had mobility problems, memory loss and mild depression. He was a scientist during the second world war working on radar and when I first met him all he wanted were newspapers, the more the better. Like Ann, Allan had abandonment issues with his family visiting just once a year around Christmas time and he was very resentful about this. Similarly, Allan had a love of music but reading was the catalyst to his recovery.

At the time I was involved in Mindfulness research, especially pyschoendoneuroimmunology (mind-body healing) One of the primary modern day exponents of this is Jon Kabat-Zinn. Jon Kabat-Zinn is a Professor of Medicine Emeritus and founder Director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. (Formerly, Jon was a student of Zen Master Seung Sahn and a founding member of Cambridge Zen Center)

I introduced Allan to Mindfulness which inspired him to such an an extent he began to study Buddhism and Yoga. Allan's progress once engaged in this new area of ​​study was simply amazing. He began to move more and after six months helped other residents with a regular Yoga group. He died aged 104 a couple of years ago, back in 1990 it was unquestionably he would have reached 90. I was invited to his 100th Birthday where 18 members of his family attended as he walked unaided to receive an honorary doctrine which 10 years earlier was unthinkable.

I have studied hundreds of cases of rejuvenation, unexplained remission from life threatening conditions and miraculous healing. Almost all of them have one thing in common, vision. They all used the power of their mind and an envisioned state.

The same applies to negative thoughts. The cliché "you are what you think" is actually quite profound. This is why it is really important to consider what you think and how you envision yourself, because your thoughts can over time become reality.

I sincerely hope you might stay on this article and do some research for yourself. You have it in your power to fundamentally change yourself in tune with your mind. Great thinkers of the past have always known this and none of what I have said is new, simply relabeled.

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