The connection between what we think and how our body responds has once again surfaced in the results of a recent study published this week in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology and featured in a blog by Jacque Wilson in CNN.com Health.
From Wilson’s blog “Researchers with the University at Buffalo asked 98 undergraduate males to rate how much they like and /or were familiar with Batman or Spider Man on a scale of 1 to 5. Participants who scored a 4 or higher were said to have a “parasocial” relationship with the superhero- i.e. a one- sided psychological bond. Those who rate less that 2.5 were put into a control group.”
These undergrads were then shown a photo of either a bulked up Batman/Spider man or a photo of a scrawny Batman/Spiderman. They were then asked their mood (how they felt) and their strength was tested with a hand-held dynamometer.
Those undergrads in the parasocial group (familiar with the super hero) that were shown the bulked up photo of Batman/Spidee were found to have more strength than those who were shown the photo of a scrawny superhero or those in the control group.
The results from this study, sync with my own experience as a masters track athlete; not that I read comic books instead of doing track workouts. But I have found that keeping the “trash” out of my thought (fear & stress) and focusing on qualities, like discipline, kindness, sportsmanship combined with quite moments of prayer leads to new personal bests.
For me this same approach works well when it comes to maintaining health.
So the question that health professionals and researchers might consider is not, is there a link between consciousness and health/ performance, but is there any limit to the power of thought?