Your thoughts about yourself affect your physiology

Do you think you burn a lot of calories? Think you are fit?
 
Those thoughts may be the result of reality. They also help create reality. 
 
I am talking about the power of thoughts. You may recognise that what you think influences your mood and behaviour. When I have a positive thought about someone, I feel happy. I may do something nice for the person. 
 
The effects of thoughts on our mood and behaviour are old news to psychologists. New findings show more amazing effects. In one study, psychologist Alia Crum told a randomly selected half of a group of hotel cleaners how many calories they burned doing their work every day. The truthful number was high. Cleaners in that group lost about a kilogram of weight in the next month. The other cleaners did not lose weight.
 
Another study, described recently in New Scientist magazine, examined aging. Psychologist Ellen Langer asked a group of older folks to act as if they were 22 years younger during a retreat. Langer made the retreat setting look and sound as it would have 22 years before. There were no mirrors; instead there were photos of the participants taken about 22 years before. The results? The participants showed improved IQ scores, better posture, and less arthritis than before. 
 
Other studies show that individuals who view aging positively live several years longer than those who do not. I want those extra several years. 
 
What do these findings mean for you and me? Be careful of what you think about yourself. If you think of yourself as old and frail, you help make yourself so. If you think of yourself as unfit, you may help make yourself unfit. 
 
Take the most positive view you can of yourself. If possible, think of yourself as capable, productive, vigorous, mature, etc. If you look for supporting evidence, you may find it. Create the reality you want. 
 
I see signs of aging in myself — glaucoma, slowed reactions on the tennis court, and so on. Reading about these studies has led me to recognise my good vision and my occasional quick reactions. It has also led me to seek improvements in these areas of life, rather than expecting declines.
 
I see many students held back by lack of confidence in their abilities. A self-injection of postive thinking can do them and all of us a world of good.
 
 

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