Q: Got any Constricting Beliefs? How can you change the words you speak to re-set your limits?
The words you speak and the way you walk matters. Ellen Langer, in “Counterclockwise”, demonstrates through her 1979 research experiment where elderly participants in their late seventies were told that all their interactions and conversations would reflect that it was 1959—that they would ACT AS IF they went back in time. All the magazines they read, the music they heard, and the movies they watched reflected this.
“Testing the men before and after, Langer and her team discovered that “On many of the
measures, the participants got ‘younger.’ The experimental group showed greater improvement
on joint flexibility, finger length (their arthritis diminished and they were able to strengthen
their fingers more), and manual dexterity. On intelligence tests, 63 percent of the experimental
group improved their scores, compared to only 44 percent of the control group. There were
also improvements in height, weight, gait and posture. Finally, we asked people unaware of
the study’s purpose to compare photos taken of the participants at the end of the week to
those submitted at the beginning of the study. These objective observers judged that all of the
experimental participants looked noticeably younger at the end of the study.”
All of those results were after ONE WEEK.
It makes you wonder: If the mind has that much power over the body in such a short period of time, what else is possible?
We need to take control of our minds to free ourselves from our limiting beliefs. Our past experiences, the way we talk to ourselves, and the way we carry ourselves prime our physical reality. We can influence the barometers of our happiness and health by changing our thoughts. One thought at a time, little by little, we can improve.
What’s one little step you can take today to take control of your mind. Your journaling “to be” list is a great place to start. reaffirm your identity for the ‘Big 3’ areas of your life: energy, work/school, and your relationships.
Placebos are real. Langer says,
” Placebos often come in the form of a single word that captures a richer mindset. In one study I
conducted with my students, we explored the mindset most of us have regarding excellent vision
air force pilots have. All participants were given a vision test. One group of participants were
then encouraged to role-play “air force pilots.” They dressed the part and, in uniform, sat in a
flight simulator. They were asked to read the letters on the wing of a nearby plane, which were
actually part of an eye chart. Those participants who adopted the “pilot” mindset, primed to have
excellent vision, showed improved vision over those who were simulating being in the simulator
and simply asked to read an eye chart from the same distance.”
Imagine that. Simply imaging you’re playing the part of a pilot improves your vision.
Philosopher, Brian Johnson reflects that “in his classic The Inner Game of Tennis (see Notes), Tim Gallwey tells us that one of the best ways to get your mind right and improve your tennis is to simply act the part of a great tennis player. Move the way he or she would move, act with that confidence, invite those qualities in that you admire. And, voilà. Your performance goes up. Very much like our make-believe pilots and their vision, eh?”
Langer dedicates an entire chapter to the power of words and how easily our behaviors can be changed with simple primes. For example, you can give people a crossword puzzle that has
words associated with old age and they will walk more slowly to the elevator following the study than those who were not primed.
Here’s another fascinating study (the book is “packed” with them): Imagine testing Asian women on math. The stereotype of Asians is that they are good at math. The stereotype of women is that they are not good at math.
Get this: If you prime Asian women to think about their gender as women, their math test scores will drop. If you prime them to think about their ethnicity as Asian, their scores will soar.
Begs the question: With what are you priming yourself throughout your day?!
The placebo effect is real. We can make our own placebo by talking to ourselves a certain way, carrying ourselves a certain way. We need to prime ourselves to act how we want. The alternative is letting outside circumstances determine how we act. Create your identity, and behave in a way that serves you. Stand tall, walk with confidence, and you will become how you act. It’s a subtle change but the way you frame words makes a huge impact on your performance!
So, as an athlete, what are your restricting beliefs?
Let’s go! Take one baby step today to controlling your mind. Use your mantras, journal, set times throughout the day to meditate and reflect on who you CAN be!
#2. Take Responsibility —> #Mantras, #PowerPose, #LimitingBeliefs