In an experiment conducted at New York University researchers asked volunteers to perform a task which involved words usually related to old age. Such as ”grey”, “wrinkled”, and “bingo”.
Another group were shown different words, not related to old age. The researchers then told the two groups that the experiment was over, but in reality, it had just begun. As the two groups left the room, the researchers secretly timed their progress down the long corridor to exit the building. And lo and behold - those who had cast their minds eye over the words associated with old age took noticeably longer to leave the building.
The Power of Positive Thinking
Commenting on this experiment in New Scientist magazine, psychologist Richard Wiseman (great name) says: “it seems that just a few moments thinking time can prime you to perform either better or worse than normal at both mental and physical tasks”. He goes on to add: “maybe some of those self-help gurus are onto something”.
Imbibing Words of Wisdom
Indeed. A far better conclusion than that reached by the author of SHAM: How the Gurus of the Self-Help World make us Helpless. The author of this droll and self-righteous little tome loves to dish the dirt on Anthony Robbins et all. Seek and ye shall find. If you’re looking for dirt, you’ll find it somewhere. But, what if self-help literature really does pep us up, encourage us, and offer some positive association from an author focused on moving through life in an upward direction?
Ultimately it’s up to each and everyone of us to take care of ourselves, but isn’t it nice to have some encouragement along the way? You can use your discrimination to accept or reject what you read, if you find it helpful, that’s your choice.
I can remember books that helped me out of a dark spell over 20 years ago, at a time when I felt I couldn’t talk to anyone about how I felt, so I read the words of someone who seemed to understand, and eventually I moved on. Reading can be a very dignified and private way to associate with a mentor.
I’m not bothered whether The Secret is really a secret, I’m concerned with whether or not it helps some of us in thinking responsibly and with care about our actions and interactions. And it does. So I accept it as useful in the field of personal development.
Your Words and Your Body
The cells of your body are subordinate to the commands sent to them by your mind. If you focus on your aches and pains, for sure, you’ll feel them in excruciating detail. If you focus on showing your body some appreciation with a stretch or two, or a regular walk, you’ll feel fit and bendy in no time.
If you’re having an off day and you read something inspiring and dwell on it a while, you can raise your mood. If you practice talking to yourself positively, you can support yourself and keep moving forward.
Living by design means taking care of your self-talk. What are you telling yourself today?