Use Mind Power to Control Involuntary Body Functions
Many books have been written about the mind-body connection.
Many studies have demonstrated that people can learn to control
involuntary body functions consciously, using just their minds.
Unfortunately, so much of the research and writings have been
challenged on the one side, and exaggerated on the other, that
many of us are justifiably skeptical of claims for this kind
of "mind power."
How much control can we really have over our bodies using
the power of our minds? Why not find out? Try simple and safe
experiments, like the ones suggested below.
Mind Power Over the Autonomic Nervous System
My mother was studying yoga when we were children. She taught
me and my brothers how to relax and enter a meditative state.
We found that while in this state, we could "order"
the blood to flow to one arm or the other, causing a noticeable
increase in the warmth of that arm. Our little experiment was
the first time I realized how much control our minds really can
have over our bodies.
We often assume that where our blood flows and how our hearts
beat are outside of our conscious control. This is partly true,
because a person can't necessarily choose right now to change
his heart rate or blood flow, or brain wave frequency - if he
has never done this. However, by practicing the right techniques,
all of these involuntary body functions can be consciously controlled.
Want a simple example? You probably know that pupils get bigger
automatically when it is dark. However, they also get larger
when you see something you like, or vividly imagine something
you like. This means you can quickly learn to control your pupil
size with your mind. Watch your eyes in a mirror and see what
happens when you imagine someone you like, your favorite food,
or anything you would like to see.
With a vividly imagined scene or thing you desire, your pupils
quickly grow in size. Imagine different things to discover which
work best for you. Soon you should be able to consciously change
your pupil size at will. Larger pupils are a sign of receptivity.
It is picked up unconsciously by the person in front of you,
who senses that you like him or her. This will often make him
or her feel similarly towards you. Other uses for this trick
that are beyond the scope of this article.
Use Feedback to Develop Mind Control
Biofeedback machines monitor perspiration, heart rate, and
breathing, and have been used to learn how to control many normally
involuntary body functions. Of course, if you don't have one
of these expensive machines, you have to find other ways to get
feedback. In the pupil experiment above you have instant feedback
by way of the mirror.
For heart rate feedback, take your pulse, or have someone
else do it. To speed up your heart rate using your mind, imagine
stepping on a nail that goes through your foot. The more you
develop your imagination, the better this works. Test your pulse
before and then during this exercise in imagination. This trick
is used by some to beat polygraph machines (lie detector tests),
by consciously increasing both heart rate and perspiration during
the "control" questions.
Meditators can often slow their heart and relax at will. Practice
is needed, as is feedback, so you know you're doing something
right. You probably won't know exactly what you are doing to
slow down your heart or relax your muscles, or increase your
body temperature - even after you learn how. This is okay. You
learn to ride a bicycle by trying and practicing, but in the
end you're still not able to explain to someone how you actually
use your muscles to balance. In a similar way you can learn mind
control over many body functions if you have proper feedback.
Would you like more physical energy? Caffeine or other drugs
may help, but this is area is also susceptible to mind power.
You have probably noticed how talking about something you are
passionate about "wakes" you up. Real chemical changes
happen. With a vivid imagination, some people find they can get
the same effect by imagining such a conversation. A more extreme
example is creating a flow of adrenaline - normally an involuntary
body function - by imagining a fight with a wild animal, or whatever
gets you going.
There are clearly many ways to use the power of your mind
to control the autonomic nervous system, or "involuntary