While there’s a lot of talk about the power of the mind, you’d be forbidden for wondering whether much of it has any concrete, scientific basis. The great news is that there really is compelling evidence of the mind’s power to affect physical change—and it may be more significant than you ever expected.
In this fascinating AsapSCIENCE video, Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown explain (in just under three minutes) how simply thinking can actually change important things about the brain’s structure.
For example, if you close your eyes and think really hard about what a particular object looks like, the parts of your brain that light up are the same parts that light up in response to seeing the actual object!
The video offers some handy exercises you can try in order to tune into the connection between your abilities in the physical world and your brain’s imagination, helping you understand that imagination and action are more intimately bound together than is initially obvious.
In addition, you’ll learn about an amazing experiment involving a group of people who practiced a physical skill while another group only practiced that skill in their minds—who do you think performed better after the study was over, and what differences do you think might have been seen on their brain scans? The answers may surprise you!
The major take-home message here is that although it’s vital to get out there and practice the things you care about, there’s a lot you can accomplish by just sitting and concentrating on a clear mental image of the relevant activity. In both cases, you’re affecting your neurons at a microscopic level!