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Just Think!

If you doubted the power of mind imagery to change your physical state take a look at this report in Scientific American Mind (May 2012). Amputees who experience phantom limb pain can get relief from an optical illusion. This trick involves looking in a mirror at the reflection of a healthy limb from a certain angle, which causes it to appear where the missing limb should be. Seeing the limb move freely fools the brain into relieving the pain. 


Thinking of something else is a time-honored method for coping with pain. Indeed, psychologists have demonstrated repeatedly that what you think about can modulate the pain you experience. People using binoculars to view an injured hand reported greater pain in the hand when it was magnified and less when the binoculars were reversed and the hand was minimized. The size of the image affected the pain.


Until now scientists did not know how exactly that effect plays out in the body. In a study published in Current Biology, neuroscientists have found that distraction does more than merely divert your mind; it actually sends signals that bar pain from reaching the central nervous system. 


If we can control pain just by thinking differently then imagine what effective mental imaging can have in all areas of your life. The idea of visioning achieving your goals has been around for a long time but rarely has hard science been so precise in backing up these ideas.   


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