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Is it possible to think yourself thin?

By Marcus Santer

Got a hot one for you today…

Last night whilst waiting for my eggs to boil I was flicking through the website: Bad Science

Bad Science is the type of website I’ve started visiting more regularly to help bring balance to my research into proven methods to stack the odds of a:

Life in your favour.

And I stumbled across an article called: Think Yourself Thin

It reports the work of researchers Alia Crum and Ellen Langer from Harvard psychology department.

Stick with me because the experiment they did gave some powerful results you can use to help you easily – and I use that word deliberately – increase the results you’re getting from your ZEN+ practice.

Here goes…

They worked with 84 female hotel attendants from 7 different hotels.

The attendants were cleaning an average of 15 rooms a day.

During the cleaning of each room they did 30 minutes of:

In other words they were getting a lot of physical activity.

Yet interestingly when the researchers interviewed the attendants 66.6 percent of them reported not exercising regularly.

36.8 percent reported they didn’t get any exercise at all!

Which just goes to show how misunderstood exercise is.

Moving on.

Before the researchers introduced their intervention, they measured the:

  1. Weight
  2. Body fat
  3. Body Mass Index (BMI)
  4. Waist to hip ratio
  5. Blood pressure

Of each attenedant.

Interestingly whilst all attendants were doing a similar amount of physical work, those who perceived they didn’t exercise regularly or percieved they didn’t’ exercise at all performed worse in these measurements.

And that’s the first gold nugget of today’s ZEN+ Daily.

Because research proves perceived health is a better predictor of death than actual health.

Straight up.

That’s why it’s important to gently remind yourself you’re doing something good for your health – whenever you’re doing something good for your health.

And so on.

Because your perception becomes your reality, as you’ll see in a moment…

Back to our hotel attendants:

The researchers split the attendants into two groups:

Group 1 – Got a 4 hour presentation telling them how much exercise they were getting whilst doing their job. They were given information showing how many calories each activity they did was burning. They were also exposed to posters that reinforced how beneficial their work was as exercise.

Group 2 – The other group didn’t

4 weeks later the researchers measured everything again.

The results?

Group 1: Now perceived they did more exercise than before <== No shock there. Group 2: Nothing changed <== No shock here either. Even though both groups were doing the same activity. And here's the incredible part, so pay close attention:

“…amazingly, despite no change in actual exercise levels, in the intervention group, simply being told about the value of what they were already doing caused a significant change for the better on every single one of the objective health measures recorded: weight, body fat, body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio and blood pressure.” – Dr Ben Goldacre

That my dear ZEN Beast is proof of the power of perception.

And you can harness this power by engaging your mind when practicing ZEN+ lifestyle habits.

So every time you:

And so on…

Actively tell yourself you’re helping your body to be healthier, fitter and stronger.

Because what you perceive to be the truth will become your reality.

To get started on a ZEN+ Lifestyle read my book:

==> ZEN+ The Art and Science of Living Healthier for Longer <== Bye for now Marcus P.S. I’m happy to report no critter scratching action happened last night…

Reference:
Crum, Alia J., and Ellen J. Langer. “Mind-Set Matters Exercise and the Placebo Effect.” Psychological Science 18.2 (2007): 165-171.