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Recent research shows how dramatically even the simplest thoughts affect the body.
Most people are aware of the fact that pupil size changes according to the amount of light or darkness in a room or area where we are looking. However, scientists have now discovered that this change also occurs by simply imagining light or darkness.
In a study published in the Psychological Science journal by researchers at the University of Norway at Oslow, scientists have reported that the change in pupil size may not be a mechanistic response, as previously thought. Instead, the fact that the pupils change simply by thinking of light or darkness suggests that it may actually be a neurological response.
In the study, participants were put through a series of experiments. Subjects were first asked to look at a screen showing triangles of varying brightness while their pupil size was measured using an infrared eye tracker.
Next, the participants were asked to repeat the exercise, but this time they were required to simply imagine the triangles. Researchers found that subjects’ pupil size changed based on which triangles they were imagining. This showed that the brightness of an object is stored in a person’s memory along with how the object is shaped.
This reaction applied not only to objects but also imagined situations. Pupils of subjects who imagined entering a dark room for example, would expand as though they were actually entering the room.
Researchers hope this will give them insights to the thoughts of patients suffering from severe neurological disorders. However, you should also apply this fact to your own life and so some experiments of your own. Namely, begin to notice the relationship between your thoughts and your body’s reactions.
There is a direct relationship to the way you feel physically and your thoughts? Can you catch this relationship in action? Most of the time, we notice a physical symptom, then don’t backtrack it to the stressful thoughts from whence it may have originated.
When you do track it, however, you can often reverse the symptom by changing the thought, or the structure of the thought, as we are fond of teaching in NLP.
In NLP, we’ve always known that what you think is not nearly as powerful as how you think. For example, you can imagine a larger-than-life, close up, dynamic and looming Tyrannosaurus Rex. This would probably excite or scare you – and you’ll feel it (even if subtly). Or, you can think of the exact same T-Rex as a small, still, postage stamp-sized object. In this case, you’ll probably have little emotional response.
In both cases, you are thinking of a T-Rex. In one example, the image is large, close and looming in your mind’s eye. In the other case, the image is tiny and still. How you are thinking of the T-Rex is what makes all the difference.
In NLP, we all these thought qualities submodalities. Every kind of thought, whether visual, auditory or kinesthetic (feelings) has certain qualities that determine how you will be affected. Most of our troubling thoughts are much more troubling than they need to be because of how we are thinking, not what we are thinking.
There are dozens of submodalities to explore and for each person, there are calming, soothing submodalities as well as submodalities that bring on pain and angst. These patterns are subconscious most people who haven’t learned NLP, but they are worth learning, as science is demonstrating.
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