In "Mind Over Matter: Mental Training Increases Physical Strength" (pdf), we learn of some astounding research. The study "tested whether mental training alone can produce a gain in muscular strength." The answer? Yes!
Here's the research method:
Thirty male university athletes, including football, basketball and rugby players, were randomly assigned to perform mental training of their hip flexor muscles, to use weight machines to physically exercise their hip flexors, or to form a control group which received neither mental nor physical training. The hip strength of each group was measured before and after training. Physical strength was increased by 24% through mental practice (p = .008). Strength was also increased through physical training, by 28%, but did not change significantly in the control condition.
Research has shown that mental rehearsal is almost as effective as physical practice in improving performance. Many great athletes have used mental rehearsal to improve success; the science has proven what they already knew.
But here is a piece of research looking not at performance but at strength! Mental training can improve strength. Is that not exciting?
What other improvements can we make by thought alone? I am sure we will learn more and more about the power of our mind—and soon.
How might you use mental rehearsal as a person helping others to resolve disputes? How might you use mental rehearsal to resolve your own disputes? And, maybe most important, how might you recommend to clients—or use yourself—mental rehearsal to avoid future conflict? Think about it.
And please let me know your thoughts.
Note (added January 7, 2008, 8:15 AM Mountain): On a related note,