When I used to run Flojo’s Easy Detox group courses we would usually try this brilliant muscle testing exercise round about week four or five and it was always huge fun to see people’s faces turn from showing cynicism or nerves – nobody ever liked to get on their feet and try stuff out – to sheer amazement and huge smiles! So I’m sorry I can’t do this exercise with you because I got a real kick out of seeing that transformation. Maybe you could tweet me your before and after pics…
You need a partner for this; can you go grab one? It’s fun, I promise…
- Stand upright with one arm stretched out in front of you at about 90° to the floor with your palm facing downwards.
- Without straining see how much resistance you have to your friend using the palm of their hand to push your hand down towards the ground. Easy huh? Try it again – no straining, just try and keep your arm stuck straight out.
- Now swap over and do the same for your friend.
- Next think of something or someone that makes you feel really happy and inspired. It could be a loved one, an experience or a place. Whatever makes you smile and feel good. Put yourself right there with that person, doing that thing you love, or just being in your happy place using your sensory imagination as richly as you can. Stick with it for a moment or two. (Some people find this bit easier with their eyes closed.)
- Repeat steps 1 – 2 and make a note of the change in your resistance before you swap over and let your partner have a go.
- Now think of a person or experience that really makes you miserable. Let yourself revel in your misery or anger at the situation for at least a minute and repeat steps 1 – 2. Note the change in your resistance and then swap over.
- Finally, do the breathing exercise that I gave you here. Spend at least a minute on it (you’ll need to talk your friend through it when it’s their turn) so that you feel really calm and grounded.
- Repeat steps 4 – 5. How awesome is that?
“Are you some kind of witch? How did you do that?” Karen
(Please note that once in a blue moon someone will over think this exercise which makes the test fairly inconclusive. Laugh it off, have a glass of water, relax and have another go.)
What does this exercise tell you? I think that the most important thing to consider is the context under which you carried out this test. Presumably you did each step in the same room, with the same friend with no apparent external changes. All that made the difference was your imagination. One mind-set made you physically stronger and one made you physically weaker. You can start putting this knowledge into practice straight away. Think happy thoughts when you exercise (you’ll achieve far more than if you try to do it with a “screw-you-all” or an “I’ve-got-to-get-rid-of this-belly” attitude) and do your breathing exercise when you feel compelled to reach for a packet of biscuits.
I find that changing my mind-set even makes a difference when I play piano. If I’m cross with a situation I make more mistakes; if I picture people I love while I practice my fingers work better, my playing comes more easily and my performance is more sensitive. As an added bonus – once I start to play better I become happier and so this simple change to my attitude effectively detoxes my mind from negative thoughts, making my physical activity far more rewarding. Challenge yourself to change your outlook whenever you are finding an activity difficult in the same way that you might switch the radio from the news to cheerful music while you are doing the housework. And next time you are struggling with lifting weights – practice! Picture the person you love most in the world, in the place that makes you happiest, doing the thing that inspires you the most. Then drop me a line and thank me!