Home Health CHERYL A. MAJOR: How Your Mindset Can Make You Physically Stronger

CHERYL A. MAJOR: How Your Mindset Can Make You Physically Stronger


Cheryl A. Major is a volunteer contributor to WestfordCAT News. Email news to [email protected].

You don’t believe that simply changing the way you think can have a big impact on your life or your accomplishments?

I admit it’s a somewhat abstract concept to think that just being more positive or more driven can attract more good things to you, or that focusing more on the good in your life can make you happier.  But, what about a demonstration to show just how powerful the mind is? What if the brain could make you considerably stronger, simply if you change the way you think?

Have You Ever Heard of Hysterical Strength?

Hysterical strength is a term used to describe historical examples of people tapping into incredible physical power. The most common story is of mothers who have managed to rescue their children from being trapped under cars or some other heavy object. In these scenarios, the mothers were able to call upon some kind of superhuman strength and manage to physically move the cars out the way. How is this possible?

While it’s never been proven, there is actually a good scientific explanation for how it might work, and there is some evidence to support it.  We are normally only capable of accessing approximately 30 – 50 percent of our muscle fiber. When exercising or going about our normal routines, we can’t use 100 percent of our strength because we would risk injuring our ligaments or exhausting ourselves. You can see the power of that 100 percent in action though when someone experiences an electrical shock – this causes the muscles to contract to their fullest which is enough to throw a person right across the room!

Under times of incredible stress or in life-and-death scenarios, it might just be that the brain is able to tap into those hidden depths. This would work because of the release of stress hormones like cortisol, adrenaline and perhaps other neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine. Together, these could improve communication across the neuromuscular junction, to “recruit” a greater number of muscle fibers…thus allowing an individual to access their full strength.

Putting it into Action

In theory then, you could gain more strength simply by imagining your family trapped under a car. If you could really believe it, you might be able to access enough of your hidden strength to break your own records at the gym.  There are easier ways to accomplish this, according to research.  Yelling at the top of your voice actually triggers a small stress response; studies have demonstrated this can be enough to help you gain a little more strength during lifts!

While this is good to know, I don’t expect your gym or your gym-mates would appreciate you experimenting with this interesting theory.

Cheryl A Major lives in Westford and is a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant. Her TV show Thin Strong Healthy airs on WestfordCat and is an offshoot of her blog http://ThinStrongHealthy.com   Cheryl offers ongoing information and personal health coaching to help you feel better and be healthier.  Follow Cheryl on Twitter @CherylAMajor.  She is also a full time residential Realtor with Coldwell Banker with more than 25 years experience.

 Questions?  Email Cheryl at [email protected] and be sure to put Health Question in the subject line.  Your question and its answer will be included in a future article.