“Tension is part and parcel of what we call the mind. Tension does not exist by itself, but is reflexively integrated into the total organism. The patterns in our muscles vary from moment to moment, constituting in part the modus operandi of our thinking and engage muscles variously all over our body, just as do our grossly visible movements. If a patient imagines he is rowing a boat, we see rhythmic patterns from the arms, shoulders, back and legs as he engages in this act of imagination. The movements…are miniscule”.
The above quote is from Edmund Jacobson–the founder of Progressive Relaxation and a self-proclaimed neuropsychophysiologist. In simple terms, he studied how thoughts affected people somatically. To conduct research in his self-defined field, he developed a device called the neurovoltmeter.
When a subject was completely relaxed, Jacobson would attach a very sensitive string to the person and tell them to imagine doing a movement, which most often produced a readout on the machine.
While so many live disconnected from themselves–the body from the mind–the body doesn’t move without conscious effort; and Jacobson showed us that we can train the neurological pathways that help us successfully complete a task without actually doing the task. It’s amazing stuff.
So before you pull that next deadlift, or take a swing at that next tee shot, visualize yourself completing it successfully. In fact, visualize for months leading up to any important physical performance. Your mind-body connection will be stronger and your performance, with all other things held constant, will be better.