T Nation

What The Mind Perceives...

Pain is a series of neurons firing to warn of possible danger. Some of us are far too sensitive to these warning signs. Some of us have trained ourselves to ignore these signs to the point that our minds are tougher than our bodies.

Is it bad to ignore pain? Sometimes, like when I severed a tendon in my wrist doing clean and jerks with the thick bar and then proceeded to do a 650 pound tire flip for three sets of six. Other times, it has been good. Like when doing farmers walk with 225 pound implements for distance and everything aches and hurts but you cross that line and then your body knows it can do it. When the doctor offered to do a nerve block from the shoulder down, I declined. Why? If I can push it, I will do it. I need to feel pain, if I don’t feel pain, I will hurt myself.

Two weekends ago I watched Joe, with only a belt on, squat 495 he was about an inch below parallel and paused at the bottom for two to three seconds. Front desk Doug (dweeby guy who thinks a 175 front squat is a great accomplishment) says to me, “I don’t think he is that strong, I just don’t think he feels pain.” I just give him that I’d like to ring your scrawny neck look and he says, “Well um the more weight you put on the more it hurts.” I say, “I can take a lot of Fucking pain and I’ve never been able to squat 495.” Dumbshit Doug says, “Yeah you have a high tolerance for pain.” I said, “Hey Doug” and fart. 'Nough implied.

My high school football coach used to say, “What your mind perceives your body achieves.” I was brainwashed into believing that and I still believe it today. My girlfriend has a habit of saying, “with my luck?” and something bad always follows that line. She is one of the most successful people I know yet she truly believes that bad things happen to her more than the next person. I believe that is partially due to the fact that she speaks it. It probably started as a joke and grew.

Did you ever notice the people who concentrate on pain, notice pain more? Those same people also have a lot of medical problems. We are all as susceptible to medical problems, I believe that we can create changes in our body with our mind. Our bodies follow our thoughts. Our thoughts and emotions are both created by chemicals and cause chemical reactions.

Therefore, even if you believe it just a little bit it creates a chemical reaction. If you speak it you have just poured a little concrete on that thought and after weeks or even as long as years those chemicals make pathways to the brain that guide our bodies to places most of us would rather not be. Or do we want to be there?

I keep reading articles by Dan John and hearing this message that we are where we are because we want to be there. He tells a story about his football team that was loosing games they should have been winning. He comes to find (through personal interview with each athlete) that the positives of loosing out weighed the positives of winning. The positives included, sympathy from girlfriends and parents, no more grueling practices, in the cold of winter, when the playoffs were missed. So, in some unconscious effort they were throwing games. Obviously these positives were short sighted.

If I say that I want a 500lb. Squat, yet I squat once a week with out a plan and I do no accessory exercises and my diet is lackluster, do I really want a 500lb squat? How does this relate to pain? If I constantly fret about the little bumps and bruises and I notice every pain that my body feels and I read about all the diseases I can contract and my doctor and his nurses know me by my first name. I may want something bad to happen. Why? Maybe I?m in need of attention and this puts me at the center of attention. Maybe I need something to talk about and complaining about my health problems is easier than doing positive things and talking about them. Maybe I need excuses on why I can?t do things. Are you starting to see why feeling pain is a positive in some people?s lives? The more you feel pain, the more pain you will experience, the more negative chemicals will be produced, the more likely you are to have medical problems.

Remember when I said the positives of the football players loosing were because of short sightedness. Well having long-term goals, believing they can be achieved, and going after them with attitude, can stop some of these fantom pains. I don?t think having goals alone is enough. You have to believe you can achieve them and you have to have an attitude that you won?t give up no matter what. That is another article.

I have nothing profound to add top this thread, I just wanted to state that I agree 100%. Funny how all of the negative people I know are the one’s who seem to have bad stuff in their lives all the time. It’s all about what you CHOOSE to focus on. And as for myself…? Yeah, deep down, I think most of us can admit that a lot of our problems are of our own creation (or at least the lasck of a solution is our fault.)

I also have to say

[quote]mdragon wrote:
Sometimes, like when I severed a tendon in my wrist doing clean and jerks with the thick bar and then proceeded to do a 650 pound tire flip for three sets of six. [/quote]

…wow. Tougher than me.

I totally agree. I remember some quote, I’m about to mangle it but it was basically “the body is always willing to follow the mind.”

Thanks for the positive feedback.

I honestly did not even feel it.