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This week we are going to take our awareness inward. 

Of course, this doesn’t mean to forget about the slow eating without distractions. It is still the foundation for our nutritional strategies. 

How is that going for you, *|FNAME|*? Please reach out to me or your class if you are struggling with this or have any questions at all.

But today, we introduce the “Jedi Breath.”

What if I told you that just one single breath holds the power to have life-changing effects??

What differentiates the Jedi from a Storm Trooper? Wizards from Orcs? Or top athletes from amateurs?

Is it talent? Sure, to some degree.

Intelligence? A little bit.

Hard work? No question.

Luck? Don’t count on it.

The biggest factors that distinguish the elite from the rest..

Mindset and mental strength.

"It is a matter of continuing to climb no matter how uninspired you feel. When there is nothing left to push you physically, you rely on your psychological strength and abilities."

—elite Mount Everest climber

Guess what??! 

We can train our minds just like we train our bodies. 

This is known as mental skills training. This week, we’re going to work on becoming mental ninjas; one breath at a time.

But first, let’s look at why this is important.

The power of mindset

To your brain, thinking is reality. 

You use the same brain centers to imagine things as you do to actually experience them.

For instance, if you imagine a song, you’d use the same parts of your brain that would actually hear the song if music were really playing. If you imagine the color yellow, you’d use the same part of your brain that would actually see the color yellow if you were looking at a daffodil.

In the early 1990s, a group of Italian scientists wired monkeys’ brains with electrodes to examine the activity in a region of the brain called the premotor cortex, an area that helps plan and initiate movements. One day, after lunch, one of the researchers ate an ice cream cone in front of the wired-up monkeys. To the researcher’s surprise, the monkeys’ brains started firing — as if the monkeys, too, were eating.

As the scientists discovered, when we observe people doing things, our brain responds as if we, too, were doing the same things.

The same applies to imagination. 

What we think, observe, and imagine becomes “true”.

Thinking, observing, and imagining affects our behavior and our bodies.

For example, think of what happens when you:

- watch your favorite team play an exciting game

- imagine something bad happen to a loved one

- watch a horror movie

Notice how your body reacts: your heart beats faster, you start sweating and feeling excited or anxious. It’s as if you were kicking that winning goal or running away from the guy with the axe. But you aren’t really doing so. The feelings are real, but you’re not actually experiencing the events yourself.

Your mind is powerful.

What you think, you feel. And what you consistently feel, you become.

If you consistently visualize succeeding, surround yourself with images of success, and interpret all actions through a “success filter”, you will eventually succeed. Setbacks become “learning experiences” and “growth opportunities”. Failures become “life lessons” or at the very least a funny story you’ll get to share later.

If you focus on being a problem-solver, someone who meets challenges with resilience and creativity, that’s what you will be.

Conversely, if you focus only on “failures” (whatever you imagine that to be), your body and behavior will respond. You’ll feel demoralized and paralyzed — you’ll feel stuck and hopeless. You’ll see everything (even achievements) through a “failure filter”.

You are in charge of your mental environment — your thoughts and mental images. 

You are in charge of the road you travel, and the means of transportation.

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