Milkshakes and Mindsets

Xperience Growthblogposts

A little over 10 years ago, researchers at Columbia University were interested in studying our mind-body connections. Specifically, they wanted to know what effects, our thoughts, emotions & beliefs – i.e. our mindset – have on our bodies.

So they did something super fun! They made milkshakes! They wanted to see if drinking an indulgent labeled shake – one that was said to have 680 calories – would trigger the satisfaction of being full more so than the sensible labeled shake – which was said to have only 140 calories.

The team found milkshake fans & split them into two groups. One group received the indulgent labeled shake, the other group received the sensible labeled shake.

Of course after drinking the shakes, the indulgent drinkers were more full than the sensible shake drinkers. How did the researchers know this? They didn’t just ask them… They ran a blood test and noted ghrelin levels of the indulgent shake drinker steeply declined vs their baseline before the shake.. It’s the hormone ghrelin that is chiefly responsible for our sensation of hunger. The more ghrelin present, the more hungry you feel. Conversely, those that drank the sensible milkshakes didn’t report a drop in the hormone, thus their bodies told them they were still hungry.

Here’s the catch… ALL the shakes were the same – 380 calories. The only difference was the label, which made the participants THINK they were drinking something either sensible or indulgent. It was the participants’ MINDSET that made the difference in how their bodies reacted to the shakes, not just the nutrients of the shake itself. The shake drinkers’ beliefs actually influenced the “hunger hormone.” Their bodies reacted based on their mindset.

The major takeaway is that our beliefs & mindsets about what we’re doing affects our biological response. It’s scientific proof of how much our mindsets affect us.

Let’s extrapolate. If you believe that you’re no good at something, say public speaking, and if you were to speak in public, what would happen? Our bodies would produce hormones associated with fear, which would trigger our natural fight, flight, freeze responses. With those hormones coursing through our nervous system and brain, how well could you POSSIBLY perform when speaking in front of people?

On-the-other-hand, if you believed that speaking in public was fun or a benefit to the audience or any other positive mindset around the scenario, what would be happening in our bodies? Anabolic hormones associated with growth and healing would be present. With those hormones present, how much better would your performance likely be?

Working on our mindset is crucial to our success. Let’s be clear, it’s not the ONLY area that affects our performance and ultimate outcome, nor does all stress negatively impact us. Yet, we cannot be our best if we are not continuously improving our thoughts, emotional responses and beliefs in ways that help us achieve our goals.

As you go through your day, check in on your mindset. Are the beliefs you’re bringing to the activities, relationships, problems you face throughout the day keep you from more easily doing your best? Or, does your mindset set you up for success?

Let’s raise a glass and toast to our renewed efforts to enhance our mindsets. What are we drinking? Milkshakes, of course!!