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Fundamentals of the
Mind-Body Connection

The information you give your subconscious, the images you feed it will play a big role in determining the results of any endeavor. If you program your mind for failure your body will inevitably fail. Great athletes all know about this connection between their mind and body. Techniques have been developed to train their minds as well as their bodies. Four basic skills help you through the tough times of performance and they are: relaxation, concentration/ focus, visualization, and power phases. (Brungardt 18)

There are many benefits to be derived from relaxation. It reduces stress and rejuvenates the body. It is necessary for effective visualization. The two basic relaxation skills are: controlled breathing and progressive relaxations. This portion of the newsletter will address controlled breathing and the other skills will be presented in future publications. (Brungardt 18)

Controlled Breathing
One way to achieve a relaxed state is by concentrating on your breathing. My grandfather use to say, "whatever you do Mark, don't forget to breath", I would laugh and think that this was something that just came naturally. I found by working with my patients and athletes and my own experiences, that some of their lack of performance or wellness was due to stress related to improper breathing techniques.

Let's start with sitting or lying down in a comfortable position and focus on your inhalation and exhalation. Just recognize its quality and any difficulties, irregularities or tension for about one minute. Then start inhaling and exhaling at the count of five for each, until you experience a pattern that is smooth and regular. Then focus on the feeling of air coming into the lungs as a white light or mist. Imagine it being transported to every cell of your body. Every time you breathe out, let out all the tension and negative thoughts and feelings you might have as they are leaving your body. Each time you breathe in, imagine that this white cleansing breath is purifying and energizing your body.(Brungardt 18) "The best breath is that of slow, smooth and quiet, just as quiet as a baby's breath."

Continue this process until you feel a release of muscular tension, a decreased heart rate, rhythmic, calm breathing, and a feeling of being centered. The term "centered", is a state of mind and body when muscular tension is eliminated and the mind is empty of distracting thought. Focus is directed on the moment, allowing you to concentrate solely on the task at hand. (Brungardt 18)

Remember these techniques are to be practiced and drilled. They become to the high performance athlete or executive as second nature. They are the pre-shot routine to the professional golfer, the Olympic athlete, you're CEO, or retired bank board member. One of my mentors, John Wooden always said, "Repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition, and repetition" where the five process that established competency of skill.

Brungardt, Mike. The Complete Book of ABS Proper Training Technique: The Mind. Expanded. New York: Villard Books, 1998. 18. Print.

Progressive Relaxation  Will be the subject of the next newsletter

Dr. Mark May

Please review the prior letter as a reminder of your new goals setting project.

Goal Setting and Planning for Success

To accomplish your aspirations you must have a goal. A picture of what you would like to accomplish and a time frame in which it is to be completed. Write these goals down. Remember --- a goal is not a goal unless it is written down. Be complete as possible and read them every day. Read them on days you're exited about your plan, but especially read them on days when you're dragging. Read them out loud.

It is useful to have long-term, intermediate, short-term goals, and daily tasks. (Brungardt 17-18)

Long -term Goals: Having a picture of what you want to accomplish a year from now. Find a picture of your goal and keep it with your written versions.                                                    

Intermediate Goals: Set six month goals and set these standards high. Great improvements can be made in this period.

Short-term Goals: Write down what you need to accomplish in a month. Keep in mind that you must update these goals monthly keeping in mind the end result you want in six months and in a year.

Daily tasks: Set at least two goals for the upcoming day. For some it may be better to plan for the entire week at the beginning of the week. These goals should be aimed at helping you achieve your overall goals. Be specific, you should include not only what the task is but also when the task is to be completed.


Brungardt, Mike. "Proper Training Technique:." The Mind. Expanded ed. New York: Villard Books, 1993. Print.


Look for in the next Newsletter: The basic skills of the Mind-Body Connections.


Dr. Mark May

Introduction Newsletter from Dr. Mark.

In a monthly or Bi-monthly format, I will be presenting a newsletter on health and wellness. It will include topics such as: exercise, diet and nutrition, vitamin supplements, women and men's health concerns. All articles will be from researched literature and medically accepted sources. Those include:

Mayo Clinic Health Letter
Men's Health Advisor and Heart Advisor, Cleveland Clinic
Harvard Heart Letter, Harvard Medical School
The Standard, edited by: Thomas G. Guilliams Ph.D.
Strength and Conditioning Journal, the profession Journal of the National Strength and Conditioning Association, NSCA
The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, official research Journal of the NSCA

Also I will be presenting healthy food related articles from an advocate of health lifestyles, Cathy McMahon. Cathy will share in the Newsletter recipes for healthy low sugar, healthy low fat, and low caloric food choices.  

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