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Thinking Your Way to Vibrant Living
By John Abdo

© 2012 Nightingale-Conant Corporation

The beginning of all vibrant, healthy living starts with mental conditioning, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and everything else will proceed.” You have the kingdom right inside you, right inside your brain; it’s right inside the mentality of every person. I firmly believe that who you are today, how you look, how you feel, your status in life, your successes and your failures, have been from what you’ve thought. And what’s proceeded from that is what you’ve said, and then after that is what you’ve done, your actions that follow those thoughts. It comes down to thinking, saying, and doing.

So the objective is to get healthy thinking, healthy saying, and healthy doing all congruent with one another, and that’s how I believe great things are manifested in life. To think it, say it, and to become a doer. I’m a doer and you’re a doer, and this is what we want to accomplish.

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When it comes to the power of the mind over the body, it’s literally incredible. The mind influences the entire body. In fact, every cell in the body has a connection to the mind and brain. What we’ve learned through science is that even our organs communicate with the brain. Some common phrases like “You broke my heart” or “That makes me sick to my stomach.” We have center organs and center cells in our bodies that hold emotion, that hold thought. Those phrases literally can come true.

But when you train your brain to clean up the negative emotions that aren’t just in your mind but that are being harbored throughout your entire body, you become healthy. I call it “the rotten apple analogy.” You could have an apple that was originally something that you thought was good get toxic inside your body. And when it gets toxic, it literally starts to play havoc with the whole system.

Thinking has to start with you. This is something that you do for yourself. And a lot of times we need to control our thinking because what we hear, what we see, what we experience, what we feel, controls how we think. So we are exposed to radio, TV, newspapers, websites, magazines, other people’s chatter, our own chatter. This is how we form our thoughts. And our thoughts form our beliefs, and our beliefs are who we say we are and who we eventually become.

So, how do healthy people think? First, healthy people think that they’re healthy. Healthy people love the world, love other people. Healthy people know that their brain is in control of their body, that their mind is in control of their matter. It’s mind over matter, and your body is that matter.

And what we have found, at least in the sporting industry, and even in the business industry, is that affirmations and meditations are so advantageous to allowing each individual — and then how it permeates into the whole team or corporation — to improve. Why? Because it all started in the kingdom, and the kingdom is in your brain.

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So let’s start there. Let’s start with mental fitness, and let’s know that this is where our health, our longevity, our appearance and performance benefits really begin. So we’re going to think great things, we’re going to say great things, and obviously we’re going to go out, and we’re going to do great things at the same time.


Healthy people have a mindset that their days revolve around energy. We are energy individuals, energy organisms, if I may say. So each day is almost like you’re going to the bank, you’re going to make a deposit, and you want to yield a return. Everything that a healthy person does is for a return. Love, for instance: We give love; we’re supposed to give love back. The law of mutual exchange. “Cast out what ye shall receive.” It’s the law of cause and effect.

It’s incredible how what we think becomes us. When we start to think on a healthy basis, internally the body automatically starts to become healthy. Because what we’re doing is, we’re sending healthy, positive signals to our body. When we don’t think healthy, it’s usually out of things like guilt, jealousy, bitterness, anger, and especially fear. The body is in a state of constriction. When the body is in a state of constriction, we experience symptoms like hypertension. Our circulation of blood, oxygen, energy, our breathing, our heart rate, all get out of balance. When we start to think healthy, we are starting to send these signals to our bodies that we are healthy. And how many motivational thinkers say, “Fake it until you make it.” So start thinking it! And believe it, because you’re going to convince your body because you are in control of your body, not your body in control of you. You are going to start making your body feel that “Hey, we’re going to a party. We’re having a great time. We are becoming healthy.”

Athletes especially do visualization techniques. From seated in a chair, lying down, even standing up, they close their eyes or they visualize their body in their actual performance environment. They see the crowd, the spectators, the coaches, the officials. They see the athletes. They see their feet, the ground that they’re standing on. They see their entire environment. They see everything that surrounds them. They’re totally in tune with their physicality. Everything that surrounds their body. And at the same time they’re totally in tune with the opposition.

So now they know how they need to train their bodies, to become an adaptational creature to conform to the environment. Because what are sports? Sports are a struggle. But the great thing about a great sporting event is when the team or the athlete wins the competition, they’re the ones who fought through the battle, won the war because they’re the ones who obviously struggled the best. And that’s the great thing about exercise.

So, unhealthy people think struggle’s a bad thing. Healthy people think struggle’s a good thing. They take it as a challenge; it’s a mental-conditioning exercise. Just like doing pushups is good for your chest, shoulders, and arms, so is mental struggle, especially when we’re trying to make our minds stronger, healthier. We’re trying to expand the mental strength, the mental capacity of our thinking, saying, and doing. Doing gives our bodies the ability to become stronger at the same time.

So, athletes, what they do, they link their brains with their bodies, every cell in their bodies. They can think about one part of their body, whether it’s their right leg or their entire body totally in motion to where their whole muscular choreography is sequenced exactly the way that they need to technically apply their sport.

On a daily basis, most of us don’t need to be that technical. But how about just being happy, healthy, at peace. It may be tough for a lot of you. You have families to raise. The children may be hyperactive. The boss at work may be nagging you a little bit. There are bills to pay. Driving to work, getting home from work may be a little stressful because of the crazy drivers out there. But why let that play havoc with your system?

I’m here to tell you that these are things you can control. Because I needed to control them myself. At one time in my life I was impatient. I had my hand on that horn every few seconds driving in traffic. And I live in California! But now I’ll be totally honest with you; I don’t let that bother me anymore. Why? Because every time that I have felt negatively, that I’ve thought a negative thought, or sent a negative impulse to my body, I know it’s delivered to some area of my body. And like eating junk food, toxic food, I don’t want anything delivered but good to my body. So if we ingest a poison or a toxin or a junk food, what are we doing? We’re intoxicating our body. Do we want to intentionally do that? I don’t think so.

At the same time, we have to look at thought as nutrition for the body. It’s the most powerful nutrition for the body. So what I want us to understand is that when we think, either we’re nourishing or toxifying the cells of our body. So it’s how we think that makes us healthy.

Right now, let’s talk about some of my mental conditioning techniques that I’ve developed for myself and have used successfully for many of my students, athletic students, and just lay people, people who’ve never exercised before or people who did exercise but took a long layoff and have gotten themselves out of shape.

The first way that I like to get people started is, again, start thinking to yourself that you’re a great person. Never, ever, think a bad thing about yourself. And if you are thinking bad things about yourself, turn it around. You look in the mirror and you say, “Oh, I’m so overweight!” Don’t say that! Say, something more positive. Say, “I’ve gotten myself overweight. And guess what, I’m a take-charge person. I’m a doer. And not only am I going to think it and say it, but I’m actually going to shave that weight off, But at the same time, not only am I going look good on the outside, but I’m going to feel terrific on the inside.” Become a take-charge person. I want you to talk to yourself. It is so important for you to talk to yourself, for you to be your motivator.

A great way to practice this is to not stand in front of the mirror but to stand in your living room or bedroom or recreation room or wherever you are, a hotel room if you’re traveling on the road, and pretend that you’re lecturing to somebody else. And the questions that they’re asking you are, “How do I get in better shape? How do I stop being so depressed? How do I have more energy?” You know something — you have the answers! A lot of them you’ll get in a program like my Vital Living from the Inside Out, but a lot of you, many of the answers you already know. It’s amazing to me that when people come to me and ask me questions, I tell them that they already know many of the answers. So start teaching yourself. And when you start teaching, you’re going to say to yourself, “By golly, I’ve got this in my head.”

You’re now in charge. You take charge of yourself. You’re the boss of your own body. And when you take charge, please don’t be uncomfortable with this; I want you to have a positive mental attitude, knowing that the outcome is that you are going to become a better you. I want you to not only be enthusiastic and passionate and motivated about changing your body and looking younger and feeling terrific, but at the same time, having a great mental attitude. Nothing is a better a feeling — and I’ll tell you this right now — than having confidence, than being happy, to feel comfortable around people.

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At one time in my life — and a lot of people have seen my before pictures — I wouldn’t take my big, baggy flannel shirt off my body. I lived in California for many, many years when I experienced a weight and chronic fatigue and depression problem. California in the summertime is hot. But I wore a flannel shirt because I was embarrassed about my body. But now I’m confident; I can take my shirt off, I feel comfortable, I feel confident, and at the same time, these techniques and my principles are helping other people take charge and gain the confidence in their life as well.

Next, you need to practice relaxation principles. This is so important. You have to relax yourself because, as I mentioned before, we are energy organisms. We are releasing energy for activity, and we are using energy on the inside for the homeostasis catabolic anabolic metabolism to rebuild our bodies to manage the waste that comes into our bodies for digestion and assimilation.

Little cat naps, relaxation techniques, meditation, closing your eyes for just a couple minutes just to shut yourself off from the rigors of the day, literally recharges your metabolism. It’s like shutting the engines down and letting those motors that are grinding come to a halt. And then you’ve got to reactivate them. But when you reactivate them, you reactivate them with a new set of rules and those do not deplete the body.

One of the great ways of destressing yourself, aside from just closing your eyes and trying to get peaceful and eliminating things from your mind, is by doing deep-breathing exercises. And there are some routines like my Oxy Walk routine, which is part of my Walk-a-Dobics instructional DVDs. It’s a metabolic and a fat-stimulating program. You don't need any exercise equipment; it’s simply a walking program that refreshes and oxygenates your body. What you’re doing, you’re stretching muscles, and as you stretch the muscles, you’re opening them up to elongate them or release their elastic energy. At the same time you’re bringing oxygen inside. And what happens when you bring oxygen inside, the brain gets the oxygen it needs to perform well. So by doing deep-breathing exercises, you’re destressing all the stress inside your mental compartments as well as tuning down the revved-up physical system of the body. It’s simple and very effective. If you can breathe, you can relax.

I mentioned earlier about “seeking first the kingdom of God.” My mentor, my idol, my big brother, my Master is Jesus Christ. He’s done some remarkable things with His thinking! And obviously what He said and what He did have been miraculous. Find someone who can become your mentor, that you know is a great, positive thinker, and pattern yourself after what that person does, how that person thinks, the fruit that person bears in his or her life. It certainly worked for me, and I’ve seen it work for many others.

When it comes to the human body, and you can read this in every religion around the world, we are spiritual beings. That our thoughts literally create our reality. And that’s what really the mind of God is all about, is that we can create something from nothing. That what we see comes from what we don’t see. And what we don’t see is what other people are thinking or what we’re thinking. But it’s amazing that something can come from what appears to be nothing. But to us, it’s not nothing, and now we know that. Thinking becomes saying, and saying becomes doing.

So my suggestion to you is find a spiritual mentor or a spiritual source who will allow you to be fed with spiritual energy and spiritual nutrition, and become a doer! That’s what my whole campaign is. Whether it’s a mantra, an affirmation, “I’m a doer, I’m a doer, I’m a doer.” If you say it, if you think it, and if you do it, people are going to look to you and say, “Wow, I want to be a doer, too. I want what you have.” And like a ripple effect, you start affecting others in a positive way. You want to hang around someone who does great things, someone who has accomplished great things. You want to be around the achievers. And guess what? Then you won’t have to look far for someone, because you’re going to be one yourself.

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