Mind Over Matter: 5 Ways to Use the Power of Your Mind To Achieve Your Goals

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “mind over matter?” Perhaps you picture the ancient spiritual practice of walking over hot coals. Originally used as a rite of passage or test of faith, “firewalking” has more recently been popularized as a way to overcome personal fears and limitations. The idea is that by changing your mindset, you can effectively tolerate physical and psychological discomfort.

What Does Mind Over Matter Mean?

Mind over matter can be defined as using willpower (the mind) to overcome physical problems or limitations (matter). Martial artists use mind over matter when they use their bare hands to slice through solid wood.

Is Mind Over Matter a Real Thing?

It depends on who you ask. While most psychologists agree the mind can be a powerful tool, they often balk at the idea of mind over matter. For people with chronic health issues, the idea can feel invalidating and dismissive. After all, if it were as simple as imagining yourself well, there would be no mental or physical illness at all!

Being healthy just got delicious

Mind Over Matter Examples

You’ve likely read stories about Good Samaritans who perform heroic feats in extraordinary situations, like lifting a 2-ton truck off of an injured child. But there are plenty of examples of mind over matter in everyday life. Perhaps you’ve even had your own experience of using a change in mindset to achieve something that previously seemed impossible.


  • The mind plays an integral role in our perception of pain. Studies show that people who regularly meditate report less physical pain. Meditation has also been shown to be an effective treatment for high blood pressure, anxiety, and overall stress.

The Placebo Effect

  • The placebo effect occurs when a person’s belief about the efficacy of a treatment causes them to feel better. When pharmaceutical companies conduct clinical trials of medications, they include a placebo group. Participants in this group receive inactive sugar pills instead of medication. Time and time again, researchers have found that a significant percentage of the placebo participants’ symptoms improve, even though they received no active ingredients. Because the participants believed they would get better with treatment, they did!

Athletic performance

  • Athletes use visualization techniques to improve their performance. By imagining themselves successfully completing a task, such as the perfect golf swing, they actually improve muscle memory and increase the likelihood of success in the game. This power of suggestion applies to non-athletes, as well. In a recent study at Stanford University, researchers found that participants who were told they carried a gene variant for high stamina performed better on fitness tests.

Cold exposure

  • Some people are able to withstand extremely cold temperatures by using their minds to regulate body temperature. Wim Hof, also known as “The Iceman,” has set multiple world records for cold exposure. Hof attributes this unique ability to his rigorous mental training. Similarly, in a 2013 study, neuroscientist Maria Kozhevnikov observed that Tibetan monks were able to tolerate extreme cold and even raise their body temperatures through focused meditation.


  • Psychological trauma has both immediate and long-term effects on the body. It can change the structure and function of the brain, particularly in the areas responsible for memory and emotion regulation. In addition, trauma survivors are about 3 times more likely to suffer physical ailments like chronic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, and chronic fatigue.
The placebo effect is a well-known example of mind over matter

Strategies for Using Mind Over Matter Psychology to Achieve Your Goals

Ready to put mind over matter to work for you? Here are 5 simple exercises that can help set you on the path of self-improvement. Remember that change takes time and practice, so be patient with yourself. With dedication and persistence, you can learn to harness the power of your mind to achieve greater success and well-being.

1. Positive Self-Talk

  • The words you use to describe yourself and your situation have a powerful impact on your mind and body. Researchers have found that people who use more positive emotional language not only report higher levels of subjective happiness but are also more successful across all areas of life. A positive outlook is associated with a decrease in the risk of heart attack and an increase in positive health outcomes. There is even evidence that your immune system responds to your thought patterns, with negative thoughts leading to a reduction in the number of T-cells available to fight infection! Unfortunately, most of us are wired to prioritize the negative over the positive. For positive self-talk tips, see our January blog post here.

2. Visualization

  • Visualizing a positive outcome and actually achieving that outcome activate similar regions of the brain. This is why mental rehearsals are so effective, whether in the realm of sports, performing arts, or public speaking. Mental rehearsals involve imagining yourself performing a specific action or reaching a particular goal. In doing so, you are essentially laying the neuronal pathways that lead to success. Both visualization and mental rehearsals are powerful tools for reducing anxiety and increasing confidence.

3. Mind/Body Practices

  • Practices like yoga and meditation focus on strengthening the mind-body connection. In yoga, you use breathwork to tolerate the discomfort of holding poses for prolonged periods of time. This strategy can then be applied to challenging situations outside the yoga studio. Likewise, meditation uses breathwork and awareness to empower you to react more consciously and effectively to stress.

4. Goal Setting

5. Challenge yourself

  • Pushing yourself beyond your perceived limits helps to develop resilience. By facing challenges instead of avoiding them, you can build confidence in your ability to overcome obstacles.
Yoga is a practice that focuses on the mind-body connection.


Author and scientist David Adam writes, “Our thoughts are our weapon against the world.” Like other weapons, the power of the mind can be used for good or evil. A positive mindset has a number of benefits for both physical and mental health. Research suggests that by training your brain with meditation, visualization, and other strategies, you can increase your ability to cope with adversity and improve your overall well-being. While mind over matter has its limitations, the mind-body connection is well-documented and powerful. As Carl Jung said, “Mind and matter are two aspects of the same thing.”

What does a mind over matter mean?

The term “mind over matter” means that a person’s willpower and mental strength can overcome physical limitations and challenges. It suggests that the power of the mind is stronger than the body, and that a person can achieve great things by focusing on positive thoughts and attitudes and overcome obstacles. It is often used in the context of mental health and self-care, as a reminder that taking care of one’s mental wellbeing is just as important as taking care of one’s physical health.

Why do people say mind over matter?

The term “mind over matter” is often used as a motivational statement to encourage people to use their mental strength and willpower to overcome physical challenges and limitations. This can be especially helpful for people facing physical or mental health challenges, as it can remind them that they have the power to take control of their situation and work towards recovery. Overall, the phrase emphasizes the importance of mental strength and resilience in overcoming life’s challenges.

What philosophy is mind over matter?

The philosophy behind the “mind over matter” is rooted in the idea that the human mind has incredible power and can shape physical reality. This idea has been explored in various philosophical and spiritual traditions, such as Buddhism, Stoicism and Transcendentalism.

Is Mind Over Matter a real thing?

The concept of “mind over matter” is real in the sense that the power of mind can influence our physical and mental states. Studies have shown that certain mental practices, such as mindfulness meditation, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and visualization techniques, can have a positive impact on physical health and well-being.



Directly translated wohlgefühl means pleasant feeling sense of well-being. Read about everything mental health and wellness.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Filler bite - Wohlgefühl

Directly translated wohlgefühl means pleasant feeling sense of well-being. Read about everything mental health and wellness.