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  • Writer's pictureRobert Christopher

What the Heck is Self Mastery… and why should I read about it as a Runner or Performance Athlete?

Updated: Mar 19, 2023

Consciousness is one's responsiveness or ability to recognize something. The brain has three levels of networks, comprised of the conscious, subconscious, and unconscious mind. The mindful or conscious mind encloses information in which it travels to the short and long-term memory. Long-term memory segments one's memory that retains experiences permanently, whereas short-term memory only stores temporary memory in parts of the mind.

The subliminal or subconscious mind contains all the information we have obtained throughout our lifespan. All that we see, hear, smell, touch, learn, or experience is retained in this vicinity of the brain. Have you ever noticed how a smell or song can trigger a memory from your past? This quarter of the brain contains undisclosed messages in which it will expose when memory starts to develop in fragments. The unconscious (automatic) mind is where our self, individuality works instinctively. Some theorists deem the unconscious mind as the inadvertent mind. This is because some behaviors we display are unintentionally acted upon by signals we receive from the unconscious mind. Behaviors are physical actions, such as reacting to some thought. For instance, you may think of buying a new pair of running shoes, yet you have not shown any behavioral reactions from your thoughts until you have purchased the shoes. Once you do buy shoes for the first time, those thoughts and the whole experience are stored, the color of the shoes, the help at the store, trying them on for the first time, the box they came in, how you paid, and so on, are stored data in your brain. The next time you think about buying running shoes, that experience replays in your unconscious mind initially until it triggers a conscious one. The mind works like this every time.

Self-mastery is a process that requires that we use all areas of the mind to obtain our goal in building mental, physical, and emotional strength. Consciousness brings us to realization. It relates to the physical body simply because when some force, whether seen or unseen, triggers the emotions, mental processes develop, reflecting on one's behaviors.

Because our mind works in several ways, one must wonder if it transcends the body's physical reactions by receiving signals from the nervous system. Along these lines, an entity would have to appreciate that the brain and edgy system work in harmony. Learning about anatomy is a great way to decide how the mind works with the nervous system – and how it can help you expand self-mastery skills.

The anatomy framework

The neuron or nerve cells have a shared purposeful element in which consist of cell bodies, such as dendrites (The branched extensions of nerve cells) – axon [Extensions of nerve cells) – and these cell bodies border the myelin sheath or the nerve-insulated layers of myelin. The neurons conduct impulses in which these impulses feed and transmit to the synapse (gap amid nerve endings) and then to the muscles – glands, and organs. Think about how you run the last half mile versus how you run at the midpoint of the race. Your body has been conditioned to respond to that knowledge in a way that you have trained for repeatedly. Imagine this, what if you started running at your final half-mile pace two miles from the finish line. Your body and mind do not need to look at your watch or milepost to know that the finish line should be coming up as you cross the half-mile mark. When it is not there, you will notice how your body is already conditioned to finish the race and starts to slow down in anticipation of the end. The neural impulses needed to keep running another mile and a half become confused and tell the body to shut down this effort.

Our anatomy makes up neurotransmitters. These transmitters act to produce serotonin (chemicals derived from amino acid tryptophan and distribute widely to the tissues), helping to constrict blood vessels at the injury sites and affect the emotional state. This is important if you are working on self-mastery skills since self-mastery is the process of taking control of your emotions. Our anatomy makes up acetylcholine (Transmitters of nerve impulses) dopamine, (Chemical compound in the brain), endorphins, norepinephrine, gamma-aminobutyric acid, etc. It helps to conduct the impulses from corner to corner to the synapse.

The CNS (Central Nervous System) links to the brain and the spinal cord in which the nervous system controls our frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital lobes at the front of the brain. These lobes serve to signal and cause reactions to either allocate one to perform mentally, exploit motor skills, feel, hear, smell, taste and so forth.

Descartes* supposed, "That the mind could have a direct influence on the body." He pointed out that our decisions "to improve our health causes us to exercise." If you think about it, the mind will also draw up negativity to encourage you to find every reason why you shouldn't exercise. Descartes stated, "The body could have a direct influence on the mind."

What you listen to in your head is what you are or soon will become. Control that voice and program the message that you seek. Tell yourself I still have two miles to go when there is only a half-mile left, you will notice a change in your performance, and finishing the race should become more manageable.

For more about self-mastery, please check out this book. Zen Athlete: The Secrets to Achieving Your Highest Potential

Questions or Comments? Text Rob @ 480.637.2385 and Follow him @iRunPro on IG, RobRobichaud on #ClubHouse, and check out his seasonal gear picks at

Thank you for reading and sharing with your community, Lace Them Up, Let’s Go!


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