Training the Gut

Mike Massimino became an astronaut, but only after applying an extensive amount of work.

And over the course of several years, he applied twice to become a NASA astronaut and both times was rejected in the first rounds. A few years later, he tried again, finally getting an interview. But the interview included a medical exam, which he failed due to poor eyesight.

Dejected, Massimino considered his options. Rather than taking NASA’s third rejection to mean that he should abandon hopes of becoming an astronaut, Massimino was determined to improve his eyesight.

“Even if I could rectify it somehow, which seemed impossible, still no guarantees of anything,” Massimino says. “But before I could even be considered again I had to do that. So I went through some vision training to improve my eyes so I could see better. And it worked.”

I’m intrigued by this idea, this idea that we can exert control over bodily functions that are seemingly beyond our power. We can control things like our breathing, and winking, which are typically both body functions that are taken care of by our autonomous nervous system. We don’t have to control them, but we can, when we take the time and effort. I know it’s possible to build up lung capacity and extend the time that I can hold my breath.

Obviously we can exert control over muscle mass through diet and workouts, as both bodybuilders and Victoria’s Secret models demonstrate.

I’ve even learned how to control my body following adrenaline spikes–trying to get heart rate down, that sort of thing. We have all worked through fear to do something that we don’t want to do.

With that in mind, I have a hunch that it’s possible to control other bodily functions that we normally don’t think about–perhaps digestion?

I will be looking into various types of vision training to see if I can apply them to my gut.

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