This series is an alphabetical exploration of 26 options for living well, despite everything. It answers the question–How can we live well, despite problems?
A person wants to lose weight, so she takes a pill before every meal. It’s advertised to suppress her appetite. She doesn’t know it, but the pill has no medically proven appetite suppressant. It’s sold as a “food supplement” and it’s made of inert ingredients, mostly sucrose and natural coloring derived from beets. Still, she definitely feels less hungry after she takes it. She eats less and loses weight. (This is a true story about a supplement produced in Europe in the early 1990’s, told to me by the woman who worked on the team which invented it. They made a lot of money for their company).
What’s going on?
It’s the mysterious placebo effect. An immaterial thought acts on, and changes, the way a material body behaves. The woman believes the pill suppresses her appetite; her belief changes her appetite and her health.
By the power of sheer conviction, the placebo effect transforms belief into reality, and not because people are gullible.
This is the miracle of faith.
Placebos can heal illness, cure depression and anxiety, reduce fatigue, mend broken hearts and give courage to cowards. Placebos have even diminished the effects of serious illnesses like Parkinson’s.
The placebo effect is not an illusion. Placebos produce measurable physiological effects–changes in heart rate and blood pressure, chemical and neurobiological changes in the blood and nervous system.
The placebo effect proves that the mind and body are not separate, but indivisible.
If I believe doing something is going to make me feel better, doing that thing will make me feel better.
In building a life that is authentically good, I’m going to use every tool in my comfort box, including the Placebo Effect.
Be it resolved: I shall believe in what I’m doing!
Which means I’m not going to do anything, take anything or participate in anything I don’t believe in.
This is so simple, it’s ludicrous. I need to stop thinking that nothing is going to help, nothing is going to work, nothing is going to get better. I have to believe that wisdom-inspired actions–eating well, being joyfully active, resting, minimizing stress, learning, growing, laughing, loving, and counting my blessings–are good medicine, which will improve my quality of life.
Amen? What do you believe will improve your life?
See also J is for Just-Do-It!