The Placebo Effect

@moffittjc (35641)
Gainesville, Florida
January 25, 2016 7:01am CST
When it comes to our health and well-being, our mind controls our body way more than we like to admit. This isn’t just voodoo witch medicine. Just the very thought of taking medicine often makes us feel better. What our minds believe has a very real effect on how our bodies respond, and has a statistically significant effect on the outcome of medical tests. Our brain power is so real, that researchers have to adjust for it by giving people fake pills (a placebo), which people think make them better, in order to see if the real pills do even more than the fake ones. I use this tactic to help control my own health. I have an optimistic belief that I am a very healthy person, and that this exceptionally good condition of health will persist long into my golden years. Even when I do get sick, I look at it as being very temporary, and I always assume I’ll be back to full health within a day or two. It usually proves to be true. This is an example of me using my brain as a placebo effect (it works because I think it will work), and these assumptions lead me to believe that I will live a very healthy 100-year lifespan. And on top of all this, my optimism is limiting the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which has been shown to negatively affect one's health. The less you worry about health, the healthier you become! Obviously, I can't stop sickness and disease from happening altogether, but I can minimize their impact on my health just through my optimistic outlook on my well-being. I am healthy because I believe I'm healthy. Our brains are some of the best medicines around to prevent and treat illness! Now that's a great placebo effect!
15 people like this
9 responses
@Platespinner (18472)
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
25 Jan 16
I avoid doctors since visiting them always seems to make me sick. The mind is a very important factor in our health and I think maintaining a positive outlook goes a long way toward keeping us healthy. Lots of laughter doesn't hurt either.
2 people like this
@moffittjc (35641)
• Gainesville, Florida
25 Jan 16
I think laughter plays a huge role in our health! I am always looking for the humor in most situations, and try to find ways to laugh about things, even when it is something negative. On those rare days when I do catch a cold, I love to put on comedy movies or tv shows and then sit back and laugh. It usually does the trick!
2 people like this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
25 Jan 16
@moffittjc I figure, even if it doesn't do anything for my health, I'm at least enjoying life more than I would. I tend to have a rather warped sense of humour and occasionally laugh when others would be horrified that something struck me as funny--but I've known a few people that didn't think anything was funny, I wouldn't want to live that way.
@sgbrown (1682)
• United States
26 Jan 16
@Platespinner I try to avoid doctors too! If you aren't very sick when you go, you will be by the time you get back! Think of all the germs in that place, everybody in there is SICK!
1 person likes this
@VivaLaDani13 (16259)
• Perth, Australia
6 Dec
@moffittjc I'm not sure if this is a true story...but I will tell it anyway. It's a story my ex jerk boyfriend told me. There was a man who got told he had cancer....so he worried and took time to accept this. His next visit to the doctor, they told him that they gave him the wrong results and that he didn't have cancer. But when getting another test, he really did have cancer. ok so what dip$hit was trying to say was, that he eventually got cancer because he already thought he did have it. I do believe that your brain can make you sick from having negative thoughts. But a story I really do know is true is that when I was in primary school, my parents knew of a man who said he had cancer and only had about 6 months to live. Every day when I was picked up from school, we saw this man walking around the block. His positive mind and healthy life style changed it all. I am 26 years old now and I still see this man walking from time to time when I am in that area.
2 people like this
@moffittjc (35641)
• Gainesville, Florida
7 Dec
I truly believe our minds can help heal our bodies. It's called the Power of Positive Thinking. Our brains are very powerful organisms that we haven't even yet began to understand or tap into its full potential.
2 people like this
• Perth, Australia
8 Dec
@moffittjc I hope I am around the day it's all figured out. Rumour has it that the Egyptians could use their full brain power to move the big blocks to build the pyramids. Who knows.
2 people like this
@moffittjc (35641)
• Gainesville, Florida
8 Dec
@VivaLaDani13 Them damn Egyptians! Always showing off!
2 people like this
• United States
26 Jan 16
One of the indicators of actual good health is believing that you have better health than others your age. It is on the quizzes that are given to assess health. Cool, huh? When I was in my early thirties, before the flu shot was given routinely to everyone, I became ill each fall and did not really recover until spring. I asked my doctor if I could get the flu shot (it was then only given to chronically ill people and little children). I asked, do I have to wait until my health is ruined, or can I get it now? He allowed the shot. A couple of years later, when getting my booster, the nurse asked me how it was working for me. I told her I not only did not get the flu anymore, I rarely caught a cold. She asked me if I thought this was the placebo effect or the vaccine. My answer? Who cares?
1 person likes this
@moffittjc (35641)
• Gainesville, Florida
27 Jan 16
I agree! Who cares, as long as it works! Whether it was the flu shot or the placebo effect, the end result was the same...you didn't get sick!
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Jan 16
@moffittjc My health is much better than others my age, despite having asthma and a couple of other chronic conditions. It's probably better than that of many people who do not have chronic conditions, especially if they do not pay attention to the needs of their bodies. Awareness is important, so you can go get help when it is warranted.
@moffittjc (35641)
• Gainesville, Florida
28 Jan 16
@ElizabethWallace You bring up a good point...we need to pay attention to the needs of our bodies. Our bodies will tell us in one way or another what it needs (rest, nutrition, healing, etc), but so often we ignore what our bodies are telling us!
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (121395)
• Switzerland
25 Jan 16
I go to see the doctor only if I really feel sick and I cannot heal. Of course a positive approach helps, but not for serious illness, you cannot cure cancer with optimism.
1 person likes this
@moffittjc (35641)
• Gainesville, Florida
26 Jan 16
That is true, but you can help fight that cancer with optimism, with laughter, and a good attitude about it. It may not cure cancer, but I truly believe it helps in the fight!
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (121395)
• Switzerland
26 Jan 16
@moffittjc My mother had a stomach cancer, about 20 years ago. Believe me, she is an optimist and a fighter, but she was so sick during the treatment that there were no space to laughter.
@moffittjc (35641)
• Gainesville, Florida
28 Jan 16
@LadyDuck That is perfectly understandable! There are going to be instances where no matter how optimistic you are, your situation is going to dictate your response. Somebody (like your mother) going through treatment for something that serious is going to be hard-pressed to even smile during the ordeal. But I bet you that internally, her optimism and fighter instinct were doing wonders to help her cope and management the cancer treatment!
1 person likes this
@sgbrown (1682)
• United States
25 Jan 16
I completely agree with this! There are days that I don't feel my best, but I can "talk myself" into feeling better. I know it sounds crazy, but it's true! Our minds control our bodies more than we realize.
@moffittjc (35641)
• Gainesville, Florida
25 Jan 16
I always do the same thing! I "talk" my way out of feeling bad! It more often than not does the trick! The other thing I say quite a bit is that I don't have time to be sick! lol
1 person likes this
@sgbrown (1682)
• United States
25 Jan 16
@moffittjc I say the same thing. If I do take a "sick" day, everything around the house seems to fall apart. Hubby is good about keeping things fixed and doing things that need to be done outside, but when it comes to my "chores", he doesn't seem to have clue! Everything just piles up for me to do the next day!
@moffittjc (35641)
• Gainesville, Florida
26 Jan 16
@sgbrown It's funny, because if I ever take a sick day (which I rarely ever do), I don't use it to lay around in bed and mope about how sick I am. I am up doing chores, catching up things, etc. Basically, taking my mind off of the fact that I'm not feeling well.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Jan 16
I feel the same way about health as you do, when sick I KNOW it is temporary and continuing the lifestyle I have now, in the long run, will put me well into my golden years also . . . Good post
@moffittjc (35641)
• Gainesville, Florida
26 Jan 16
Thank you! I think it is so important to use our brain power to help our bodies function at their peek ability. So many times in my life I have heard doctors tell people that their bodies will listen to what their brains tell them to do. I totally subscribe to that! I'm constantly telling my body to heal, to feel better, to go farther, to give an extra boost, to relax, etc. It really does help!
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Jan 16
It certainly does cause you look really happy n healthy ! Of course we know what the inside is like so shall the outside, right ? @moffittjc
1 person likes this
@moffittjc (35641)
• Gainesville, Florida
26 Jan 16
@enlightenedpsych2 Definitely! I agree with you wholeheartedly!
1 person likes this
@Asylum (47134)
• Manchester, England
29 Jan 16
Our brain controls every function in our body, which even includes the repair process such as healing wounds etcetera. In theory if we could consciously control all aspects of our brain, we should be able to heal a deep cut in a matter of minutes by simply accelerating the process.
@moffittjc (35641)
• Gainesville, Florida
29 Jan 16
I wonder if any studies have been done to try and measure that! I would love to see how much time it takes to heal a wound when there is zero brainpower put into the healing process, versus how fast a wound would heal if you were constantly encouraging the wound to heal!
1 person likes this
@Asylum (47134)
• Manchester, England
29 Jan 16
@moffittjc Sadly we do not have adequate control over those areas of the brain, but with access we should have abilities that would currently be considered supernatural.
1 person likes this
@Gillygirl (15291)
• Sutton, England
25 Jan 16
I do believe in mind over matter and laughing also helps
@moffittjc (35641)
• Gainesville, Florida
26 Jan 16
Mind over matter! Yes, that's perfect! I completely forgot about that phrase! It is so true!
@WorDazza (8649)
• Manchester, England
25 Jan 16
The latest research into the placebo effect suggests that the placebo is even beneficial when the recipient knows it is a placebo.
@moffittjc (35641)
• Gainesville, Florida
26 Jan 16
I think I heard that somewhere!