Lauren Zander, Life Coach
July 1, 2008
The placebo effect has both fascinated and perplexed scientists for ages. In research trials, one group of people — the placebo group — ingests a substance they are told may have medicinal value even though it is in fact a mere sugar pill or similarly inactive material. The confounding result is that many people respond to the substance as if it were the real deal. Life coach and frequent Daily Health News contributor Lauren Zander sees this conundrum completely differently. The placebo effect, she says, is an outstanding example of the power of the mind. It is the remarkable ability of human beings to make something possible simply by believing it can be, she says.
The placebo effect is not a new theory… scientists have studied it for centuries. A recent study of doctors in Chicago showed that 45% of those polled prescribe placebos for various reasons in clinical practice, including to calm the patient, to treat nonspecific complaints, and as a last resort after other treatment had failed. These patients believe something will help them, and in the end it does.
Lauren says that we all have evidence of the efficacy of placebos in our personal histories. Think through the many times in your own life when you badly wanted something to happen and believed it could, though it seemed unlikely… and, in fact, it did. Call it what you will — synergy, magic, fate — the facts are your evidence. But most people are reluctant to accept that they have this kind of power, says Lauren. The reason? If you accept the potential power of your beliefs, it will lead you to acknowledge that there is a long list of things you’d like to change or accomplish… and in view of that, not acting on them can be an extremely uncomfortable place to be.
BELIEVING IN THE POWER
Many people stay put, refusing to recognize their inherent strength. But if you are among those who accept that the power of your belief can change reality, you are blessed with an incredible tool. Understanding this power creates the possibility of achieving your innermost desires… as well as fulfilling your negative prophecies too. As the saying goes, “whether you believe you can or can’t, you’re probably right.”
Acknowledging the power of placebo gets you to pay attention and focus… because by honestly believing you can achieve what you want, you begin to give serious thought to what that might be. Yet this is also where it gets risky and you are likely to find yourself getting nervous. Lauren offers the example of a man who stayed in a relationship for years, even though he admitted it lacked passion and shared interests. He was bored, but reluctant to examine his deep desire for a relationship that brought satisfaction and joy. Doing so would surface his choices and make them painfully clear — he could remain and stagnate or he could leave, facing loneliness and the risk that his soul mate might not be out there. However, there was a third choice too. He could change his belief about his partner and realize that there were interesting things about her, if he only would open his mind to them. He chose this last route, committing to making more effort to create passion in his life. The result? A newfound depth and happiness in his relationship with the very same woman.
It’s a familiar dilemma. What allows people to exit the secure field of playing it safe for the tremulous one of taking risks is a solid belief that what they want is possible and that they will bring it into reality. In other words, having belief breeds the sense of possibility… possibility leads to action… and action leads to achievement.
PUTTING A PLACEBO TO WORK
The question to ask yourself, says Lauren, is what placebos are missing in your life? What pills would you want to take? It might be the “I love to jog” pill or perhaps “my husband is adorable.” Some people will desire a pill that makes them crave healthy foods, not chips or cookies. Make a list of the placebo pills you’d like to have. Which ones can you act on? There will be some you are not prepared to deal with at this time and others that don’t matter enough to invest the work involved. Pace yourself. Seeing the wide spectrum of how much you want — and that it is possible to get — can initially feel overwhelming.
Once you have decided which “placebo pills” to keep, be prepared for some inner drama as you struggle to bring desires and belief into reality. It won’t be all smooth going, says Lauren. Most of us have an internal combination of brat and coward, she explains. We are either afraid to take a chance or we act like a baby who refuses to change. Fortunately, we also have the ability to overcome both. Moving forward happens when you fully accept that your beliefs are powerful… that your desires for your life are powerful… that you are powerful and you can make them happen. If you still waver about embracing this truth, there are some doctors in Chicago who can give you a prescription to demonstrate that it works.
Reprinted with the permission of:
Bottom Line Publications
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