Ever read about a supplement, or even medication or pill, and you are excited to try it? Does it seem like it would legitimately fix the issues you have? You are psyched to try it – and low and behold IT WORKS! Or maybe it is even something you do for yourself to help you feel better- like meditation for example. I read the science on Headspace and I love it and it worked for me! Science does back this, but sometimes science hasn’t always studied herbs or things we try that we KNOW WORK for us.
What is placebo about anyway?
Placebo is a term most people know. There doesn’t seem to be any known reason that the treatment, medication or otherwise works, but it does for some people who use it. This is all from a chemical and cellular reaction in the body that heals itself! It’s true!
According to the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, angina, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, behavior problems, even type II diabetes, and more respond to placebo. Even the power of prayer has been studied. If you pray, you know this power. The response in the body, according to the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, affects enzyme activity, growth rates of white blood cells, mutation rates of bacteria, firing rate of pacemaker cells in the heart and MORE! This is incredible, is it not?
So most people think of the word placebo as being something that isn’t real or fake, right? But look at this information. Our body responds and tries to (and often does if we let it) heal itself through the mind. Our body reacts to the mind and works to adjust and heal.
What can we do to encourage this process in our body and our minds?
Start with Optimism
Attitude has actually been measured and reactions to health issues, and the body response to the type of attitude someone has is enormous! Attitude is known to impact immunity. If you have ever worried about immunity (and currently who hasn’t right?), this is important to note.
Optimists, or those with a positive outlook on life and a good attitude, have better immunity (Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine). Negative emotions like depression, sadness, and pessimism suppress it. This same type of thing calls true to cardiovascular health! Yes really!
Optimistic men had 45% lower risk for angina pectoris, nonfatal myocardial infarction, and death from coronary artery disease (Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine). Pessimistic adults also have higher blood pressure than their optimistic counterparts.
Become a Self-Actualized Person
This is a lot said than done right? We need to have basic needs met like food, shelter, safety, love before we can work on these things. But establishing those things is important. They are things we can work on as people, which will then allow us to work toward self actualization.
Self actualization happens when you take responsibility for your positive mental state (it is in your control), your life, your current situation, and your health. (Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine). You then develop the DIRECTION of your life. You can be the best you can be in your own life.
I will tell you that I decided to BE this way. I had those things inside me, but I was most certainly NOT this way for much of my life. I decided that I was going to be a more positive person, I wanted to be happier, I wanted less anxiety and I wanted control over my thoughts and life. I worked hard to make that happen. It was a process, and still is.
Our minds are powerful. We do have the control, as long as you want to take control and make your life what you want you can. There are many factors of our life that are out of our control, but our responses are always our own and totally our control.
Set Positive Goals
This is a process that feeds into your self actualization. Set your goals with positive terms in the present! The goal should be attainable and should have steps. One long term goal will have many daily short term steps that must be achieved.
Every day remember your long term goal and think about what you can do that day to take a step that moves you toward that goal.
Improve Your Self Talk by Asking Better Questions
How we view ourselves is where the control over our situation comes in. Being nicer to ourselves and being positive with ourselves helps us frame a more optimistic view of life and the world.
So let’s ask ourselves better quality questions. If something negative happens in your day, instead of asking yourself, “Why does this always happen to me?” or “Why is my life such a mess?” you can ask yourself, “What can I learn from this situation so it never happens again?” or “What can I do to make this situation better?”
This takes practice and time. None of these idea happen immediately. It will most certainly be a forced habit on all of these ideas if you know you are not this type of person but you really want to be. It might feel fake and not real at all when you start, but keep at it. Remember you are working toward the person you WANT TO BE!
If you want to start to heal yourself, whether it is your mind or your body, you need to utilize the power of your mind. It can create a response that heals whatever is ailing you. Use meditation, use prayer, use focused breathing, use humor, laughter, and anything positive like affirmations and your mindset to achieve this process. Of course, it doesn’t work all by itself, there are other components to a healthy fulfilling life, but those are coming up in future weeks. Let’s start with your mind and mindset, and with that being positive and optimistic you will feel great about starting to achieve the more challenging health habits you have on the horizon.
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