• Scientific Proof That Negative Beliefs Harm Your Health

    Article by Dr Lissa Rankin

    If you've been following me on Twitter (or on the main blog in French), you'll know that the power of the mind over the body is actually what I'm experiencing right now. For those who don't or can't read French, ealier last month, I ended up in hospital after a nasty fall in the woods where I broke my hip (greater trochanter/thigh-bone) and had surgery altogether with a great cocktail of unhealthy chemicals including some opioids to relieve pain. I may be a “spiritual warrior” (sic), I'm no less human and when you're in agony you take the antimony whatever it takes. Besides, not much of an option when you're out of it.

    At least temporarily. That is because when in pain, the mind is more vulnerable to external thoughts and when medics advise you to take your painkillers “even if you're feeling fine now because then you won't be able to get up and your physiotherapy will take much longer”, you tend to buy into it and take their junk in. Except tranquillisers and the like don't agree with me at all and mess up my brain big time to the point where I feel so disconnected, altogether it was rather preferable for me to cope with the physical pain instead. I'm afraid it might sound weird to those who've never really experienced as yet how it feels to be connected to your soul, but those who do will have an idea of how excruciating it can be. A little reminder that came as a great helper to get myself out of the mental fog I was temporarily in and which made me realise that even though I needed skilful engineers to fix my broken body, as for the healing process I knew better what was best for my body.

    So I decided to ignore the nurse's ditty (a lovely empathic woman though) while she left the colourful little pills on the bedside in case of, while mentally arguing that not only would I flush them all into the toilet, but my pain would disappear in no time and I would impress the hell out of them with my speedy recovery. And I did because I truly believed in it and I wanted it so much (same way as I was in agony after I'd been told precisely how bad and how long my suffering would last). You should have seen me racing around the hallways with my walker not even three days after surgery! I would have plenty of stories like this one to tell you about the placebo (Latin for « I will please »)/nocebo (“I will harm”) effects, and I'm sure you'd have to.

    To conclude this lengthy preamble, I'd say that the safest form of prevention is to learn mental alchemy, that is how to develop mindfulness so as to be able to transmute parasitic negative thinking before it can migrate to the shady areas of your psyche and poison your mind first then your body.

    Ey@el

    The medical establishment has been proving that the mind can heal the body for over 50 years. We call it “the placebo effect,” and we know that when patients in clinical trials get nothing but sugar pills, saline injections, or fake surgeries, but believe they might be getting the new wonder drug or miracle surgery, their bodies get better 18-80% of the time.

    While many are aware of the seemingly mysterious placebo effect, fewer people know about its evil twin, “the nocebo effect.” When I was researching my book Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself, I became convinced, without a shadow of a doubt, that a combination of positive belief and the nurturing care of the right healer can activate the body’s natural self-repair mechanisms and help the body heal itself.

    But was the opposite also true? Do negative beliefs about our health or harsh care from insensitive doctors harm the body?

    Turns out they can.

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