Much research is being done, which confirms that the placebo effect is real. This means that if we believe something strongly enough, it will happen. There is some extremely exciting research proving that hopeful and positive thoughts result in the release of various hormones, which consequently promote our growth and wellness. In other words, it IS possible to heal ourselves with our thoughts!

When we talk about placebos, we tend to think about drug studies where one group of participants is given sugar pills and another is given the drug being tested. There is usually a portion of the placebo group whose health improves just as well as those who received the full treatment. But it gets better: there are also examples of people who were scheduled for surgery and a group of them had incisions made, and then they were closed back up; no surgery was done. The startling fact is that a significant number of the people who had the faux surgery fared just as well as those who had the actual surgery. There are reports of people who have cured themselves from cancer by watching funny movies and minimizing the stress in our lives. Those are pretty amazing examples of the power of our brains! Are they merely anomalies or can anyone do this?

What the research shows is that when we think happy and positive thoughts, the hormones that are released in our bodies are those that promote growth and healing. When we are feeling stressed, our bodies go into fight-or-flight mode, so all nonessential body functioning is curtailed. This is done to preserve our energy so we can either fight or flee. If we’re in this mode too often, it takes a huge toll on the reproduction of healthy cells and we open ourselves up for organ dysfunction and cancer. The solution is to focus on the things you do that result in experiencing happy feelings and minimize the time you spend worrying and stressing over things that are out of your control. Easier said than done – right?

Take an inventory of the tens of thousands of thoughts that you have every day. Are they mostly happy or stressful ones? Is your brain spending more time releasing happiness hormones or stressful ones? Which types of thoughts would you rather have floating around in your brain?

So, if most of your thoughts during the day are worrisome, you can change that, but it will take some practice. Visualize what your ideal life would look like. Try to imagine it as vividly as possible so that you can feel the happiness and excitement. Savor those emotions to make your brain start producing more of those “happy” hormones!! (You’ll know when it does because you’ll automatically feel happier.) Go through the process of visualizing what I like to call your “new normal” and savor the positive emotions. Create a habit of doing this every time you find yourself dwelling on what isn’t going so well. Believe that you are living the life you want right now and act as if it’s really happening. Start making choices that are congruent with the life you want to live. Once you make this a habit, you will make your new normal happen!

It’s your choice. You can continue to entertain those negative thoughts and deprive your body of proper nourishment or you can change your thinking and enjoy a happier and more fulfilling life! It will take some time for your brain to reroute its circuits, but the exciting news is that the brain can’t tell the difference between whether something is really happening or you’re just thinking about it. So, get those visualizations started so you can develop that beneficial neurological circuitry!!

This may sound too good to be true, but research is proving that it really happens. It’s kind of like we have a genie within us that needs to be awakened. When we focus on what it is we want and truly believe that it will happen, our wish is our body’s command! By creating positive energy within us, our bodies reward us. This is how the placebo effect works. We believe that the medication our doctor gave us will work, so it does. It works even if it is no more than a sugar pill, therefore, it wasn’t the medicine that cured us; it was our brain. We can become the placebo.