Life has a nasty habit of beating you down from time to time. Something negative happens, and all of a sudden, you can feel yourself spiraling out of control. Not only does your mental health suffer, but, in many cases, so does your physical health too.
It turns out, however, that there’s a great deal of power in just believing that you’re doing okay. It sounds like a glib thing to say, but where you focus your mind – the thoughts you entertain – has a massive impact on your emotions. And your emotions are what ultimately determine your life’s trajectory and the quality of your experiences.
The Placebo Effect
The power of believing you’re okay runs deep. It’s so deep, in fact, that scientists have to control for it when they do an experiment.
Have you ever heard of a placebo-controlled trial in a medical experiment?
The reason researchers use it is that when patients receive a pill, the simple fact that they’re taking something “to make them feel better” can skew the outcomes. In other words, if people take a pill a doctor has told them will help them recover from cancer, they are more likely to get better, even if the pill contains nothing but inert powder.
To see the independent effect of the drug, they have to compare two groups – one that receives the real active ingredient, and one that gets a dud.
A lot of highly successful people know about the placebo effect and use it to their advantage. Bizarrely, even people who intellectually understand the placebo effect and know that they’re taking nothing but a sugar pill still experience benefits.
That’s one of the reasons why crystals and gemstones are so popular today. You can believe in the energy of the universe coursing through them. But even if you don’t, they still work. Just thinking that they possess healing energy can help you.
Connected to this is the idea that the type of thoughts that you entertain affect your life’s outcomes.
As you get older, it can be tempting to allow pessimism to take over – or believe that your life is well and truly behind you.
That type of thinking then leads to the emotions that make you believe that you have nothing more to give from your life. And that, in turn, affects your health outcomes. You’re much more likely to go into decline if you don’t think there’s a future for you.
But when you reframe your experience and start thinking younger, everything changes. Your emotions are more positive and you feel more able to just get on with life.
If you’ve ever told somebody that they seem to have boundless energy, then you’ve probably interacted with a person who has these kinds of feelings. They don’t place limits on what they can do. Instead, they drink fully from the cup of life. They might be seventy, but inside, they have the same mentality as a twenty-year-old.
And that belief that you’re okay can create both emotional and physical changes in your body.