Who hasn’t heard of placebo? We’ve heard about those experiments where people were given sugar pills (essentially, nothing) while being said to receive an actual drug that will improve their condition, and have experienced changes for the better. That is what placebo is all about – receiving a pill that “does nothing” and self-inducing positive side effects by the power of thought. But have you ever heard of placebo having an ‘evil twin?’ It’s called nocebo and further strengthens the notion that we can ‘make’ or ‘break’ ourselves.
As explained in a Harvard Health Publishing article, just like ‘placebo can make patients feel better for no reason, nocebo can make them feel worse for no reason.’ By ‘no reason,’ experts from Harvard refer to actual drugs with clinically proven results. However, there is a reason, and those are our thoughts.
And no, this is not The Secret book mumbo-jumbo. In the words of John Kelley, Ph.D. of Harvard
Medical School’s Program in Placebo Studies & Therapeutic Encounter, the power of imagination is quite remarkable. “If you ask someone to imagine a visual scene in their minds, you can see on an MRI that their occipital lobes — the parts of their brains involved with a vision — are activated. If you tell people to imagine doing some physical activity, you’ll see the motor cortex showing activation. Just imagining something is happening is enough to activate those portions of the brain associated with that thought, or worry, or pain.” (source: WebMD)
Whether You Think Pills Will or Won’t Help – You’re Probably Right
As shown in one of the trials, when told that a pill they take will have negative side-effects, patients are more likely to feel them, even though a pill doesn’t produce those side-effects (or any) (source: Harvard Health Publishing). That’s what nocebo does to us.
What is the Rad advice we can get from these findings? If you are taking medication, or even supplements, be optimistic about your decision to take them and believe in their effectiveness. Simply put, control the shitty thoughts that might come along. Essentially, this applies to anything in life – if we feed our mind with shit, the shit will surround us. If we give it flowers, we’ll get more of those. Have a wonderful, rad-thoughts-induced day. Be your own Rad-cebo, nocebo no can do.