A Case for placebos

From Web MD: A placebo is anything that seems to be a “real” medical treatment — but isn’t. It could be a pill, a shot, or some other type of “fake” treatment. What all placebos have in common is that they do not contain an active substance meant to affect health. Sometimes a person can have a response to a placebo.  The response can be positive or negative. For instance, the person’s symptoms may improve. Or the person may have what appears to be side effects from the treatment. These responses are known as the “placebo effect.”

For instance, in one study, people were given a placebo and told it was a stimulant. After taking the pill, their pulse rate sped up, their blood pressure increased, and their reaction speeds improved. When people were given the same pill and told it was to help them get to sleep, they experienced the opposite effects.

Okay, so right about now you’re wondering why we’re writing about the placebo effect in Seymour Magazine…here’s the part that interests us:

Research on the placebo effect has focused on the relationship of mind and body. One of the most common theories is that the placebo effect is due to a person’s expectations. If a person expects a pill to do something, then it’s possible that the body’s own chemistry can cause effects similar to what a medication might have caused.

Experts also say that there is a relationship between how strongly a person expects to have results and whether or not results occur. The stronger the feeling, the more likely it is that a person will experience positive effects.

It would follow then, that this ‘placebo effect’ could be transposed to any area of life, not just Medicine. Creatives- artists, writers, musicians, etc are notoriously plagued by doubt…what if they were able to eradicate doubt by replacing it with the placebo of knowing.

In his famous poem The Second Coming, the poet W.B. Yeats wrote: “The best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” This is not at all meant to say that all passionate people are bad…he just meant to illustrate that failure may have more to do with lack of conviction than with the project itself; and that those who succeed often do so, because they passionately believe that their success is possible.

So, we humbly suggest that the next time you have a project that you want to complete successfully, rather than doubt and assume it won’t happen: just expect the results to be the way you want them to be.

ad1ae31f7d309c29af3bc6d41fa595c3This in no way means just sitting on the couch with a tub of butterscotch ice cream and fifth of Whiskey and indulging inactively in wishful thinking. It simply means actively acting on your desire, taking concrete steps to set it in motion and bring it to fruition, all the while expecting that positive results will occur.

If you need an extra boost: make yourself a placebo pill: take a bunch of sugar cubes and put them in a jar. Label them with whatever you need most: Courage, perseverance, patience… Take one each morning, and watch your world change.

Published: July 15th, 2014

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A Case for Kon-tiki

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