You can be your own placebo! We have all heard of the placebo affect, but have we ever really considered how we can really use it to our advantage. This became quite clear to me after reading a very insightful and inspirational book.
My son read this book and highly recommended it, so I borrowed his copy. It is a new book by Deepak Chopra called, Super Brain. This book does a fantastic job of demonstrating how we can learn to better use our brains for improved health, happiness and well-being, and all concepts are well supported using much scientific evidence, including the placebo affect.
One of the suggestions in the book is a simple method to strengthen our memory. It suggests that we try to remember things rather than always writing them down. For example, when you are shopping, try to remember the things you need to buy rather than writing out a list.
This book discusses the placebo effect in great deal and provides much evidence as to how strong the mind and body connection really is. If we can alter the health of our body just by thinking that we are going to get well from a sugar pill, then we should be able to re-create this process with the right conditions and without the deceptive sugar pill.
The part of the book that I felt could be very beneficial in the prevention/recovery of running injuries is the section on "How to be your own Placebo." The placebo effect basically involves self healing in which the mind is cooperating and contributing to getting well. Fear and doubt do not interfere with the healing process as they often do when we are injured or ill.
If we cut our finger, we don't worry and wonder if it is going to heal. We trust that it will heal on its own and we let it go. The mind doesn't interfere and bring doubt and fear into the picture. Our mind trusts the healing system in our body, we forget about it and healing happens naturally and quickly.
Wouldn't it be great if we could develop the ability to take this approach towards all injuries and illnesses. This ability would start with a strong mind and body connection and the mental intention to heal or to prevent injury or illness without deception.
When the mind and body connection is strong, the body is in constant communication with the mind. We follow our instincts and discover what it is that our body needs to heal or to stay healthy. Then we allow the healing response to take place without interfering. Fear and doubt are not present.
Developing a strong mind and body connection is not difficult but it does require patience and time. However, it can become your best defense in preventing injury and illness from creeping into your life.
It doesn't have to be complicated but it does need to be a consistent practice. A simple way to practice is to sit quietly with eyes closed and feel your body. Sensations will arise and come to the surface. Allow the process to happen without reacting to what you are feeling. Just relax with each sensation as it enters your awareness. Notice where each sensation comes from. Try to find its source.
This exercise helps us to become more aware of the quiet messages that our body sends. We usually only listen when the body speaks loudly such as when we experience sharp pain, illnesses, stiffness or other discomforts in our bodies. As you practice you will be increasing your sensitivity and ability to trust at the same time.
Self healing (the placebo effect) works when the following conditions are present:
There is still much to be understood about the healing process. But because we know the placebo effect is a real phenomenon, we know that we have a part to play in our own healing. If we can learn how to be our own placebo, we can be prepared for any injury or illness that arises and approach it with confidence rather than with fear and anxiety.
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