Countless medical studies have shown just how dramatically our beliefs influence our health. People who believe they’re getting a new drug or treatment can experience improvements in mood or profound relief from pain – even when they’re in the placebo group. Our beliefs can alter how toxins affect us. And on the “nocebo” side of the equation (a negative placebo effect) we can even generate signs and symptoms of diseases we don’t have.
In one Japanese study, subjects known to have a strong reaction to poison ivy were told that one of their arms was being rubbed with poison ivy. Yikes! But researchers actually touched them with the leaf of a harmless plant. Every participant broke out in a poison-ivy-like rash.
The subjects were told that their other arm would be rubbed with a harmless plant. Instead, the researchers rubbed real poison ivy on them! But only two out of thirteen people had a reaction to it.
We can make ourselves sick and we can make ourselves well. The key is the incredible power of belief. It’s been thoroughly and indisputably proven, yet few people consciously exploit this magic on a regular basis. I’d like to change that.
As a start, I suggest we practice observing positive belief every time we put something into our bodies.
When you eat, try getting yourself mentally and emotionally enrolled in a positive expectation about how you’ll be affected by it. Admire the food. Tell yourself it’s going to be deeply nourishing. Your body is going to efficiently extract the nutrients and deliver them to all your tissues. It’s totally reasonable to expect that it will support clear thinking, high energy and mental calm, glowing skin, efficient digestion, optimal organ function, strong immunity, etc.
For best results I recommend building your expectations for a minute at the beginning of the meal, remembering this from time to time during the meal, and then happily anticipating the benefits after the meal.
You might even try bringing your attention inward, visualizing the nutrients being absorbed through your intestines and flowing into all of your cells, and telling yourself, “I allow myself to receive the fullest, most complete health benefit from this food” – or whatever words feel natural to you.
What happens when you say to yourself or a dining partner, “I feel really good from this food. My body thrives on good food. I can already tell that this meal is exactly what I needed”?
This should be even easier to do with supplements, herbs, and drugs, since you’re consuming them with a specific healing purpose and outcome in mind. Don’t forget it. Tell yourself as you swallow them (or apply them, if topical) that they’re going to do what they’re intended to do, that they’re perfectly compatible with your body, that the benefits are already starting (whether you can feel it or not).
If you make a practice of priming yourself to expect good things you’re significantly more likely to experience good things, to notice the good things, and to be grateful for them.