Can your thoughts, either positive or negative affect your health? It may sound like science fiction, but there is plenty of scientific evidence that shows this to be true.

Most people don’t want to believe that they have caused their own illnesses. It’s much easier to be a random victim of a germ “you caught”. It’s more acceptable to believe that someone “gave you” this illness, and that your only fault was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Finding fault or blame about how you got sick is not my intention. However, understanding the role your unconscious thoughts and feelings play in affecting your immune system can help you prevent future illness. Furthermore, when you accept that your thoughts affect your health, you will also learn that they can help you in a faster recovery.

You may be reluctant to believe that thoughts have the power to get you sick. But one obvious example of how people achieve self-healing through their beliefs is seen in the placebo effect. Placebos have been documented to be effective on anything from pain relief, be it physical or emotional, to cancer.

This is not a new phenomenon, and in fact the Greek philosopher Plato wrote about it. It’s confusing that there seems to be some shame associated with healing from a placebo, instead of rejoicing. It’s spoken about as if you were “fooled” into healing yourself, rather than celebrating your ability to heal yourself with your thoughts and feelings. Whenever you take a pharmaceutical medication, you run the risk of unwanted side effects, contraindications for other symptoms on top of spending money for that privilege!

What is the placebo effect?

Placebo effect is defined as a change in the body that occurs as a result of the symbolic significance which one attributes to an event or object. Simply put, a pill, injection, a healer’s touch is believed to have power to heal, and it does!

Studies show that somewhere between 30 – 50% of the population heals with the placebo effect. In the use of anti-depressants the range is even higher, being estimated at up to 90%. It’s empowering to realize that you have the ability to heal within yourself.

However, there is another side to this story: there is an opposite effect of the placebo. Its evil twin is called the “nocebo” effect. The nocebo is as powerful as a placebo, but in the opposite direction. In other words, a negative thought can make you sick, just as a positive thought can make you well.

An often repeated incident that occurred in 1957 exemplifies the placebo and nocebo effect in the patient, Mr. Wright. Told that his large tumors were cancer of the lymph system, his doctors offered a new chemical formula called “krebiozen” for treatment. It was touted by the media as a miracle cure, but the medical establishment was less convinced.

Wright’s cancer was so far advanced that physicians initially considered excluding him from the research study, but finally included him as a compassionate exception. What happened next is where the “miracle” comes in. Mr. Wright had such a profound change in condition; tumors shrank to almost undetectable, he gained weight UNTIL the local papers reported that the drug was useless. After reading the news reports, Mr. Wright’s condition immediately worsened.

The doctors, realizing the power of suggestibility in Mr. Wright’s condition, told him that the dose they gave him was not the full potency. They said they’d start with the strong dose, which was actually just sterile water. He then showed the immediate and dramatic improvements again. Unfortunately, the newspapers again undermined the doctors by reporting krebiozen worthless against cancer. Mr. Wright’s condition reversed immediately, and he died shortly thereafter.

The placebo can cure; nocebo can harm. It has been estimated that 70% of our daily thoughts are negative and redundant. When you are not using your conscious mind in conversation, problem solving, planning or other similar activities, your subconscious mind is carrying on a constant stream of thoughts. This doesn’t even stop when you are sleeping. How much of your life is effected by the violence, negativity and fear instilled from watching, reading and listening to bad news?

You may not even be aware of the constant stream of negative self-talk from your inner voice. “How could you say that? I can’t believe how stupid I am, ugly, I can’t do that… “ The criticism from your childhood; the unhappy memories of being teased, put down. All these words are stored in your subconscious mind. These words not only hold you back in life in the present, but they also have the ability to get you sick!

Your positive or negative thoughts affect your health. If you value your health you cannot afford to ignore your habitual negative self-talk. How do you turn off the nocebo effect? How do you stop the negative self talk and replace it with supportive, loving, forgiving words to yourself? There are many effective strategies that will take conscious and continuous practice until new positive self-talk and habits are established. This can be achieved using a variety of different therapeutic interventions and by focusing your feelings, thoughts and even moving your body. Make sure you look for the good in your in life and you will find it. Pay attention to your self-talk and replace the negative with positive. There’s so much good all around you when you look for it!

Author's Bio: 

Lianda Ludwig, MS, Author, Speaker, and Educator, reminds you the flight cabin attendant’s words, “In case of an emergency, put on your own oxygen mask first, and then help others!”
According to Lianda, “Happiness, Wellbeing and Success is what happens when what you think, feel, say and do are in alignment with your heart’s compass… when not, that creates stress.”
Through her writing, Lianda educates and recommends alternative care products and strategies to help you achieve well-being and abundant health. Lianda is a Communication Skills specialist and licensed HeartMath© Stress Relief coach. She was a popular speaker and Behavioral Therapist at Canyon Ranch Health Resort. Her blogs and articles are known for humor, creative imagery and famous quotes to illustrate her points.

Lianda’s Best Selling book as a co-author, “Align Expand and Succeed: Shifting the paradigm of entrepreneurial success”, about creating conscious business hit #1 in 4 categories on Amazon!
Get her FREE report , “10 Myths even your doctor believes; 2010’s Worst Prescription drugs and what YOU can do to protect your health” on her website