THE POWER OF THE HUMAN MIND
Do you know how powerful the human mind is? Your beliefs, just your
thoughts alone, control so much of what happens to you physically.
Dr. Bernie Siegel, a doctor who has worked intensively with mental
techniques to reduce pain and help heal diseases, has reviewed many
studies on the effect of the placebo. A placebo effect is where
a patient is made to believe he will get better or overcome a disease
after taking some remedy such as a pill. Actually the pill has nothing
in it to make the patient better -- usually the pills are sugar
or some other common, everyday substance. With a placebo, it is
the patient's belief that he will get better that actually heals
him. In his book, Love, Medicine, and Miracles, Dr. Bernie Siegel
reports on a study done in England. This experiment took a group
of men and gave them a placebo, telling them it was chemotherapy
treatment. People generally believe they are going to lose their
hair when they go through chemotherapy. Of these men given a placebo,
thirty percent had their hair fall out! The power of your beliefs
are incredible -- even more powerful than you realize!
My mother had cancer herself and has overcome it. Just before going
through chemotherapy, she had to decide whether to order a wig or
not. She knew it was a good possibility she would lose her hair.
She would have to order the wig ahead of time, so she would have
it if she were to lose her hair. After reading about the study above,
she made a very bold and courageous decision. She decided she was
not going to order a wig, because then she would be convincing herself
that she was going to lose her hair. She didn't order the wig, and
had mental determination to stay and look healthy -- she convinced
herself that she would keep her hair. My mother's decision to not
order that wig, and her mental determination, kept her with a full,
beautiful head of hair! I respect you mother for your courage and
USA Today Wednesday, May 25th, 1994 did an article on the awesome
power of the human mind. Judith Turner of the University of Washington
Seattle, studied the outcome of placebos on back pain therapy. Her
conclusions, in the May 25th, 1994 Journal of the American Medical
Association were based on the review of three books and 75 articles
published over 15 years -- one of the most comprehensive ever on
placebos. What she found was staggering. She found studies showing
the placebo working effectively as a cure up to 70% of the time
in patients getting ineffective treatments for many disorders.
Studies show when asthma patients are given an inhaler filled with
water, their airways will expand if they're told it contains a potent
new drug. A study of 2,504 back surgeries for lumbar disk disease
showed that even when no problem was found-- and patients were just
stitched up -- 43% had relief of pain anyway, because they merely
thought the surgery fixed some problem.
The power of the human mind is awesome, but can be harmful if not
used the right way. Just as we cure physical pain and diseases with
the human mind, we may cause these same things with negative thoughts.
And just as we may cause physical changes in our body by our beliefs
and expectations, we can cause changes in our mental abilities by
our expectations and beliefs. What are your beliefs about how much
you can learn and how fast you can work? As we can see from these
experiments which have given us insight into how much our beliefs
affect our bodies functioning, we can see how our expectations of
our own mental abilities, how good we think we are in certain subjects
for example, affects our performance in each of those areas.