STEP 2 of 12: The Power of Belief - Placebo Effect

So what is belief? Where does it come from? And why does it even matter to take time to analyze why you believe something? To continue using our public speaking example, you might just say: "Well I don't like public speaking. I'm just bad at it, and that's all there is to it. It’s just the way I am!" Well that is the way you are, and there are clear, understandable, and changeable reasons for why you hold those beliefs about yourself. Simply put, our current state in life is the product, the result of that which we have come to believe about ourselves. Your ever-building thoughts and actions have created the "you" that you identify as yourself today. This is something I believe extends much deeper beyond mere traits and abilities. I believe this to also be true in an even deeper, spiritual way. And one thing that I think clearly demonstrates the pure inward power of belief is the Placebo Effect.

In case you’re not familiar with it already, the Placebo Effect is a well-known and documented occurrence that takes place in studies when a portion of participants experience a physical result, usually a measurable medically-related result, without actually being given the “cure” that's actually being tested on those participants. Simply put, just because people "believe" there is a chance that they will experience a given result, they actually then experience the result of that expectation. If you're a big believer in some of the new age understandings like The Law of Attraction, then this should naturally make a lot of sense to you. This is simply a basic truth of life. What we focus on in our minds and believe to be true, ultimately affects our outcome. The more confidence you have in a given result, the more likely you will be to experience that result you expected.

One astounding example of this rather common phenomenon is mentioned in this placebo effect article by the FDA. Dr. Stephen Straus, M.D. describes how one of his patients, a woman in her 30s, who was “very significantly impaired,” but that “her strength was restored during a study to test the effectiveness of an experimental chronic fatigue drug.” However, in that study, the woman was one of many who were given a placebo pill rather than a pill containing the experimental drug. Dr. Straus remarks that, “She was amazed by the revelation that she’d gotten better on placebo.”

How is this possible? How can it be that up to 1/3 of people in some studies experience a positive result simply because of their expectations? Because belief is that powerful in producing physical results! So the fact that almost all respected studies nowadays use a placebo control group is because there is such a large likelihood that just the belief alone will create results in and of itself. Right now, your brain is full of a number of beliefs and feelings about yourself, all of which influence you day-to-day outcomes. So wouldn't it be helpful to identify what your current beliefs are and look at how they might be affecting the level of confidence being displayed in your outward actions? The first step to change is awareness, so let’s start learning what your own beliefs are, and take a look at what kinds of results they are currently producing for you.

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