Scientists have discovered a new depression treatment more powerful than Prozac, Effexor, and the other four leading antidepressants currently on the market: your mind.
You've probably heard of the Placebo Effect.
It's become so ubiquitous that we rarely stop to consider its mind-blowing implications, even though it effectively “treats” everything from acute pain to chronic fatigue.
But, because of its clinically questionable ethics and the fact that we don’t fully understand how it works, many tend to write it off as evidence that people are gullible and too easily manipulated; the clinical version of a P.T. Barnum menagerie.
However, if you really examine the Placebo Effect, I mean really think about its implications, it’ll flip your whole world upside down.
Can our imaginations heal us?
Can our belief systems reverse sickness?
Taken out of context, these questions sound utterly ridiculous, right? And yet, there’s undeniable evidence supporting both counts.
For reasons still not understood, the simple belief that one is being treated from sickness (whether founded or not) leads to actual healing, improvement of symptoms, and in some cases, complete reversal of illness.
Since the early 1960s, virtually every clinical drug trial has been required by the FDA to be “placebo-controlled,” meaning that, in order to become an approved drug, it has to prove itself more effective than a placebo. In other words, a lot of drugs work, but few work better than your brain.
This is not to say that your belief systems alone can heal all ailments, it’s just to say that you have an incredibly potent drug sitting between your ears, and that’s a powerful position to be in.
This "potent drug" is the reason I refuse to call myself a “health coach,” and instead opt for the title of “Wellness and Accountability Coach.” A health coach will tell you what to eat, when to work out, and how to make healthy lifestyle choices.
An Accountability Coach (which, for the record, is a title of my own creation) will do the same, but also ensure you’re leveraging the most powerful tool you have when it comes to your health and wellbeing: that lump of pillowy mass inside your scull, which is, paradoxically, both predisposed for negativity and overflowing with positive potential.
While this may sound like therapy, it’s not. Therapy is, in many ways, concerned about uncovering the “why’s.” Why do I act like this? Why am I this way? It's highly interested in the past and what has been.
Coaching, on the other hand, is all about future potential and action; finding what works and leveraging it. If a certain behavior produces positive results, we work on replicating, regimenting, and reproducing that behavior, regardless of why it works. For example, if meditating doesn’t seem to be reducing your stress, but beading bracelets, for whatever reason, transports you to a place of total flow, great. Grab the string, and let’s do it.
Coaching, in a sense, is all about finding your personal placebo pill combination; building a collection of little actions that allow your brain to do its best work and heal whatever ails you from the inside out. What makes you feel happy, well, and healthy? Is it yoga? Salads? Spending time in the outdoors?
Whatever your particular placebo cocktail might be, your best life means ensuring you take it with regimented consistency, just as you would an actual medication.