Jessica Golden

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The power of our mind is truly fascinating and the more we learn about it, the more it intrigues us. There have been numerous attempts to master psychic powers to manipulate others and even move objects through telekinesis (ability to move physical objects using the power of one's mind). The mere thought of attaining superhuman like psychic powers will excite any person. It is not however proven that such amazing powers could be attained by humans. There are some who claim to possess such gifts but it's widely debated. Whether or not we believe in psychic abilities we cannot deny the true power of the mind. Our mind has a lot to offer us and surprisingly it is accessible to everyone.

The brain is the most complex part of our human body. Our brain is like a huge storage device for stocking up all kinds of information. It is estimated that our brain can hold between 10 to 100 terabytes of data. Humans have been able to dominate this world because of their brain. All kinds of inventions, ideas, artistic works, etc. have all originated from our brain. Even without having any special psychic powers we can say that our brain can make us into superheroes. There is really no limit to the ability of our brain. There are even gifted individuals whose brain power surpasses the rest of us. They are capable of performing extraordinary tasks which we can only dream about.

Putting aside the known capabilities of the brain it would be certainly wonderful if the brain could give us a little bit more than the usual menu. Enter "the placebo effect"! Remember how our elders used to preach us that we need to be more optimistic in our views and that if we really believe in something we can do it. Well, that is actually true. The word "placebo" is a Latin word meaning "I shall please". The mind is powerful but its power is limited to the will power of the beholder. In other words, if you feel that you are strong enough to run a marathon, then you will complete it. If you believe that you can study hard and excel, then you will have the power to study. If you believe you can fly, well you need to get on an aeroplane because there is a limit to this power of course! However if you don't have the confidence to pursue your dreams and remain pessimistic then your brain will fail you even though it is within your capability. The only person who decides whether you can or cannot do something is 'you'. This is great but still it's not all that the placebo effect can do.

There is a lot more to the placebo effect than just will power and endurance. Let us consider a scenario in which a really sick person visits a doctor for a remedy. The doctor examines the patient and gives him a prescription. He tells the patient that if he takes the medicine for a week he will be completely cured. The patient believes the doctor and follows his instruction. In a week's time he is fully healed just like the doctor said. This seems to be like a normal story right? But there is a twist to this tale. The medicine that the doctor had provided the patient was not really a wonder potion but just a sugar pill (a 'placebo'). So how did the patient get healed then? Who healed him? The answer- placebo effect! The patient did not take any medicine which was capable of healing him. Yet he did not know that the pill was worthless. His mind did not know that it was being tricked. He was thinking that the medicine which the doctor gave him was potent and capable of curing him. The moment he thought this, the curing process began. The mind visualized the healing process and in turn healed him on its own.

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This may seem to be weird at first but it is no hoax. Let me give you another example of the placebo effect. In a research, untrained athletes were given a placebo and made to think that they were given amino acids to boost their strength. The strength of the athletes who received the placebo increased by 20%. Similarly during another survey, athletes ran 8% faster after taking a placebo. They thought that they were given highly oxygenated water when in truth they were given just plain water. This effect was consistent and 84% of the runners who received the placebo ran faster after taking it. I can quote a number of cases to prove the placebo effect but I guess I have made my point already.

So what do we understand from this? Those who succeed are the ones who have the confidence in themselves. Sickness can strike anyone and many give up on ever getting well again. But those who have the faith that they will get well and start living are the ones who will be cured. A spiritual healer gets his healing power from his faith and from the faith of the person who is being healed. You may put in all your hard work and strive hard every day but if you do not have belief in your own ability, you will fall short. The strength of the placebo comes from your faith, confidence and will power. If you do not have such attributes, then the placebo will have no effect on you.

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