We’ve known times without number how powerful the brain is. Sometimes we can trick our brains to do the seemingly impossible. Other times, our brain tricks us that the situation is seemingly impossible. Placebo and Nocebo effects are no different. Hope you’ve heard of Placebo before; A patient swallows a sugar pill that lacks active medicine and yet pain falls away, nausea recedes, mood lifts. It was first experimented by John Haygarth, a British physician, in 1799. God knows how many years the pharmaceutic industry has made money from this. Since you have heard a lot about Placebo, let’s delve more into Nocebo. How is it applicable in our everyday lives?
Nocebo is on the other side of the extreme; it is when the placebo makes you feel worse. So, basically, a doctor gives you a sugar pill and tells you there will be side effects; every time you take the medicine, you will feel dizzy, nausea and a little migraine. Though the drug has no medical effect, you will still anticipate and experience the side effects for real. Have you ever felt sick and then googled it before? What happens after you know all the symptoms you are supposed to have and how deadly the disease is?
Sometimes what we know causes us to worry, be anxious and fear. This is why we say ignorance is bliss. Not that being ignorant is a good thing, but sometimes not knowing how painful or distressing something is, makes us more positive to face it upfront. The word “melancholy” relates to both intelligence and sadness. When you know a lot, it can easily make you sad. You simply look all around and all you see is people living in bondage without knowing they could be free. It’s simply heartbreaking to see people choose folly, stupidity and mediocrity time and again. As if they have been programmed to be that stupid.
Sometimes what we know can stop us from experiencing what we don’t know, even if it may be a good experience. Our brain is super excellent at relating seemingly unrelated things together. Like when someone who promised to text you forgets and it reminds you of when your teacher in Primary 4 promised to reward you for your outstanding performance but didn’t. It was the beginning of you not trusting people too much anymore. This Nocebo effect cautions us from experiencing something tremendous in our lives just because we remember a similar situation in the past where we failed or were disappointed.
Our brain not only picks the cue from only our experiences but from other people’s experiences we know of as well. Perhaps, the reason why certain unnecessarily weird circumstances keep coming our way is that we keep “hoping” for it to happen. Just because it happened to your mother; it’s a thing in your family; it happened to the only one who was courageous enough to try; it happened to someone you feel you are a really like; doesn’t mean it will happen to you. Until you get it out of your subconscious mind and stop anticipating its manifestation, it is more likely to happen. It is unnecessary to know everything that can go wrong if you don’t care to know what could go right. You don’t want sound mental health?
So I entrust you to look for the good things in life; look for the good in people you relate to and hope that they manifest in your life as well. We all know that there are bad times and tough seasons in life but please; don’t carry that burden in your subconscious mind and be anticipating weird negative scenarios. You are not a hero for predicting doom accurately. Rather anticipate you coming out of the difficult times stronger and better. Let your hopes be good.
I love you
3 thoughts on “Nocebo Effect: What Is Your Brain Looking Forward To?”
Keep writing Daniel
Thank you so much Pearl. You’re an encouragement to me