A placebo is defined as a harmless substance or procedure meant to benefit emotionally more than physically, although due to its positive psychological impact, this in turn positively impacts us physically.
Placebos are now developed and used for their powerful emotional impact – the world of science and commerce has begun to take note, and to find ways – for better and worse – to make use of them:
Shopping for something beautiful when you’re recovering from a difficult surgery. Having friends over for dinner when you’ve been through a stressful week. Experiencing a sense of well-being and relief when you get to a physician who helps you.
These are examples of placebos that help you feel better than you had, not because they added some physical support, but because they added emotional support. One ‘placebo’ that does both is to get out into Nature. It’s been shown that the plant world, it’s smells, sights and even textures positively impact us for the better, both emotionally and physically.
Some man-made placebos are meant to manipulate us into purchasing something – ‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friend’ (de Boer and Marilyn Monroe); ‘You can never be too rich or too thin’ (Wallace Simpson, Duchess of Windsor); fast expensive cars; name-brand watches. These and many more do bring a hit of joy; then gradually disappear unless we make an effort to address the issue that generated a need for those placebos.
Placebos are wonderful, if they add lasting calm, and a distraction if not.
Quote of the Week
“Not knowing that eating something we have just eaten is bad for our health is in some cases good for our health.”
– Mokokoma Mokhonoana
Harnessing the power of placebos
I hope you enjoyed this article. When you’re ready to take the next step on your life journey, book a free 20 min consultation with me.