I’ve had annoying, but relatively mild, pain on the right side of my abdomen for the past four days. The four days part is unusual, because I’m used to my body working through things faster than that.
So, yesterday, I finally scheduled an appointment at my doctor’s office for this afternoon. Wouldn’t you know that I’m starting to feel better now. Does that ever happen to you? You schedule a doctor appointment, then get better before the appointment. Maybe it’s the fiber I’ve added to my diet. But this NPR story, about the how the mind influences the body, makes me wonder if there is some kind of placebo effect going on.
The article is full of interesting explanations about the placebo effect, how distraction can help us cope with pain, and the power of mindfulness meditation. I knew a lot of this stuff, but it helps to be reminded. I’ve been telling my clients, “What we practice, we get better at.” So, I really like the example, at the end of the article, about how practicing the violin for 8 hours a day is going to make a person better at playing the violin. (I’m trying not to think about potential neck pain. Quick, move on to something else! Like beautiful violin music!)
If we’ve practiced worrying enough to get good at worrying, it’s going to take some times to strengthen the hopefulness (or mindfulness) pathways in the brain, so that we get better at hopefulness, positive thinking and enjoying the present moment.
I’m definitely feeling better – not 100%, but better. I’ll probably keep my appointment, because I’ve blocked out the time, and I like my PA. I bet she tells me to eat more fiber.
Now, back to that beautiful violin music:
February 3, 2016 at 5:22 pm
Update: my PA’s office just called. She needs to reschedule. Hope she’s okay.
February 3, 2016 at 5:50 pm
When I was 37 I had cancer. The surgeon had to remove half of my colon and one third of my stomach. I have three children at that time the youngest was 4 and the oldest was 12. After surgery I was concerned about a relapse, but at the same time I wanted to go home to my family. My surgeon had a talk with me and I asked what my chances were of surviving, That wonderful doctor told me that the mind is a powerful thing, and I should keep a positive attitude. We talked about this for about an hour or so. He told me I was doing well and he got it all. Right there I made up my mind that I was finished with cancer. Two days later he let me go home.
I am now pushing 73 and have beautiful grandchildren. It works. :o)
February 3, 2016 at 8:42 pm
Thank you for that wonderful story, Patricia! 🙂
February 3, 2016 at 8:04 pm
I’m glad you are feeling somewhat better. I think everything you said is true. The body/mind connection is strong. I think we can heal ourselves ultimately, but in the meantime we sometimes need medical help. Doing what we can do, like eating well and meditation helps. It’s all like a giant puzzle with lots of pieces to fit together. I hope you get to feeling 100% soon.
Beautiful music. Thanks!
February 3, 2016 at 8:45 pm
Thank you, Mary. I believe my body is telling me to practice what I “preach” and meditate more consistently. I will honor my body’s wisdom with my mind and actions.
February 3, 2016 at 10:52 pm
I’m glad the placebo effect worked in your favor, JoAnna, and that you’re feeling better. The blueberries in the photo are very appealing! 🙂 And I have you down for February 10th for the Blesstival … I just linked it here to your blog for now. Wellbeing-wishes to you. xoxo Jamie
February 4, 2016 at 2:39 am
Great! I’m looking forward to posting in the Blesstival! Those blue berries do look yummy. I forgot to mention I got that photo from pixabay.
February 3, 2016 at 10:53 pm
p.s. Your placebo post reminded me of one from Lissa Rankin talking about the ‘nocebo effect’ … same thing, opposite part of the spectrum. Really interesting.
February 4, 2016 at 2:47 am
Thanks for that info. I just found Lissa’s blog and I really like it!
February 4, 2016 at 8:53 am
Placebo effect is real! A positive attitude really does go a long way in healing our bodies and supporting it with the right kind of nutrition. Hope it is just a temporary ache 🙂
February 4, 2016 at 9:14 am
Thanks, Prajakta. I’m pretty sure it’s temporary. I’m listening to what my body is telling me with a positive attitude.
February 5, 2016 at 7:04 am
Yes, Patricia is right. Our cells don’t have a brain. They do what we think… Hugs.
February 5, 2016 at 9:10 am
Good point about them not having a brain. Thanks, Anna.