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: