Some patients will feel better after taking a medication even if the drug doesn’t actually do anything to treat their condition. It’s called the “placebo effect.” But there’s another side to the power of suggestion: Patients may develop symptoms and side effects purely because they’ve been told about them.
A new report analyzes the so-called “nocebo effect” and suggests that doctors learn how to better “exploit the power of words” for the benefit of patients. Patients themselves are crucial players, too, said study lead author Dr. Winfried Hauser, an associate professor of psychosomatic medicine at the Klinikum Saarbrucken in Germany.
“It is not only the power of the mostly unintentionally negative words of physicians and nurses, but also the power of negative expectations, negative experiences and fears of the patients,” Hauser said.
That’s an interesting report. That’s also something the Bible has shown. Are the researchers finally catching up? There is power in our words. Negative words cause death—death in terms of sickness and disease. It’s not just negative words. Words that don’t build up or encourage do the opposite.
This includes words we speak to ourselves. Does our self-talk help or harm? Our speech comes from what is down deep within us. If negative speech comes out, it’s because negative resides within us.
This is important for weight loss. Weight loss is challenging. We have our ups and downs. What we say about it can change how we feel about it and how we feel about it can change whether we are successful or not.
So give yourself an encouraging pep talk when things are difficult. Why are you down today? Meditate on a good verse of the Bible. You will soon feel the power of living words.