The more we study the mind, the more we find just how mysterious it can be sometimes.
The placebo effect is one great example of this. It’s a popular concept in psychology that describes how individuals can receive physical and mental benefits from a “pill” or “drug,” even when there are no medicinal properties in the drug. For example, often placebo pills are just “sugar pills” disguised as “real medicine.”
However, the reason the placebo effect works is because our minds have the expectation that the drug is supposed to do something positive, and our mind and body follow by making that expectation come true (a kind of self-fulfilling belief, but at a biological level).
The placebo effect is proof that our minds have some influence over our bodies. That doesn’t mean we can use placebos to cure serious illnesses or disorders (real medicine still serves its purpose!), but placebos can be a valuable tool in making small improvements in our overall health, mood, and well-being.
Usually placebo pills are prescribed without the patient knowing they’re “fake,” but new studies show placebo pills can work even when patients know they’re getting a sham drug.
This likely means that we can create our own placebo pills and still get a positive effect from them. I’ve been experimenting with placebo pills over the past month. Below are basic instructions you can use to create a placebo pill of your own.
How to create your own placebo pills:
- Buy empty gelatin caps. You can find them in most health/vitamin stores, but I picked up these cheap ones off of Amazon.
- Fill the gelatin caps with a harmless substance, like a pinch of sugar.
- Find an empty prescription bottle. Peel off the old label.
- Choose what you want the placebo pill to improve. For example:
- Create a new label with the name of your placebo pill. You can just call it something simple, like “Intelligence Pill,” or you can come up with a more creative and inspiring name, like “The Albert Einstein Super Genius Pill.”
- Add instructions to your label. For example, for my “Willpower Pill” I wrote: “Take one a day to improve willpower, motivation, and self-discipline.”
- Add the new label to your bottle.
- Take your placebo pill every morning you when feel you need that extra boost.
- Make multiple placebo pills for different things, then choose one a day depending on what you need a boost in most.
- You can make your “placebo pill” more effective by repeating positive affirmations while focusing on each before you put them in the bottle.
Please keep in mind: This is NOT real medication – and it should NOT be used to replace any kind of real medication. It’s just sugar. This is only meant to be used as a fun way to boost your motivation and attitude.
My example – “The Willpower Pill”
You can always make yours more creative, but this is how mine came out:
I’ve been taking one every other day for the past 2 weeks and I can definitely notice an improvement in my overall motivation and productivity. I haven’t experimented with different types of placebos yet, but I’m going to be trying more soon.
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