The Power of the Placebo Effect


Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours.” – Illusions

How powerful are beliefs?

An encouraging phrase we hear to get us through difficult moments or feats of endurance is, “Mind over matter!”. It means keep pushing, keep going. Keep telling yourself that you can do it even if your body is telling you that you can’t. It’s a way to teach ourselves to test the limits, but it can do so much more.

The underlying sentiment behind “mind over matter” relates to the placebo effect theory. If we’ve come across this theory before it’s probably been explained as fake medicine that usually creates a positive effect. There’s something “unknown” that happens within us and produces a correlative change when we simply believe a real treatment has taken place.

It’s this belief that holds the power and unlocks a part of our mind. The part that alters our perceptions and lets us accept a new reality. This is the true power of the placebo effect and can be used to upgrade the meaning of “mind over matter” for good.


Whether or not the scientific principles behind the placebo effect are 100% understood, the fact is that “truth” is being called into question. When the placebo effect is active the subject doesn’t know what the truth of the treatment is -real or fake. Yet they respond as if it’s real nonetheless. Interestingly, even when given the placebo someone can still feel negative side effects as if they reacted poorly to a real treatment.

Essentially what all this means is that our bodies don’t determine the reality of our experiences as much as our minds do. What we believe -or want to believe- actually affects how we feel about ourselves. Thus our emotional state, where our anxieties, depression, and pain resides, is under our control. As impossible as it sounds, the truth is that we have much more influence over our mental and emotional states than we know. This allows us to choose our reality in ways we couldn’t before because the “truth” is no longer true. Only what’s true to us matters.


The power of the placebo effect is that it opens the door to our mind which can be unlocked and utilized at any time. Then we just have to learn to walk through and take back personal truths that will enhance our everyday life. The key is that we must believe in these new truths as deeply as though they are the “truth” -no if’s, and’s, or but’s.

We can create a new reality just by changing how we view our circumstances. It’s as simple as choosing to believe in a new story -one where we see ourselves as the brave hero instead of the terrorized victim. Of course we can’t erase our past or emotions, but we can choose to frame our experiences through new empowering beliefs that allow us to rewrite our story. Then we can write a story that supports us through struggles and makes us stronger because of our beliefs, not despite them.

A chalkboard with a hand covering the "im" of "impossible"

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