When we think of side effects the first thing that springs to mind are the side effects of drugs. But who’d have thought that kindness could have side effects too? Well, it does! And positive ones at that.
Look at grass. We say it is green. But it’s not inherently green. It’s green for us because we have 3 photoreceptors in our eyes that are sensitive to specific wavelengths of light. If we had different photoreceptors, grass would appear different.
One of the most important advances in the neuroscience of the placebo effect is that in studies so far, belief, or expectation, shifts biochemistry, causing the brain to produce what it needs to produce to deliver the result the person believes is supposed to happen.
I recently chatted with a girl who has had rheumatoid arthritis since she was a child. Now in her late 20s, she’s taken painkillers for years. When she was first diagnosed, a nurse instructed her to imagine her painkillers travelling to her joints and then dissolving into little particles and spreading out over the joints, soothing them and reducing swelling and pain.
I love doing affirmations and have used them for many years. My recent Hay House Radio show (Monday 30th April 2012) was on ‘The Power of Affirmations’, where I went into the science of how they work and their impact upon the brain and body. Near the end of the show, I read out my Top-Ten list of affirmations and several people have since got in touch to ask if I could put them down on paper.
I’ve written a lot about the links between kindness and ageing, and part of my focus has been that kindness is the opposite of stress, at least in terms of how it makes us feel and the physiological consequences of those feelings.
I broke my wee toe about three weeks ago. I have such a dangerous job – I was preparing to give a talk, walking around my office speaking aloud as I refined how I was going to describe one particular topic, and I hit my toe on the radiator.