Sugar Pills

I remember watching an old Western on TV a long time ago.  The setting was a dusty, ramshackle town out in the middle of no where.  Citizens of this town did their best to carve a society out of their situation.  The main character, of course, was a dedicated Sheriff, and his side kick deputy.  There were regular characters breezing in and out, such as Doc, and Banker, and Bartender, and two ranchers whom always seemed to be fighting over water rights.

There were also characters seemingly pulled out of the transom, and written into the script.  Their stories wouldn’t stand alone, but made interesting side skits to follow along the main story.  The particular side story about which I’m remembering involved Doc, and an elderly woman who was, apparently, one of the towns socialites, and who was, apparently, a hypochondriac.

This poor woman would come to Doc, run down and tired, positive she’d contracted some egregious disease.  Doc would look all serious, and give the woman an examination.  After the examination, Doc would give the woman a jar of pills.  Doc would tell the woman these were the latest thing in medical treatment, and were designed specifically to cure what ailed her.

A little later on in the show,  Sheriff and Deputy were hauling this same woman off to spend the night in jail for causing a fight over in the bar.  A little further in the show, this same woman would be sitting in Docs office, run down and tired, and Doc would hand her a jar of pills.  This scenario repeated a couple of times throughout the show.

Toward the end of the show, Sheriff caught on that Doc was prescribing sugar pills to this elderly woman, and went to confront Doc about the practice.

“You’ve been giving Miss Maybell sugar pills all this time.” Sheriff accused.

“Works, don’t it?” Doc responded.

“But,” Sheriff added, “how can you justify charging her this much for sugar pills?”

“Part of the treatment.” Doc said, gathered some papers from his desk, opened a file drawer, and put the papers away as the credits started rolling.

This side skit in an old TV show expresses the positive power of the placebo effect.  A strong belief can actually change a persons physiology, and do so dynamically.  There is a flip side to this dynamic.  It’s been coined the nocebo effect.  As a placebo can effect positive change, a nocebo can effect negative change.

‘Cebos’ are not restricted to the form of sugar pills.  They are ingested also via words, and actions, and even the very thoughts you yourself think.  Sadly, it takes 16 positive ‘cebos’ to counteract one negative ‘cebo.’  This ratio can be overwhelming to overcome.

With this in mind, guard yourself against negativity.  Think positive thoughts.  Say, and do positive things.  Avoid not only people, but media whom express negativity.

Till next time, stay positive, and stay spectacular.

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  1. 2010/11/09 at 15:53

    Hello. Great job. I did not expect this on a Wednesday. This is a great story. Thanks!

  2. 2010/11/26 at 15:24

    Love your site man keep up the good work

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