Up until the last century, science held a strong materialistic view of the world where matter was the determining factor of all existence. A human being was considered a product of external stimuli, whose life was completely dependent on the environment in which he lived. The idea that one’s mind and thoughts could influence a person’s life was considered philosophical mumbo-jumbo. However, more scientists are now accepting the idea that a person’s thoughts can trigger a change in them, both physically and psychologically.
From a physical aspect, thoughts have been identified to be strong enough to bring about changes on a cellular level. An interesting discovery in this regard relates to the relationship of negative thoughts and peptides in the body. When a person is in a highly emotional state, no matter whether it is happiness, sadness, or anger, the body releases specific peptides that bombard the cells and prepare them to receive more of the same peptides.
Someone who is in a sad frame of mind will essentially release “sad” peptides, a happy person will have “happy” peptides, and so on. And the cells will change their nature to accommodate the sad or happy peptides to which they are exposed. So if you remain sad for a long period of time, you will literally be changing the cells of your body to be more receptive to “sad” peptides. And this can trap you in a very depressive state of mind. Only by ensuring that you remain in a positive, happy state can you keep the cells largely receptive to peptides that make you feel good and happy.
The placebo effect
A very well-known example of the strong physical and psychological impact of thoughts is the placebo effect. In simple words, placebo effects refer to the changes people experience just because they believe in something.
For instance, a parent might give a child fake medications and say that he will get better if he takes the pills regularly. The child, thinking that the pills are real medicine, will eventually get cured of the condition he is suffering from. And this happens just because the child thought he was taking pills that would heal him, although he was truly only taking sham medications.
Placebo effects are not only limited to medicines. Many people use placebo techniques during fitness training to make themselves stronger. Similarly, mind development techniques often make use of placebos to bring deep psychological changes in people, like increasing confidence, building an attractive personality, and so on. There have been instances where introverted people just faked confidence for a few months when interacting with their peers, only to eventually become truly confident of themselves.
The danger of thoughts being influenced by external sources
Given that thoughts can cause serious physical and psychological changes, it becomes necessary that you guard your thoughts against being influenced by external sources. An experiment conducted at the San Francisco State University discovered that people could be forced into thinking about things against their will.
“We triggered with our experiment not one but two different kinds of unintentional thoughts, and each thought required a substantial amount of processing. We think that this effect reflects the machinery of the brain that gives rise to conscious thoughts. When you activate the machinery — and it can be activated even by being told not to do something — the machinery cannot help but deliver a certain output into consciousness,” Science Daily quotes co-author of the study Ezequiel Morsella.
And this only goes on to tell us a simple thing — our future is largely dependent on how we think. If we allow negative people and thoughts to influence us, our life will likely turn out depressing. But if we take control of our mind and ensure that it is only fed with thoughts of love, courage, and other positive thoughts, life will be blissful.