I want to tell you about an experiment that I read about that can help you live a much better life when you have a chronic illness*. Actually, it can help anyone have a much better life, but since those of us with chronic illnesses often have a low quality of life because of our symptoms and difficult challenges, we’re the ones that I’m going to focus on.
While the experiment was done several years ago, it was only recently that I discovered it. What the researchers did was to mail advertisements about non-prescription drug to large, random groups of people, but not to random control groups.
Then, after waiting about 10 weeks, they randomly selected people from the test groups and from the control groups and had people interview them. An important fact to keep in mind is that the people who did the interviewing did not know about either the mailing or that there were different groups. And because so much time had passed since the advertisements were mailed, it is very unlikely that the people in the group that received them ever considered the possibility that the interviews were connected to them.
The people being interviewed were asked about their awareness of the drug the advertisement was for and also whether they had purchased it. As you would probably expect, the percentages of people who were aware of it and who had purchased it were higher for the groups that had received the advertisement than they were for the groups that hadn’t.
Besides asking people about drug brand name awareness and their purchases of the drug, the interviewers asked another question that unearthed a result I would not have predicted and I bet you wouldn’t have either. They asked people in both groups about their overall health. And what they found, consistently in seven different trials, was that the people who received the drug advertisements were in worse health than were the people who didn’t!
When I read about the experiment, I was very surprised that the effect of reading the advertisement lasted 10 weeks. But I can’t think of a better demonstration of how what we think about affects us.
That said, I don’t think the lesson here is that we should pretend we feel well when we don’t. If we do that, there’s a part of us that knows we’re trying to pull the wool over our own eyes, and doesn’t buy it.
But I think it does mean that both our health and our lives will very likely be much better when we find things to be grateful for (and we all have them no matter what our illness or circumstances are), and then focus on them.
I hope you will share your comments and also what you’re grateful for.
Do Unto Others as You Would Have Others Do Unto You
Do Unto Yourself as You Would Have Others Do Unto You