You are the Placebo
September 26, 2015
Ever had a good hair day?
Every once in a while, if the dead collagen bends ‘just right’, we are mesmerized by its perfection. We can’t help but feel a sense of personal satisfaction when we sculpt David with Alberto.
Like a car wash for your head, those days you proudly steer your coiffed cranium through as much human traffic as possible. In the big picture, it is hard to understand how this irrelevant sod organ has the power to alter self perception. Yet science is beginning to understand the ways even tumbleweeds transform our experience of reality.
Truly believing that you are having a good hair day (GHD) can literally change your life.
To the rest of us, it actually looks pretty much exactly the same as the day before. But to you, high on Clairol aerosol; perceived perfection inflates Self Esteem.
You are what you tell yourself you are. You are the creator of everything you believe.
The story that you compose on the inside, is the most powerful force in the universe: the very rules of your reality.
This means that we all have the ability to decide what we want to think about, and ultimately, how we feel inside. In essence, you have the ability to choose your thoughts, and in that way also choose your internal chemicals.
And you don’t need a medical degree, to prescribe yourself Positive Personal Placebos.
A ‘Placebo‘ is a type of fake treatment, often used in scientific studies.
A actual treatment is supported by science, if it can demonstrate that it works better than nothing, and chance.
Most studies divide people with the same illness into 2 groups. Those that get the treatment everyone is hoping works, and those that are getting a fake treatment, like a sugar pill, called a Placebo.
A study is said to be Double Blinded, if no one is aware of who got the ‘treatment’ and who got the placebo. When the results come in, statistics are used to determine if the treatment had a strong enough effect, compared to those taking the placebo.
If the positive effect was strong enough, it is said to be Significant, and if it is also safe, from a side effect point of view, the experimental substance may become widely used as a treatment for that illness.
A very interesting thing began to happen, when Placebo Controlled Trials (PCT) became more widely used. In every single illness studied, a few people always seem to get better, while only taking the sugar pill.
This means that a Placebo, is not a solid thing that you gulp down. Rather, it is a Belief that your mind forces your brain to swallow.
And if you get it down smoothly, the brain and body have the power to change your physiology. This belief, that you allow yourself to have, can affect your chemicals and organs, whether its in the form of a pill, palpitations, or pillow talk.
Choose your Placebos carefully, because every Self Placebo you mentally ingest, can have side effects in your daily life.
Being high on some GHD, can trigger a cascade of good things, around each of life’s usual corners.
On the morning of a big job interview, it can help you visualize yourself, as someone you would hire.
As you drive to your destination, and check your rear view, you can’t help but become occasionally transfixed by it, gently tussled by winds you have carefully orchestrated, via window manipulation.
And with a mug like this, you can risk looking other people in the eye, as they pass by on their own personal adventures.
With more eye contact, and a confident manner, you begin to be rewarded with friendly nods reciprocated. More smiles are shot in your direction, even from long range.
Other Strangers, combing through split ends of humanity; recognize you, as a cut above.
It doesn’t matter that, in actuality, the ones smiling back at you, are likely savoring their own inner affirmations. They are merely projecting the positivity out, much the same way as you.
You still carry this engaging energy with you, as you enter the lobby, and confidently give your name to the Receptionist.
You relax, and read a magazine that you actually enjoy.
Or strike up a conversation with an attractive person waiting along with you, and it feels easier than usual. You don’t even mind making some jokes at your own expense, as the vulnerability creates even more confidence.
And then your name is called, and you stand up, run your fingers through locks that would make Fabio jealous, and strut on an imaginary catwalk, towards your awaiting interviewer.
Please do not try to ignore the message behind the concept of a Good Hair Day, or else there will be Hell Toupee.
If you don’t believe that such superficial things can be the Iceberg, in Titanic Self Transformations, consider other equally superficial things:
Like the time you were on a first date, but had really bad gas, the burps, had to pee a million times, or Terminal Garlic Breath (TGB).
A Good Hair Day is your very own Positive Personal Placebo.
It is like you popped a secret pill that changed the way you viewed your hair, which then increased your belief in what you are capable of.
This type of thought medication creates chemicals invisible to anyone but you, evidenced by your friend’s ignorance, of your coif parfait.
It might feel cheesy, or even Smalley of you, to stare in the mirror, and tell yourself that you are an important person, and that your life has meaning and value to other people.
But in actuality, these activities have a really beneficial effect on how you view yourself and others, as well as which drugs, the Pharmacist in your brain, stocks the shelves with.
A Good Hair Day can be the first domino, of a day of escalating confidence and self esteem.
The same applies for other parts of you, that you feel positively about. And you don’t need to waste time in front of a mirror either.
The easiest way to pop a Positive Personal Placebo, is just being kind to others.
Simon Trepel, MD
Simon Trepel, MD FRCPC, is a practicing Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, in Winnipeg, Canada. He is an Assistant Professor, at the University Of Manitoba, in the Faculty of Medicine, and the Co-founder of the GDAAY Clinic. He is, more importantly, the proud Father of 2 beautiful Daughters. He writes in his spare time about things he knows something about, and occasionally about things he doesn’t; like Yoga, and Italian flavored coffees. Laughter is always the best medicine; unless you have Diabetes, then it’s Insulin.
Check out his Blog, called Simon Says Psych Stuff, at