#961 Placebo vs. Nocebo

“I Shall Be Pleasing” vs. “I Shall Cause Harm”

In our last couple +1s, we’ve been spending time with renowned psychologist Ellen Langer talking about the power of words and the power of placebos.

At this stage, most of us know that “the placebo effect” is, basically, the positive effect of simply believing something will help you. Although it’s not something we want to rely on independent of wise, integrated health care, it’s astonishingly (!) powerful.

We’ll talk about one of the craziest studies ever in our next +1.

For Today…

Let’s take (yet!) another trip down Etymology Lane.

Do you know what the word placebo literally means?

In Latin it means “I shall be acceptable or pleasing.”


Did you know that there’s an opposite of “the placebo effect”?


It’s called “the nocebo effect.”

You know what nocebo means?

In Latin, it literally means “I shall cause harm.” (<- Yikes!)

All those negative words you use? All those expectations of failure? All that criticizing and gossiping and complaining and blaming and…


Enter: The Nocebo Effect!!

That’s Today’s +1.

Let’s embrace reality as we move forward with indomitable hope.


Let’s remember that little things (and little words!) (and little chats with ourselves and others) matter as we alchemize any potential nocebo pills we might be swallowing into some placebo pills.

-1. -1. -1. → +1. +1. +1.

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