Herbert Benson, M.D. in his book Timeless Healing cites the placebo effect as evidence of the power of our thoughts. Patients believe sugar pills will alleviate their symptom and their belief makes this happen. A 1988 research study at Brown University showed that patients with chronic pain were more likely to be impaired, no matter the severity of their pain, if they believed pain indicated impairment. In other words, those who believed pain and disability were always linked became more impaired. When patients focused their minds on thoughts of being active and well, even though in pain, their health improved.
Focusing on positive thoughts in the midst of pain, fatigue and invasive or immune lowering treatments is not easy. The key is to monitor your thoughts and don't dwell on how bad you feel. Acknowledge your illness or pain but think about other things most of the time. We can't control what happens to us but we can learn to control our thoughts. This Is an excellent book to help all of us be healthier.