Hi! I'm Dr. David Purves. As a psychologist, I am always fascinated to research from the medical or physiological community that illustrates beyond any shadow of a doubt the power of the mind.
So, I came across this study and I just had to share with you because this is a great example of wrong belief equals wrong outcome. If you believe something to be the case it is your experience that it is the case irrespective of whether the belief is accurate, is valid as even a belief worth having.
So, I came across this study. Let me just tell you briefly about it and you kind of see why I think it's such a neat example of belief over matter if you like.
Twenty-two volunteers were the volunteer to take partner of pain experiment, studying the effects of pain and the potent pain killer called Remifentanil.
So, each volunteer had an intravenous cannula inserted into their arm, they put on a bed and a heat pad is applied to the leg and heat pad delivers pain, you know noxious amount of heat which is not going to kind of scar them but it enables them the goal and that's painful, yes! Well, how painful is it? So just having the heat pad applied, they say on average is 66. So, that's their baseline.
Now, without them even knowing, the Remifentanil is delivered to them through the cannula. So, now they're getting one of the most potent pain killers that we have in our kind of panoply of pain killers. And after a while the researchers say, “Well what's the pain level now? “And they say 55 so one of the most potent pain killers we have has dropped the pain from 66 to 55.
Now, they're getting the pain killer okay without anything changing there. Now, told that they're going to get the pain killer now and they should expect significant pain relief. Well, their pain drops down to 39.
Now that they think they're getting the pain killer their pain drops down to 39. They're getting the pain killer here but now they know they're getting the pain killer.
Look at the difference and then without anything changing remember they're still getting the pain killer, they're told that the pain killer has been stopped now and they should expect a significant increase in pain and their pain goes back up to 64 which is near 66 which is basically identical to the baseline.
They're still getting the pain killer but they're told that they're not getting the pain killer and so their pain goes back up to what it were before to what it was when it started.
Their belief that they're not getting the pain killer and they should expect pain has completely overridden any effect that they get from the pain killer. Remifentanil, one of the most potent pain killers we have its effect has been completely overridden by the belief that they're not getting it. Now, you've got a like what I mean that is a great example of belief creating the experience that you have.
Okay, why does that matter? Well, if you're depressed, anxious or stressed, you're getting an outcome that you don't want to be depressed, anxious stressed, or OCD, or generalized anxiety disorder, or panic, or social phobia, you don't want these things.
Wrong belief equals wrong outcome.
I'm gonna guess. So, that's an outcome you don't want. But look! Wrong belief equals wrong outcome. You're getting the anesthetic but you believe you're not therefore you get a painful outcome.
Wrong belief equals wrong outcome if you're having these problems you're getting a wrong outcome, therefore, you're harboring using activating wrong beliefs.
How’s that happen?
Well, by definition if you're down, depressed, have low mood you're going to be under estimating your strengths and resources. You're going to be overestimating your faults and feelings, you're going to be looking at things negatively, you're going to be judging things negatively, you're going to be reducing your experiences of pleasure, mastery control, increasing feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, your expectation is going to be poor, therefore, you'll get a poor outcome. Wrong belief equals wrong outcome.
If you're anxious or stressed you're going to be anticipating bad things happening. Anxiety by definition is the overestimation of threat. You're going to be anticipating bad things happening, you're going to be acting as if these things would happen.
So, you're going to be avoiding stuff, you're going to be trying to escape from situations, you're going to be worrying about things, you're overestimating.
Overestimating threat it's the wrong belief you get the wrong outcome, you're anxious. And that'll be true of everything, if you have an outcome that you don't want you know you must be exercising wrong beliefs because you're getting wrong outcomes.
So, from a cognitive behavior therapy or CBT perspective what we need to do is this, we need to figure out what the wrong belief is, figure out what the belief or beliefs are that are creating these wrong outcomes.
Belief against reality
Okay, figure out the belief. The next thing is we need to test that belief against reality. I mean you know it's not magical, you know. If I believe I am a failure and yet I am successful my belief is not in keeping with the experience, with the reality in a sense.
My emotions, therefore, are not a good guide to reality. So, we test the belief against the world, we test it for validity and accuracy. If we find it to be inaccurate, if we find to be wrong and unhelpful we work to change it.
Every belief that you'll have and you're not born with it you have created these beliefs from your experiences. If you have an experience of being down you have created beliefs which are in that box of negative experiences, likewise on anxiety.
We change the belief and then we change the outcome. Wrong belief equals wrong outcome. Accurate belief has got to equal a more accurate and more useful and valid outcome. Identify the belief, test it, challenge it against reality and if it's not found to be helpful change it.
I hope you found this interesting and at least food for thought about the power of beliefs and you know so what negative o unhelpful or you know. Well, distorted beliefs are you entertaining in your experience and they're causing you to have an outcome once. I put this full film on the mood control channel.
Please subscribe to the mood control channel I'll appreciate that and you'll be sure then to get the next film when I release it and I hope you know find this material useful and I hope you'll find the next film useful too. I'm really interested to know what you think and if you ask questions I'll see if I can do my best to answer.
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