Michelle Sicignano, LMSW

Michelle Sicignano, LMSW

Social Justice Solutions | Staff Writer
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Mind Your Thoughts — They Matter

In a new book, Mind over Mind, Chris Berdik, sheds new insight into the power of positive thinking. It all boils down to expectations. As Gareth Cook’s Scientific American interview, How the Power of Expectations Can Allow You to Bend Reality, reveals, Chris Berdik begins with a simple premise: expectations matter. “Expectations shape our lives, and can, in effect, bend reality,” as we live in ways that seek to support our expectations. When events occur, our expectations drive our responses, and in turn impact outcomes. In some instances, this can be quite promising. In others, it can keep people stuck.

This idea isn’t new; consider the proverb, As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he, or the Buddhist idea that we are shaped by our thoughts, and the purpose of meditation is to learn how to control our thoughts. Similarly, cognitive behavioral therapy is based on these principals. The article discusses ongoing research into the placebo effect and our broadening understanding of the effects and impact it may have, how our assumptions and the value we assign things influence us.

In answering why he wanted to write the book, the author tackles the deficiencies pointed out in arguments against the power of positive thinking: “I think we’re too insistent on separating what’s imagined from what’s real. A lot of scientific endeavor involves making such distinctions, and that’s worthwhile and necessary. But it’s worth taking stock of how often our imagination, our expectations and assumptions, bleed into reality and actually change experience or change our bodies. This isn’t about denying, disguising, or not seeing what’s true, it’s about the cases when truth may be malleable.” It makes fake it until you make it’sage advice indeed.

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