I was amused when I read a Family Circus cartoon the other day. The little brother and sister were seated at the table with plates of food in front of them. The little girl whispers to her brother, “Don’t expect to like it when they say, ‘Just eat it.’”
“Most clinicians would probably agree that what patients think will happen can influence what does happen over the clinical course.” reports a research article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, “Does how you do depend on how you think you’ll do? A systematic review of the evidence for a relation between patients’ recovery expectations and health outcomes.” It continued that “positive expectations were associated with better health outcomes,” in 15 of the 16 articles researched.
Over time, we are programmed to expect certain results in many different situations. “Whether we know it or not, we form expectations on a regular basis,” states Jean H. Regan, a CEO and mother of four who writes on issues relating to women, the workplace, health and balance.
Since this is a blog on health, and many times our expectations about health are founded upon myths, here are some popular beliefs that have been proven to be just myths. According to an article, The Truth about 12 Myths, found on realsimple.com.
Myth 1: If you go out with wet hair, you’ll catch a cold.
Truth: You will feel cold but will be just fine health-wise, says Jim Sears, a board-certified pediatrician in San Clemente, CA, and co-host of daytime-TV show, The Doctors. He continues, “Feeling cold doesn’t affect your immune system.”
Myth 2: You shouldn’t swim for an hour after eating.
Truth: “Splash away,” says Beverly Hills pediatrician, Scott W. Cohen. “You might have less energy to swim vigorously, but it shouldn’t inhibit your ability to tread water or play.”
Myth 3: Gum stays in your stomach seven years.
Truth: David Pollack, a senior physician in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Care Network says, “fluids carry gum through the intestinal tract and within days it passes.”
I used to believe that if I was caught outside on a windy day without a hat, I would be in bed for days with a cold and other symptoms that go with it. The lingering effects would last another week or two.
I always got what I expected!
Then I came across this statement in the chapter, Jeremiah, from the Bible: “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jer 29:11)
I began to think about what I expected in living my day-to-day experiences. I realized I expected to get sick in many instances. I had thought I had no control over these “beliefs” –myths I had about my health.
The next time I was caught without a hat in windy weather or was outside with wet hair, I no longer expected bad results. And, for about 25 years now I’ve not had a cold or flu.
I discovered what Regan, of TranzAct, reminds us: “Starting with healthy expectations is more important than some of us realize.
Photo by Yael Beeri downloaded from flickr.com
Kate, a resident of Westminster, is interested in blogging about health, spirituality, science, the importance of prayer and religion. She is a Christian Science practitioner and the media, legislative and public contact for Christian Science in the state of Maryland.