Friday, March 26, 2010

Power of Suggestion

Have you ever noticed how susceptible we humans are to the power of suggestion? It gives new meaning to the word placebo.

With the coming of quite a bit of rain lately (a vast improvement from the white stuff, in my humble opinion) I’ve begun to notice the onset of some teeny, tiny ANTS in the house.

Ants on the counter
Ants on the floor
Ants aplenty….ants galore!


Yikes.

I’ve purchased the ant traps and spray and seem to be winning the battle against these pesky intruders.

However. I caught one of ‘em making its way up my arm the other day. I flicked it off into the sink and followed up with enough water from the tap to drown a small elephant. For the rest of the evening, I was convinced I felt something crawling on me. I found myself involuntarily swatting at imaginary ants for hours…even getting up several times and doing a seriously depraved version of the funky chicken.

You’re feeling very itchy…..

From here, it was a short mental leap to thinking about the power of suggestion. I think that people can be pretty easily persuaded to believe a lot of things. As an example, I offer you this: have you ever noticed that if you read the side effects on a medication that you’re much more likely to feel some of those symptoms? I’ll bet if you told someone they’d just been exposed to some nasty flu germs, they’d begin to not feel well. That would be a really nasty experiment to play on someone that you didn’t like. …wouldn’t it??

Huh.

I remember (oh so long ago) that the onset of morning sickness arrived within five minutes of my pregnancy test showing positive. I’d felt fine right up until that stick turned blue. I know that if I haven’t slept well the night before…and I continually remind myself of how tired I am, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

So, it would stand to reason that the opposite would also hold true…that if you’re unaware that you’re supposed to feel a certain way, or if you simply choose to deny its existence, then you could potentially sail right through an otherwise uncomfortable situation. Maybe we have more power over how we feel that we’d ever imagined...

I mean, if you’re convinced that something will or will not happen, can you ultimately control the outcome?? I say, “Let’s put this one to the test!!”

I say that over the next week, we each find one suggestive idea to pass on and see if it works. I suppose we should be positive about it, so be nice and don’t let anyone think they’ve been exposed to the plague. Unless they’ve really pissed you off…and then you’re on your own. Just don’t tell me about it, so I don’t feel compelled to report you to the suggestion authorities.

I’m thinking about telling da boys that I’ve started using a new fabric softener that’s supposed to give you more energy. I’ll make up some story about it releasing endorphins through the skin. Maybe it’ll get them to clean their rooms. I’ll tell ‘em I’ve already noticed some impressive results myself. I’ll exclaim that “I’m feeling GRRRRREAT!”

And honestly? If I could stop feeling itchy…it would definitely be true.

Tina said...

Glad that you're feeling great except for itchy crawliness.

So, could I go up to publishers and sneak them subliminal messages about how much they want to publish me?

Fierce said...

You think it would work if I suggested to all my teachers that harder tests make dumber kids? Yeah they wouldn't go for that. Oh, I've got another one: tell dieters to keep telling themselves they're losing weight. If that works, we could patent it (I think) and make a wad of cash off it. Sounds like a good idea eh?

:)
xoxo

ValleyWriter said...

I have noticed when I tell my hubby he looks like he's losing weight - he has a habit of skipping dessert that day. Self-fulfilling prophecy indeed!

(And if the ants come back, I highly recommend "Terro" brand products. The ants start to come marching in our house every summer - and the Terro gets 'em every time!)

Lauren said...

It's so true! I do that all the time. Although with myself. It's one of the ways I overcome panic attacks. And I totally understand about the ants. Once, this huge spider was on my hand. I started flailing. After my boss stopped laughing, he killed the spider. Ten minutes later I said I could still feel it on my hand. Ed laughed and told me that it definitely couldn't feel me anymore. Still gross though. Good luck with your suggestion.

Kimberly said...

We have those nasty little ants too! I bought them some beautiful hotels to slumber in, but they wouldn't go anywhere near them. So today I snagged some Terro traps and now there are literally hundreds of buggers swimming in them. Little do they know they will all be dead tomorrow. :)

I always feel itchy after I see a bug/spider or have to remove a tick from my dog [shudder]. Ick!

And I have a harder time falling asleep when I know I need to get up earlier the next day. I guess I'm stressed out about the lack of sleep so I end up with even less!

Oddyoddyo13 said...

Ugh! I hate the feeling of bugs crawling all over my skin. I always think about it right before I sleep, so of course I'm still shifting and swatting until I can finally fall asleep.

I bet your right too. The phrase "Ignorance is bliss" came to mind. Hehe. Maybe I will try it. I've just got to find a really convincing one.....

Spot said...

Hmmm....so if I tell potential employers how great I am, they'll believe it?? Wait. I already do that. I mean, I tell everyone how great I am. When are they going to start believing it??! Ha!

So I'll test your theory. I'll tell my mom she's looking healthier than she has in months. Maybe it'll keep the hypochondria at bay...

Let me know how that fabric softener works out for you. I might have to get me some of that!

♥Spot

WannabeVirginia W. said...

Yay, spring and summer brings bugs. Woonnnnddeerrful. I am a downer on spring and summer.

True Story: I worked with kids and the parents would say "yeah, suzy has lice again!" just hearing that would make me scratch my head all day.

I know, gross. I am itchy now.

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

What a great idea!
I remember realizing as a teen that I rarely felt cramps before I knew my period had come.

Lynn said...

Just great. Now I need to go grab some calamine...

~:C:~ said...

Kinda makes you wonder, don't it? lol

But I think you're on to something here, Kathryn. Every single time I get sick, if I refuse (or if I'm too busy) to acknowledge that I'm sick, the cold or flu seems to just... evaporate over a very short period of time. IF, however, I don't ignore the illness, sure enough, it gets nasty.

Now if I could just come up with a brilliant idea for an experiment. I do, after all, teach dozens of teenagers; the guinea pig potential there is HUGE. :D

Selina Kingston said...

I think you are probably right. I know I only have to hear talk of headlice and I start scratching my head furiously. So bizarre! I'm going to put this to the test.
good thinking, batman!

Krissi said...

Okay, my neighbors who I don't much care for hired a Uhaul to do something around their house. It was one of those tiny Uhauls so as much as I would like it to mean they were moving it wasn't likely. My husband came home from work and asked why they had a Uhaul. Saying I don't know doesn't work with my husband so I lied and said they're moving. Just saying it made me feel so good that I have almost convinced myself they're moving. I feel good every time I think about it. Even really knowing they're not moving. So maybe this is not the kind of positive thinking you were talking about but I feel happier so I'm just going to go with it.

Lily Johnson said...

This is so true Kat! The moment you think there is even a possibility, Bam! its like reality. I am sorry about the ant thingy though. It happens to me sometimes.Only in my case,it was a cockroach!

Smileyfreak said...

Itching is not so good..I hope the ant problem gets sorted for good soon :)

Let us know how it goes with the boys and the suggestion!

Wendy Blum said...

Hmm, that's an interesting challenge. I may have to try this =) LOVE your Ant Poem, Kathryn. I had commented to you on my blog that it would be cool to read a poem that you created =)
Boy are you lucky. I ONLY wish my morning sickness had begun AFTER the stick had turned blue. Everyone around me the time of my conception was sick with stomach flu. No one was immune it seemed. And it didn't take any power of suggestion. I was tossing my groceries with even the smallest child so I didn't pay any notice til well, uh-hum, something failed to happen at a certain time...Any hoo, I do believe that this is indeed what happened with the whole swine flu episode. Personally, my husband and I thought the whole thing was just a way to get the world into a panic. Cause you know how we humans LOOOVE our drama ;) My family didn't bite on the hook as we watched many of our friends go out into the world in a germ panic every day. And none of us got a flu shot let alone a swine flu shot. Nope we didn't let ourselves get sucked up into that drama.
However, if I had, oh let's say a spider, crawl on me and even if I KNEW it had been taken care of by knocking it off or killing it, I do believe that I would be going around thinking the spider was still there and do my own rendition of the funky chicken as you did. I really dislike spiders on me! Good post and something to think on =)

Meg said...

...I think I've got an itch. This is gonna keep me up all night.

Alicia said...

This is too easy. Everyone I work with is susceptible to suggestive thoughts. If I tell them I smell something weird in the office they're all running around sniffing themselves, each other, checking their trash cans, etc. This could be fun. I think I'm going to do the "Is it me or is it hot in here?" and then follow up with Is it me or is it cold?" I know, you said nice suggestive thoughts. Ok, I'll see what I can think of.

dailyseeking said...

I think I'll try this on my first graders with reading. Give them a jelly bean; tell them it will help them read with confidence.

Straight Guy said...

Getting teenage boys to willingly clean their rooms? If you believe that, then they have flipped the tables and brainwashed you.

KT said...

I hear what mean about the ants issue. On my hubby's desk there's always these teeny, tiny, itsy, bitsy black ants that tickle the hairs on ones arm. Just by seeing one I feel like they have invaded my arms and I'll be pinching and scratching all day. (BTW thanks for making itch with this post). Anyways, I've always believed in the fact that the mind is more powerful than the body, which is why I DIDN'T have morning sickness because I refused to throw up. I refused to believe that the C-Section was going to hurt, so it didn't. I refused to believe that I wouldn't graduate on time, so I am graduating on time.
Can I tell you what tool I'm going to use? Well, I'm going to tell you anyways. I'm just simply going to smile and say how wonderful the day is even if it's raining buckets. That has to rub off right? How can anyone resist a smile? love the challenge BTW

Collette said...

Oh, you didn't get the memo? I read that they but something in fabric softener that does stop people from itching because so many people are allergic to new soaps & such nowadays:)
Unfortunately, my grandma won't listen to me but the pharmacay, she'll listen to even though they don't know personal circumstances. I should leave a note with them to tell her what I want her to hear! (((HUGS)))

Heather said...

I love the one about morning sickness..LOL!!

Hubby uses the haven't slept well card all the time.

When my dogs had fleas real bad a few years back, I couldn't hardly sleep for thinking they were on me! EKKK!

....Petty Witter said...

As always a great post, I love your take on life. That fabric conditioner sounds wonderful, can I have some?

carissa said...

I'm not so sure about the power of suggestion thing, (but I'm a hypochondriac so sue me) but I feel ya on the ants!! We have an infestation in my house right now too. In the bathroom, the kitchen, and on the window next to my bed!! I feel soooo itchy!

Christiejolu said...

LOL! Ok a silly story. My friend and I talked ourselves into believing we were drunk off Kool Aid once. LOL! (swear we were just kids)

Kristy said...

Ahhh, you are a wise mommy! Good idea!

Krista said...

LOL thanks alot. Now I have ants on me, and I'm tired. LOL but I have an unexplainable urge to go home and clean my room.

;o)

mepsipax said...

Nice post. Just found your blog...I might stop by again.
I have found the power of suggestion to be so useful, including convincing someone they saw me at a certain time and were willing to give a statement as such....er yeah, maybe I shouldn't have mentioned that.

kathryn said...

Tina: Sure! Why not?? I'll bet we just need to practice some serious marketing tactics: Practice the 'ole "HURRY! BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE AND SOMEONE SCOOPS HER UP" methodology.

Fierce: Ha! How about suggesting to your teachers that harder tests will make THEM gain weight? Then they will and we can sell them our "patented technology weight loss" invention. It's genius!!

ValleyWriter: Okay...."Terro", you say? 'Cause all the little ants are still marching...And I'm telling you, if you told hubby that you'd just read that (insert whatever he's eating) will fill you up and help you to lose weight, I'll bet it would WORK.

kathryn said...

Lauren: Well, kudos to you, sweetie...for being able to use "the power of suggestion" on yourself. As for that HUGE spider? (Yes, in my mind it's a freakin' tarantula) Ew!!

Kimberly: I totally hear you! You're the 2nd person to mention Terro...after yours and ValleyWriter's recommendation, I'm picking up some tomorrow. And YES...when you MUST get some SLEEP, it NEVER comes, right?

Oddyoddyo13: It's absolutely true! Ignorance really IS bliss! When you don't realize you're supposed to feel a certain way, you probably won't. Seriously!

kathryn said...

Spot: I'll bet that if you tried that with your mom, it would totally work! As far as everyone else, we all KNOW how wonderful you are, sweetie! Totally.

WannabeVirginiaW: Oh, I can soooo relate! That would totally gross me out...and I would totally get ITCHY!

Maureen@IslandRoar: I know! It's totally true...and I'd forgotten all about that. I'd feel the cramps as soon as I realized it had arrived.

kathryn said...

Lynn: Oh, pulease....don't even get me started on poison...anything! I even get a red, itchy rash from evergreens! Have you ever heard of such a thing??

~:C:~ Oh, you're RIGHT...the potential is enormous! Whatever shall we (you) do?? This should be interesting. How about this: What if you just started talking about how your scalp got inexplicably itchy the night before...and watched to see how many students started scratching their heads? (I'm scratching mine now.)

Selina Kingston: HA! I'm glad you agree, Robin! (Scratches head) Good luck with your assignment...let me know (scratches neck) how it turns out!

kathryn said...

Krissi: HA! Hey, if it makes you feel better, then I'm all for it! I can easily see how that would lift your spirits. You know what they say: You can't choose your relatives or your neighbors....

Lily Johnson: Ew! Bugs are awful...and they belong OUTSIDE...never in the house! Ya think I could convince the bugs of this??

Smileyfreak: Okay...(scratches head)Ants are still around...I need to buy something different! It would HELP if it would stop raining!

kathryn said...

Wendy Blum: Wow...you poor thing! Stomach flu is the WORST, isn't it? I totally agree w/you about the panic-mode...it takes some serious effort to not get caught up in that kind of emotion. We didn't get a shot, either. I'm always worried about the effects of the shot itself, ya know? Everything comes with a risk...including the risk that spider takes if he's stupid enough to crawl onto your arm!

Meg: Oops....sorry. (Hangs head) If it makes you feel any better, I can't stop scratching over here!

Alicia: Oh, you are TOO FUNNY! You send ppl running around, smelling themselves?? Go with that! Ask everyone if they smell...lemons. I'll bet someone'll tell you they smell them too!

kathryn said...

dailyseeking: Oh, I love that idea! Get 'em while they're young...I'll bet it will absolutely work...if the sugar doesn't make 'em antsy! (Pun intended...get it? 'Cause of the ants?)

Straight Guy: Yeah, well...I can dream, can't I?? It's so gross in there...and I'm sure ants are incredibly fond of Sunkist orange soda. I'm not pointing fingers...I'm just sayin'....

KT: Oh, I LOVE your outlook! How fabulous that you have some serious control over your environment. (BTW: The ants on hubby's desk are the same ones we've got over here. Something I wish we DIDN'T have in common!)

kathryn said...

Collette: HA! Do you realize how much control pharmacists could have over people's response to meds? I mean, seriously....the POWAH! All the nasty customers would be told they'll feel crappy on their meds, right?! (AH....maybe now I'll finally stop itching!!)

Heather: It's so true, though! And that whole "sleep" thing is probably the worst...'cause once you convince yourself that you must sleep, you're DOOMED!

...Petty Witter: Ha! I'll send some of that fabric softener right over! We could ALL use some of that, right??

kathryn said...

carissa: WTF? I think it's the rainy weather...and I'm sure if we took the time to Google it, we could get a grip on it...instead of doing all this mind-numbing scratching!

christiejolu: Oh, too cute! Like you'd really know what drunk feels like as a kid!!

Kristy: I know....I try! I figure we mommies are supposed to use our power for good....

kathryn said...

Krista: HA....so, now you're itchy and filled with energy?? Oh, the powah! Now, how do we translate this over to da boys? Hmmmmm?

mepsipax: Welcome...and HA! Yeah...that's really using the power of suggestion to your benefit. I'm going to have to remember that one!

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