Mindset Matters

Exercise & the Placebo Effect.

Can mindset make you thin, do the splits, win a marathon, or heal you?

A study tested whether the relationship between exercise and health is moderated by one’s mindset.

Dr. Alia Crum’s research focuses on how changes in subjective mindsets—the lenses through which information is perceived, organised and interpreted—can alter objective reality through behavioral, psychological, and physiological mechanisms.

“Our findings fall in line with a growing body of research suggesting that our mindsets … can play a crucial role in our health,’ said Professor Crum, whose team analysed surveys from more than 60,000 adults.  Her work is, in part, inspired by research on the placebo effect, a notable and consistent demonstration of the ability of the mindset to elicit healing properties in the body. She is interested in understanding how mindsets affect important outcomes outside the realm of medicine, in the domains of behavioral health and organizational behavior.

Dr. Crum says the biggest game changer is “YOU, by harnessing the power of your mind.” She explores scientific results that show the influence of the mindset on the body, and how changing the subjective mindset produced different outcomes.

Check out her TedX talk here.

Believing you are healthier than others can help lengthen your life, her research suggests.

People who felt they got more exercise than their peers were up to 71 percent less likely to die during a 21-year study than those who said they were not active enough.

The findings suggest people who feel positive about exercise live longer than those who resent it and feel inadequate, says Alia Crum, who is an assistant psychology professor at Stanford University in the US.