Mind Over Matter: How Perceived Control Improves Our Health

By |Published On: June 2nd, 2022|

“Mind over matter” is a phrase used to describe a situation in which someone is able to control a physical condition or problem by using their mind. While the phrase is commonly used in situations that may require physical exertion, like training for a marathon, it can also be applied to positively impact one’s healthcare journey. Putting consistent actions into effect with an eye on the challenging end goal can improve likelihood of achieving the goal.

Core to the GoMo Health program success is our propriety science of patient engagement, BehavioralRx®, that uses evidence-based methods of motivation to activate patients in their healthcare journey. One of the key principles of BehavioralRx® is Influence Technology – activation through shared decision making. Research shows that a person’s outlook is a primary factor in the success of their clinical treatment and that the patient has influence and impact on their healthcare journey.

In the following blog post, Hea!thrageous founder and CEO, Rick Lee, shares his perceptions on how physical and emotional health can be positively impacted by perceived control over one’s life.

By Rick Lee

Study after clinical study reveals humans’ ever-present bias for self-control. I’m not referring to the self-control that overcomes an urge to eat a cookie. Rather, it’s the perception of influence over one’s life that can have a huge bearing on your health and longevity.   

For example, the results of this study revealed that levels of perceived control predict subsequent changes in health over time in old age. How can something so seemingly simple impact our health? 

Researchers have concluded that “learned optimism” can make a life-altering impact. It comes down to one’s perception of control. So picture the inconveniences of life – e.g., a traffic jam, your Internet or TV connection malfunctioning, the toll-free number you are calling announcing a wait time in excess of an hour, or the grocery store being out of a critical ingredient for your Spaghetti Bolognese. When people react fatalistically to these events outside of their control, no matter how trivial they may seem, these perceived uncontrollable forces can literally: 

  • Increase depression 
  • Catalyze a move toward abusive relationships 
  • Lead to drug dependence and even addiction 
  • Fail to preserve life during a heart attack 
  • Engender a weakened immune system that opens the door to: Arthritis, ulcers, headaches, backaches, and asthma 

Even in environments that are highly regulated like locked units in nursing homes, perceived freedom of choice can be life sustaining. Studies yield similar conclusions about cancer patients and the message they hear from their oncologist. Patients who hear something empowering like “Eat the right food and get plenty of sleep and you may live another x years,” tend to have better outcomes than those who hear “there’s nothing left we can do,” even if the stage of the disease is the same.  

So as you engage with Healthrageous, be sure to thoughtfully choose your meals for next week and exert your influence on what to watch on TV. Being in control of your life is a form of learned optimism that could add years to your longevity. 

Visit Healthrageous.net to check out more of Rick’s insights and learn more about the made easy meals delivery service.

Interested in learning more about the science of human motivation, activation and resiliency?

Schedule a demo today!
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