December 2018

Putting out milk and cookies for Santa, mischievous elves on a shelf moving throughout the house, looking out the window hoping to see Rudolph’s shiny red nose in the sky… The magic of the Holidays is inextricably linked to the wide-eyed wonder of children and their unwavering belief that anything is possible.

While we may outgrow some of our childhood beliefs, as adults what we believe about ourselves and the world at large molds our life experience to a degree that we are often hesitant to admit. Our beliefs become filters through which we see the world. They determine not only what we see, but how we act and react in the world. They determine if we will succeed or fail, if we will persist or give up.

The Science of it All

We have all heard about the placebo effect. It refers to the impact of an inactive treatment that has a measurable, positive impact on the health of an individual, simply because they believe it can. The power of the placebo effect is considered to be a psychological phenomenon. Your body can have a measurable physiological reaction to a belief.

Few people, however, have heard of the nocebo effect. This is the dark side of the placebo effect. It is when negative expectations of the patient regarding a treatment cause the treatment to have a more negative effect than it otherwise would have. If you expect, or believe, a drug will have negative side effects you are more likely to experience them.

This means that what we believe, be it good or bad, has the ability to have very real effects on our lives and our happiness. The truth is believing is seeing, not the other way around. It is a truer statement that we see the world the way WE ARE, rather than see the world the way it is. A belief is just a though we choose to think over and over again. Those thoughts become things, so make sure they are beautiful!

What do you Believe?

If beliefs determine the quality of our lives, why not empower our children with positive beliefs and life skills that will put them on the road to a triumphant life. That is my mission. I want to share the power of emotional literacy with every child. In 2019, I challenge you to believe in greater things for yourself, your family, your schools and your community. Happiness is a skill that can be taught. Let’s make 2019 the happiest year yet!

Happy Holidays and a Joyous New Year!

Beatriz Martinez-Penalver