I am not a believer in wishful thinking. But I have become a fan of Psychoneuroimmunology.
These two things are NOT one and the same.
Psychoneuroimmunology showcases the constant communication between the neurological system, the endocrine system and the immune system. Big guns, all.
So what does this have to do with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? CFS severely wounds the neurological system, the endocrine system, and the immune system (among others). Wouldn't it be great if these damaging messages could be ... tweaked?
When I read that I could affect chemicals being selected and messages being relayed by my thoughts and emotions, I ... well, I highly doubted it. After more reading and mulling though, I conceded that this might be true.
Further study convinced me that my thoughts and emotions trigger chemical messengers, and I could influence WHICH messengers fire from my brain and are received by my immune system and endocrine system. Logic suggested I make them good ones.
Feelings of hope and confidence send different chemicals through my body than fearful, pessimitic ones. Whether I really believe them or not seems irrelevant. I'm doing my best to think about recovery as a real possibility, and try to picture a healthy future, even before I'm actually able to make any of it happen.
This whole concept is slow in catching on with the general public however.
Here's the problem as I see it. As soon as the "Psycho-" part of the "-Ology" registers, the mind backs off in a particular direction. And not a favorable one, I might add.
I have a degree in psychology, and respect the discipline. But I also know that the injection of psychology for many, is tantamount to guesswork and heebie-jeebies.
We've all had the experience of being sick and trying to wish ourselves better. And the experience of ... staying sick, despite all our earnest wishful thinking.
The mention of psychoneuroimmunology nudges our cynical mistrust that the physical can be affected by the psychological. The whole topic can come across as being irresponsible -- why are you doing this, do you want people to quit taking their medicine and get sicker?
The idea! Thinking that thought can affect health.
Except that, it can. It does. And that's without our even trying. These neurotransmitters and other messengers are on tap all the time. We could see better results if we put a little conscious effort into it.
Psychoneuroimmunology: Bi-directional Interactions Between the Brain and the Nervous System
Illness, Cytokines, and Depression
Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine