By: Dr. Mark Schillinger, DC
It’s understandable that you are very concerned about the possibility of coming in contact with the coronavirus. It’s natural for humans to be disturbed by the possibility of becoming sick thru infection.
What’s also natural is the reality that humans have been exposed to deadly viruses and bacteria since the beginning of our history. According to some estimates, outbreaks of disease caused by microbes has been fatal to approximately 300 - 500 million people since the last ice age ended, about ten thousand years ago!
This is not a new phenomenon for humankind to have to practice adapting to.
What I think is more recently true, is the false belief, or the hope, that we should be free from these natural causes of illness from microbes at this time in our evolution. We may harbour the belief that this latest outbreak is “not fair,” unnecessarily cruel, or should have already been cured by science.
What’s fundamentally necessary to successfully adapt to the coronavirus is to first accept that it’s real, and that humans have still not completely figured out how to prevent it from affecting us.
It’s humbling for us to surrender to the fact that we are animals who are not allowed the privilege of being immune to every natural occurrence in nature. Whether we’re subjected to a viral pandemic or a devastating hurricane, it’s important to remind ourselves that humans know how to survive these phenomena.
The Only Thing to Fear
As Franklin Roosevelt once said, “The only thing to fear, is fear itself.“ In relationship to the coronavirus, I’m saying that it’s a good skill to know how to calm your mind down immediately if you’re worrying about the coronavirus more than necessary.
Mental stress is the #1 killer of people. By over-thinking, or being over-fearful about the coronavirus, you are literally weakening your immune system. Your immune system (thymus gland) protects your muscles, organs, skin and bones from dangerous foreign substances, like viruses.
It’s well known in science that your dreadful thoughts can increase your likelihood of getting sick from viruses. During these contagious times, the last thing you need to be doing is making your own immune system more susceptible to illness than it needs to be. Guard yourself from becoming fearful or panicked.
The Real Danger
From what I can see, the coronavirus pandemic points to a bigger danger, which is that we’re being told to conform to the ceaseless demands that digital technology dictates. Normally it takes human beings hundreds, or thousands of years, to adapt to a new environmental stress. Most of us are becoming too stressed out trying to keep up with the new, endless ways of relating to each other, including email, social media, texts, etc.
It’s critical that you focus your mind away from all of the negative coronavirus news and truly limit your exposure to the regurgitated information that we’re being bombarded with. Do not agitate your nervous system with needless inflammatory reactions to, “the news.” Otherwise, your brain will continually secrete adrenaline, testosterone and cortisol all day long. Living in a fight or flight world is a recipe for a weakened immune system and failing health.
We are being trained to become more and more virtual. I have no doubt that someday, in the not too distant future, humans will evolve into a more artificial being. No judgement. I can accept that reality as a natural progression of humanity. However, I am observing this transition time being really stressful for most of us.
Physical Distancing - Remain Connected
Science confirms that we have more “comforts” than ever, and we are more stressed out than ever. On top of this, we now have the coronavirus forcing us into our homes and isolating us even more.
Most primates, including humans, require connection through caring and cooperative relationships. Do your best to connect with people - ideally in person - who are approaching our world-wide challenges with a positive and productive approach. Therefore, I prefer the term, ”physical distancing” vs. “social distancing.”
Face to face, heart to heart, in-person conversations can be accomplished while practicing the, “6-foot distance” rule.
Learn How to Immunize Yourself
The best way to give yourself the best opportunity to successfully work through this stressful time is to learn how to focus your mind and body on activities that develop relaxation and resilience - regardless of what’s happening around you. The way to immunize yourself against life-threatening adversity is to develop and master your own inner peace.
It’s way more likely for people to be emotionally ready to deal with a pandemic if they’re consistently focused on increasing their abilities to reach their true potential. Studies reveal that people who are truly happy tend to move through challenging times with positive beliefs and productive behaviours. In turn, this holistic approach to adversity strengthens our nervous system and our organs, including the thymus gland.
If you are unable to work due to the pandemic, then the perfect time to work on your inner peace, is right now. Whether you study with mentors, read books, or attend online classes, focus your attention to activities that will foster these qualities:
optimum physical health
mindful mental calmness
consistent emotional wellness
evolving personal growth
heartfelt relational connectedness
deep spiritual contentment
The more that you’re at peace with yourself, the more likely you’ll remain calm, cautious and content during times of adversity.
Humor Is the Best Medicine
I found this silly and really funny video on YouTube many years ago. I like to use it when I teach classes that, like this blog, point out that over-thinking can be dangerous to our health.
Click here to watch it!
About the author:
Dr. Mark Schillinger is a chiropractor and has been a specialist in providing stress management since 1985. Mark has been helping his patients improve both their physical health, mental stress and emotional well-being. His pioneering work in the field of stress management, has earned him the distinction of being approved by the California State Board of Chiropractic Examiners, to teach other health professionals how to help their patients use simple scientific stress reduction techniques with their patients.
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