A Pandemic of Panic
While the threat of the Corona virus needs to be taken with great concern, it is as important to understand the useless and counterproductive effects of panicking. Since there is no vaccine at this time, prevention is the best approach to any viral challenge. Panic is an extreme fear response triggering stress hormones that suppress immune function; increasing susceptibility to any pathogen, including viruses. But as we are well-aware, fear mongering is profitable for some of the news media. Some based on predatory action and others on ignorance of the debilitating effect panic has on the immune system.
Attribution and the Immune System
There’s extensive professional literature on the placebo (positive) and nocebo (negative) effects on illnesses, based on where we place the cause of what is happens to our bodies. There’s a possibility that the Corona virus was already in the US and people not knowing it existed, treated the symptoms (which are similar to other upper respiratory viruses) as a cold or the flu. Now, because we know the Corona is a different virus than the common flu, people are being tested with a stronger nocebo attribution. Additionally, people with compromised immune systems from other underlying illnesses, make the flu as well as the Corona virus more lethal. When the HIV virus that causes AIDS was discovered in 1983, it was thought to be so contagious that patients were isolated in hospital wards and medical staff wore plastic suits and gloves to “protect” themselves from the virus. As we now know, the virus is transmitted by sexual contact, contaminated needles and exchange of body fluids. The point is that scientific disclosure, rather than panic, is the approach to adversity.
Just like any other virus, the precautions for the Corona virus remain the same: washing hands frequently, staying away from infected persons, effective waste disposals, sufficient rest, clean water, personal cleanliness and avoid traveling to infected places and countries. I will add replacing panic with reason, because the best prevention is to strengthen the immune system.
Immune System Enhancers and Depleters
Meals without digital companions
Taking time for self-caring behavior
Experiencing compassion from self or others
Periodic news media fasting
Meals with digital companions or with watching the news
Living in the urgent present
Excessive access to news media
Psychoneuroimmunology to the Rescue
Psychoneuroimmunology is an inter-discipline that studies how thoughts and emotions affect nervous, immune, and endocrine system regulation. There’s extensive research on how the antibody IgA attacks upper respiratory viruses similar to the Corona virus. Fortunately, IgA’s can be increased by observing acts of compassion (videos of Mother Teresa). More recently, research indicates creating your own experience of compassion, with a specific meditation that I will illustrate below, is more effective than observing external acts of compassion. This means that if you are preventing the Corona virus with the usual precautions you can also strengthen your immune system by increasing IgA’s. Additionally, if you contract the Corona virus or any other virus, you can increase the effects of the medical attention you are receiving. I should caution that these immune enhancing methods should be practiced regularly because the increased IgA’s are not permanent (can last up to 6hrs).
The Method to Increase IgA’s
Sit quietly in meditation or contemplation and pay attention to your body.
Observe without interpreting what you experience.
When you sense you’re reducing tension and mind-noise, imagine you are inhaling and exhaling from your heart, instead of your nose.
While you do what is called “heart breathing,” bring to your awareness memories of acts of compassion from you or others. Experience the sensation and emotion in your body (embodiment).
Practice this method for 15 minutes several time a day.
The information I am offering here should never replace medical attention or professional consultation. If you experience symptoms of any virus, seek professional help, and then add what you learned here, after your are diagnosed and receive treatment. While I am not oversimplifying the danger of any virus, I argue that panic is not conducive to anything other than weakening your immune system. Hopefully, the Corona virus will subside without becoming pandemic in the US. Meanwhile, you have tools that empower you to help prevent infection and enhance medical treatment if infected. Always consult your health professionals rather than solely relying on what you learned here.