Switch on the TV and there’s news of the coronavirus. Read any newspaper – same old news. Talk to anybody and they’ll talk about how everybody is getting the virus! But, not everyone is getting it. Some people, it seems, catch every bug, germ and virus while others never seem to fall ill. WHY? It’s partly the luck of genetic draw and partly a matter of good habits and diet. However, physicians and psychologists are paying more attention to ways in which your attitude can improve your resistance!
Although it’s common knowledge that stress affects your body’s ability to fight illness, new studies suggest that the way you handle stress is more important. Indeed, medical evidence points to Six Emotional Traits that could help protect you, not only from minor ailments like the cold, flu and various viruses, but also from serious ailments like cancer and heart disease.
The First Secret – An Unsinkable Spirit: Having the determination to rise to the challenge helps in the fight against sickness. It’s what Dr. Kenneth Pelletier calls the ‘hardiness factor’, in his book, ‘Sound Mind Sound Body’, where he interviewed fifty successful and healthy people to find the common threads in their life. In addition to good habits, like not smoking, good diet and exercise, they all treated any stress as a challenge rather than a negative event. For eg., say, if you lose your job, you can treat it as a disaster or a chance to refocus your career. Conversely, depression makes it more difficult to recover from illness. You know that when you are down, you are low on energy. Well, your body’s defence mechanisms react in much the same way.
The Second Secret – Taking Charge: A positive and fighting spirit may provide the necessary motivation. Actively coping puts the spirit into action. Think of a situation where there are major staff cutbacks in your office. One person may think it is an outrage but choose to do nothing, while another will actively look for cost-cutting measures. This take-charge attitude has been linked to better chances of beating the disease. Studies of breast-cancer and melanoma in patients found that active copers had higher survival rates – active coping means you believe you can take control.
The Third Secret – Knowing Your Feelings: You should be able to understand and distinguish what it is that you are exactly feeling. Being out of touch with your feelings is no better than harbouring angry ones. According to psychologists, people seem to be at a greater risk of disease when they are unable to express themselves in emotional terms and instead express themselves in terms like, “I have got a knot in my tummy” or “I am upset.”
The Fourth Secret – Have A Sense Of Humour: The fourth requirement is building and honing a sense of humour. Your anxiety or anger will dissolve in the face of a good laugh; in fact, it is an excellent stress-buster. Being able to laugh at yourself as well as others is definitely health-enhancing. But what is humour and how can we apply it in our daily lives? If you have the ability to tell jokes, share them with others or if you can write funny articles, share them with thousands of readers and make the anonymous ‘Man from Matunga’ laugh, well, that is humour!
At a personal level, see comedy-films, funny TV serials and read funny books. Within marriage, play the fool and clown with your spouse. It sends the message that our marriage bond is so strong that I feel free to act silly with you. It leads to greater intimacy and emotional-bonding when you make each other laugh daily, so see the ridiculous in every situation and have a good laugh over it! Have private names for friends like Banoo Batak, Polly-Popat, Keki-Khadhro, Farida the Frog, Soli-Sales Tax, etc but keep them between you. By mistake, don’t say it to their face!
The Fifth Secret – Zero Malice: An absence of malice is the fifth requirement and a very important one. Studies show that people who carry a lot of hostility, angst or grudge, are that much more susceptible to illnesses – especially heart disease.
The Sixth Secret – Altruism: Altruistic behaviour has a beneficial effect on both – mental and physical health, and is correlated to having a longer lifespan. But what is altruism and how can we practice it daily? Simple – make someone happy by doing a random act of kindness without any expectations. Also, each one of us has a God-given gift, a talent, to be nurtured into a goal which can make you, as well as others, happy. This way, you’ll be more focussed on your creativity and express your energies without boundaries through your music, dance, writing, counselling, humour… whatever!
Give your talent freely to the world. Surrender yourself to the universe and feel liberated because the universe gives in abundance – but only what’s good for your spiritual evolution. This way, to an extent and within your karmic-limitations, you’ll be protected from minor ailments like cold and flu, and perhaps, also from major illnesses like cancer and the coronavirus!!