Fear, the Real Pandemic
First things first, I try to avoid fearmongering.
I believe (and it's been proven) that fear and worry take a toll on the immune system. Not to mention, there are far better ways to spend one's time and energy. But I also feel a sense of responsibility to pass along information when it seems necessary. It can create a dilemma.
For example, when I received not one, but three successive emails last week from the the Natural Solutions Foundation (a clearinghouse for information to protect the public's health freedom) about the weaponization of the avian bird flu, well, I was a little torn as to my role in spreading the word.
My first response, as the author of these emails had intended, was concern, giving way to panic. The author, Dr. Rima E. Laibow, effectively using scary subject lines, made it clear that ignorance of this potential government plan to cull our population by releasing a pandemic of laboratory-concocted bird flu virus, could result in the death of myself, my loved ones, and many, many more. Among Dr. Laibow's advice for preparation, (besides procuring passports, and getting ready to find a spot to hole up for a few years) was to strengthen the immune system.
Aha. Here is something I can get behind.
Okay, so, first of all, don't panic (quick becoming an oft-used tag line in my life). Panic is paralyzing, and it triggers the autonomic nervous system response (read: 'fight or flight'), draining the brain of blood, and diverting essential energy to muscles, rather than to internal organs. This is good advice in any situation. Panic rarely leads to anything positive.
Other suggestions she gives (and while this is always relevant, perhaps even now more than ever) is to clean up the diet! Get rid of refined sugar, which has an immediate suppressing effect on the immune system. Cut back on processed food, genetically-modified food, pesticides, chlorine exposure, fluoride. Educate yourself about immunity-enhancing supplements and herbs. Take up stress-relieving activities: meditation, exercise. Get regular bodywork, like shiatsu (you had to know that was coming!)
But seriously, anything that can reset your nervous system to a regular, calmer state, and your mind and thoughts to a higher 'set point' of positivity will go a long way to to cultivating a natural inner strength and defense system, in the face of whatever will be in store for us. Information is power, but it can also be paralyzing. Know how to gauge your own stress responses, and when you're feeling overwhelmed, step back and breathe. Chances are there is nothing in this moment (especially if you're sitting in front of the computer) that you need to run from or react to, so take the time to regain equilibrium and decide a logical course of action from a calmer, stronger place.