Fighting Corona: A mind game

Focusing on mental fitness

Image source: New Indian Express

The world is fighting against COVID-19. The tough fight has been going on for the last eight months, and though there are few rays of hope, the end of the pandemic seems far away. Governments, doctors – Ayurvedic, homeopaths and Unani experts from across the world, and fearless volunteers of all nations are trying their best to contain the evil. Every one of them says that there should be no fear in the minds of people about the pandemic as it will help them resist Coronavirus to a great extent.

Psychologists go a step further and advise people to think and act positively and be positive all the time. According to them, it helps people to be cheerful and gives them more strength. Moreover, they can prepare themselves physically and mentally to fight the Coronavirus!

While this seems well and good, there is a doubt about it in the minds of people. Most of them ask: “How it is possible? Alright, our mind will be fresh, we will try to be cheerful, but how can it help improve our physical condition? How can we have more strength without any exercise or recreation? We cannot move about freely most of the time, we have to stay at home for a long time, doing whatever is possible. This does not help us feel happy. We get scared by the news that we hear and see and become sad when we hear the number of deaths increasing daily. When moving outside, we are scared all the time, fearing what if the Coronavirus attacks us? How will we recover from it? All these things make us more passive and negative.”

Well, this is true to some extent. But for this, one should blame oneself. The main reason is that people are thinking and hoping to be precise, that someone will come and help them in being cheerful and energetic. Someone will give them hope and make them happy. Whereas truth is that they can, and should, do this. There is no other way. No one, not even an expert, can do anything without their willingness and full cooperation. This is a must. Being happy and cheerful will increase their immunity and the Coronavirus will not affect them much.

As everyone knows, there is a relation between body and mind; and together they make a human being. Naturally, they are inter-related. Our physical condition affects our mind, our thinking, our mood, etc. - everyone knows this. But when the experts say that condition of your mind and thoughts affect you physically, nobody believes them. People say, “This is a humbug. By saying so, they (experts) are cheating us. How can it happen?”, they ask. Even as they agree with many absurd statements, they counter such opinions from the experts, because they firmly believe that the mind cannot affect the body.

But after many years of research, scientists have proved it. They say:

What you think today determines how you live tomorrow. We ourselves and our brains must change as well.

The hierarchy of scientific knowledge tells us that when new discoveries change, what we know about the atom, whatever we know of our-selves and our brains must change as well.

Subtle shifts in the way we use our brains are the quantum key to life-affecting changes in our body - our life, and our relationships. From the powerful exercises highlighting the thinking that keeps us stuck in old beliefs, to the simple practices that catapult us beyond our limiting beliefs.

To this, Dr. Joe Dispenza in his book, Breaking The Habit Of Being Yourself 1 says:

“(After reading that our brain affects our body) You will say, all right, and then ask - but does it really happens and if so, how? Will, this is but natural; and for your satisfaction here is some information, which will help to enlighten you about the subject matter. 

Suppose you’re staying too long in an emergency situation like now, where you are under stress all the time. Because of this, you are in emergency mode for a long time. Fight-or-flight is using up the energy your internal environment needs. Your body is stealing this vital energy from your immune, digestive, and endocrine systems, among others, From a psychological perspective, overproduction of stress hormones create the human emotions of anger, fear, envy, and hatred; incites feelings of aggression, frustration, anxiety, and Survival vs. Creation of Insecurity and causes us to experience pain, suffering, sadness, hopelessness, and depression. 

Most people spend the majority of their time preoccupied with negative thoughts and feelings. But is it likely that most of the things that are happening in our present circumstances are negative? Not! Negativity runs so high because we are either living in anticipation of stress or re-experiencing it through memory. And most of our thoughts and feelings are driven by those strong hormones of stress and survival. When our stress response is triggered, we focus on three things, body (It must be taken care of.), environment (Where can I go to escape this threat?), and time (How much of it do I have to use in order to evade this threat?) and they are of the highest importance.

Living in such a situation full of fear and tension, thought of survival causes us to focus on the .00001 percent instead of the 99.99999 percent of reality.”

Those whom we call happy-go-lucky are never sad, nervous, off-mood, or depressed. The reason is that they are always enthusiastic and bubbling with confidence. They face the difficulties by saying, ‘come what may, we will fight it out’. That should be the way of thinking in the present milieu. It will give new hope and a fighting spirit, which will help keep us happy and healthy so that we can fight the pandemic without any fear. By observing the rules, we can keep ourselves away from the Coronavirus, and thus there will be no danger of getting affected by it. On the contrary, we can also help others when they are really in need. By helping them, you will get more satisfaction and will set an example for others.

One thing we must remember is that COVID-19 is dangerous, not deadly. This has been proved by statistics. One report from Kolhapur district (in Kolhapur edition of Sakal) gives the actual figures of deaths in the first four months of the lockdown. The total deaths were around 8000, and among them, Coronavirus deaths were numbered at only 97. The remaining deaths were due to long-term illness, heart failures, and other diseases, and also due to accidents and suicides. Even in those 97 Corona deaths, many of the patients were already fighting heart diseases, blood pressure, or some other major diseases. The remaining few deaths were due to the fear of Coronavirus and anxiousness surrounding the death. Coronavirus didn’t kill them and this should be kept in mind. For everyone else, being happy and thinking positively is the major key to protect themselves from the virus. 

There is a saying, which goes like this: 

Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.

By now, you must have realized that how important your thoughts are, and therefore thinking positively becomes more important as well as useful. By thinking positively, you will be ready to take on anything - not just the Coronavirus. The question now arises, how does it become possible? For the answer, we will see how the antibodies are formed in us. 

Dr. Bruce Lipton in his book, named Biology Of Belief 2 says:

“We know that there are billions of cells in our body, performing different jobs, assigned to them. Each cell is an intelligent being that can survive on its own, as scientists demonstrate when they remove individual cells from the body and grow them in a culture. As I knew intuitively when I was a child, these smart cells are imbued with intent and purpose; they actively seek environments that support their survival while simultaneously avoiding toxic or hostile ones. Like humans, single cells analyze thousands of stimuli from the microenvironment they inhabit. Through the analysis of this data, cells select appropriate behavioral responses to ensure their survival.

Single cells are also capable of learning through these environmental experiences and are able to create cellular memories, which they pass on to their offspring. For example, when a measles virus infects a child, an immature immune cell is called in to create a protective protein antibody against that virus. In the process, the cell must create a new gene to serve as a blueprint in manufacturing the measles antibody protein. 

The first step in generating a specific measles antibody gene occurs in the nuclei of immature immune cells. Among their genes are a very large number of DNA segments that encode uniquely shaped snippets of proteins. By randomly assembling and recombining these DNA segments, immune cells create a vast array of different genres, each one providing for a uniquely shaped antibody protein. When an immature immune cell produces an antibody protein that is a “close” physical complement to the invading measles virus, that cell will be activated.

Activated cells employ an amazing mechanism called affinity maturation that enables the cell to perfectly “adjust” the final shape of its antibody proteins, so that it will become a perfect complement to the invading measles virus using a process called somatic hyper-mutation, activated immune cells make hundreds of copies of their original antibody gene. However, each new version of the gene is slightly mutated so that it will encode a slightly different shaped antibody protein. The cell selects the variant gene that makes the best-fitting antibody. This elected version of the gene also goes through repeated rounds of somatic hyper-mutation to further sculpt the shape of the antibody to become a “perfect” physical complement of the measles virus.

When the sculptured antibody locks on to the virus, it inactivates the invader and marks it for destruction, thus protecting the child from the ravages of measles. The cells retain the genetic “memory” of this antibody, so that in the future if the individual is again exposed to measles, the cells can immediately launch a protective immune response. The new antibody gene can also be passed on to all the cells’ progeny when it divides. In this process, not only did the cell “learn” about the measles virus, but it also created a “memory” that will be inherited and propagated by its daughter cells. This amazing feat of genetic engineering is profoundly important because it represents an inherent “intelligence” mechanism by which cells evolve.” 

Now we can see how important it is to be positive and happy, by which our immune system will not be affected; instead, it will be strengthened. As we have seen earlier, if we think negatively and are under stress all the time,  we will become unable to combat a virus attack. Don’t think about the number of deaths, think about the number of those who have recovered from it successfully - they outnumber the deaths by miles.

I will tell a short story which I heard long back. The story goes like this:

Two friends are sitting on the seashore talking about their families, their problems, general conditions, etc. One of them is a positive thinker and always says, “Whatever happens, we should look positively at it, and say good this certain thing happened!” The other is a negative thinker and always feels nervous, sulks, and blames his fate. His friend tells him that there is always a good side to anything. As he is completing his sentence, a bird flying above them drops a shit that falls on the negative thinker. He becomes sad and starts saying, “Such things always happen to me. I always ask for the reason but get no answer. Now tell me, what is good about this thing which has troubled me?” The friend smiles and says, “Of course, there is a good angle to it! You should think: What if elephants had wings? And feel happy about it and say - Thank Goodness! elephants have no wings!”

Get the point?  The message is: Be positive, cheerful – that way you will be happy and healthy, and win the war against Corona by living with it! Prepare yourself for the fight, if you have to! Cheers!!

- A. S. Ketkar
aashriketkar@gmail.com

(The writer is a renowned sports journalist who previously worked with Maharashtra Times.)


References:

Breaking The Habit Of Being Yourself, by Joe Dispenza. HAY HOUSE, INC. Published in India by: Hay House Publishers India: www.hayhouse.co.in

Biology Of Belief, Bruce Lipton, HAY HOUSE, INC. Published in India by: Hay House Publishers India: www.hayhouse.co.in

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Comments:

Anup Priolkar

Nice analysis about present atmosphere of fearness. Positive thoughts always build creative cell in human body which multiply cheerful life.

Vaidehi

Very nice article.. Power of positivity is very much needed in these pandemic times. THANKS

Samarth C

Fitness of mind has been ignored completely. Thank you for writing about it, nice to see Kartavya tackling such issues...

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