I’m not an authority on dealing physically with contagious diseases but I do know about handling fear. I’ve learned that stopping fear of disease can go a long way toward stopping disease itself.
The Christian Science Monitor quoted Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group: “There are two kinds of contagion, one is related to the virus itself and the other is related to the spread of fear about the virus. Both contagions must be defeated.”
This Daily Mail article agrees that worry and fear are often unhealthy and linked to various health problems: “Ebola: A crash course in fear and how it hurts us.” (See related article, “Five Rock Solid Ways to Master Fear.)
Just how connected the contagion of fear about Ebola is to the actual spread of the virus is becoming more widely understood. What happens in our thinking does not stay in our thinking. Fears can be manifested in our bodies. Protecting ourselves and our communities from Ebola and wiping it out, is as much about what we do mentally as physically.
Early health pioneer, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote about how mental factors like fear affect health and can even cause disease. She also explains how connecting to a higher consciousness – I call it God or divine Love – can not only heal disease but prevent it.
In her primary work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Eddy describes contagion as more mental than we might believe. “We weep because others weep, we yawn because they yawn, and we have smallpox because others have it, but mortal mind, not matter, contains and carries the infection…Disease arises, like other mental conditions, from association…calling up the fear that creates the image of disease and its consequent manifestation in the body.”
She references an experiment on a prisoner condemned to death which illustrates the fear/disease association. “A man was made to believe that he occupied a bed where a cholera patient had died. Immediately the symptoms of this disease appeared, and the man died. The fact was, that he had not caught the cholera by material contact, because no cholera patient had been in that bed.”
Reducing fear then, is much needed for all of us. But how do we stay alert and informed without absorbing repetitive, alarming reports that stoke fear – and without just putting our head in the sand or keeping it in the clouds?
For me, it takes an effort involving prayer to divine Love, God – similar to what this man did to overcome both fears and symptoms of an epidemic. Returning to Buenos Aires, Argentina in the early 1990s, he found the country gripped by a cholera panic. After a few days of constant news reports, he began manifesting the very symptoms he’d been warned to recognize.
He realized he had allowed fear to get the better of him. “It wasn’t a material virus I had to eradicate, but rather, it was the ‘infection’ in my thinking. I had to let thoughts from God—thoughts of the normality, health, and harmony that He had given me—fill my thinking.”
He describes ideas from his prayers: “Being well was the natural way for me to feel, because that was how God had created me…Only God’s love was surrounding me…My prayers led me to include everyone in the community under this same protection that I knew God was providing for me…Within a few days, I was completely free of all symptoms.”
Psalm 91 in the Bible promises: “You can go to God All-Powerful for protection…God will save you from hidden dangers and from deadly diseases…He will cover you like a bird spreading its wings over its babies. You can trust him to surround and protect you like a shield.”
Working to stay calm and avoid hysteria about Ebola is an important step toward keeping us safe individually and will have a calming effect on the general mental atmosphere. Putting a stop to fear is key to eliminating Ebola.