There’s one thing worse than a virus that goes viral, and that’s a thought form that goes viral. I found one in somebody’s Facebook post this week, he said “expect people that you know to die.” A simple statement like that, embedded in other information, is a delivery mechanism for fear. Yes I’m talking about covid-19, otherwise known as the corona virus. And I’m also talking about the nocebo effect. Which is possibly more powerful than the flu virus in that it compromises your immune system before you’ve even had a chance to catch the actual virus.
The media love fear, it draws so many people to read more of their articles, and that’s how they make their money. And we humans are hard-wired for fear, we need to discover what and where the threats are, so we can be prepared for them. We get a chemical rush each time we activate this system in ourselves so it becomes addictive to check the news. But the hysteria around covid-19, otherwise known as the corona virus, is way out of line and needs to be contained just as much as the actual virus itself.
The nocebo effect is why so many Chinese people have been attacked because they’re from China which is where the covid-19 virus started. The nocebo effect is why Corona beer has already lost more than 240 million euro in sales. The nocebo effect is possibly more powerful than the flu virus in that it compromises your immune system before you’ve even had a chance to catch the actual virus.
I’m not kidding about this, the nocebo effect can kill you – like the man who was in remission and doing very well until he was told his experimental cancer treatment was unsuccessful, he then suddenly became very ill with cancer and died. Or the man who took 26 sugar pills thinking that he was overdosing and experienced immediate symptoms (click here).
The placebo effect, the opposite of nocebo (you’ve probably heard of this one) is why people have spontaneous remission, are miraculously cured of terminal disease and leave doctors scratching their heads wondering how the heck they are still living. The placebo effect is why people who take candy pills get better – because they believe in them. It’s how people with trauma get over it, because they believe that they can. The nocebo effect is why people who are depressed become suicidal. Because they believe the will never feel happy again.
What do you believe?
When it comes to covid-19, I believe that mindful hand washing, mindfulness of face touching and coughing/sneezing into a tissue is one of the best ways to approach this (thanks David Michie for your excellent blog post). I also believe that being strong in your belief that you will get through it will help you get through it. And believing that people around you will get through it too is greatly empowering for everyone and much more helpful than expecting that somebody you know will die.
So be the placebo and not the nocebo. Use this virus to go viral with the idea that communities can support each other and work together to eliminate threats against humanity – not just the covid virus but all nocebo-like thought forms. We cannot waste time looking for people to blame, we instead need to become empowered and strengthen ourselves and each other.
Let’s be the responsible adults that we are and wash our hands thoroughly of the viruses that are not healthy for our bodies, hearts, Souls and particularly the ones that hurt our minds.