There is a worldwide scare about coronavirus. Such viruses in one form or the other have been with us through eternity
There is a worldwide scare about coronavirus. Such viruses in one form or the other have been with us through eternity. We inhale or get them in our system all the time but our body’s immune system most of the times nullifies them. However when our immune system is down or compromised then they create diseases like flu, dengue, etc.
In case of COVID-19 (present coronavirus), which is a very virulent form of virus, our immune system is not yet equipped to nullify it. Eventually it will do so but that will take time and come at a great cost of large number of human lives.
Our immune system gets compromised because of stress. Stress is an inflammation that the body and system fights all the time and in the process of this fighting, the general immunity of the body becomes less.
Whether the stress is because of lack of sleep, worries, panic, fights, or any other conflicts it creates fatigue both in our body and mind and has a tremendous negative effect on our immunity.
Our present competitive world also puts pressures on individuals all the time. Overachievers and ambitious people have more stress since they are fighting to achieve their goals. Most of the times achievement of goals is a difficult task and requires considerable nervous and physical energies leading to stress.
Our unsustainable lifestyles are also responsible for this latest virus attack. It is conjectured that COVID-19 jumped to humans from animals during exotic meat consumption in China. Increasing meat consumption - and that too of very exotic varieties - is a sign of growing greed. Humans want to try exotic things since they get bored in eating regular stuff.
If anything else this COVID affair should teach us to reduce our meat consumption to sustainable levels and try to respect natural living systems. This will lead to much more sustainable world.
Similarly, we have become soft and, with ever improvement in technologies, are getting lazier and obese. Scientists have long suggested that obesity is an inflammation of body and severely reduces our immune system. Thus, with the present lifestyle our immune system never gets stretched and tested and I have a feeling that in the coming years and decades we will have many more such epidemics unless we strengthen our bodies and mind.
One of the best ways to reduce stress is by developing a healthy and emotionally stable brain. Large numbers of studies world over have shown that a healthy and emotionally stable brain helps keep the body healthy and reduces stress.
India's yogic system through the method of pranayama and meditation is one of the best methods to keep the mind calm. The practice of 'sanyam' as enunciated by sage Patanjali where one concentrates on a single thought for a long time, helps in focusing of mind, relaxes it and brings in general calmness, happiness and peace.
The body can be hardened by interaction with natural elements like sunshine and earth on a daily basis. The constant desire to sanitize our homes, offices and general environment does not help in improving the body’s immune system.
There is no need to panic. In fact panic creates stress and leads to further reduction in our immunity. A calm, emotionally satisfied mind will have 'vivek' (wisdom) and make decisions that are for good of humanity. Leaders of nations composed of such individuals will certainly help reduce the tension and panic.
With human ingenuity in science and technology a cure would soon be found out for coronavirus. But for the well-being of mankind in the future it is necessary that we strengthen our body and mind to fight them and the Indian yogic system might provide a possible mantra and answer.
For the time being, however, the general common sense approach of social distancing and washing hands thoroughly are some of the best options presently available for reducing the spread of this virus.
(The writer is a US-educated mechanical engineer and currently Director, Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), Phaltan, Maharashtra. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)