The coronavirus is here, and the whole world is talking about it. But what does it have to do with meditation? Can meditation help keep you safe, calm and fearless in these times of chaos? Are there specific coronavirus meditations? This article aims to answer these questions.
Behold, the natural uncertainty of life is now magnified! You may be anxious about catching the coronavirus, or worried about family and friends getting sick or dying. Perhaps you worry about the future of your community or of humanity. You may be also feeling overwhelmed by the constant news updates and a growing number of deaths.
While I’m taking reasonable precautions, I am personally not afraid of the coronavirus (as you read through this article, you will realize why).
This calamity is a great opportunity to take the skills and qualities you develop through meditation—such as serenity, equanimity and acceptance—and practice them in your daily life.
We can use this time to work on ourselves, grow as a person, meditate more, and spend quality time with people we care about. It’s also a great time for reflection about what truly matters in our life.
Here are three principles to keep in mind.
We need to be careful, but not to panic.
Let’s be careful about our hygiene, our health, and let’s avoid non-essential contact with people and gatherings.
These are all concrete steps we can take—but we don’t need to panic or become neurotic about it. That doesn’t help; in fact, it simply weakens our immune system (which is not a good idea right now)…
As meditators, we seek to find the middle way of balance: being careful, yet calm.
One of the lessons we learn from meditation is compassion and oneness. This is very relevant now because we realize that we are all together in this sticky situation.
Taking care of yourself is taking care of the other, and taking care of the other is taking care of yourself. You are not alone in this!
In situations of calamity and danger, taking care of your mental health is essential. Hence the importance of meditation. It helps you manage the stress and anxiety of this situation, remain calm, and think positive.
This not only makes you feel better but is also proven to boost your immune system—thus making you stronger against viruses.
What We Know
There is a lot of sensationalism around the coronavirus, so it can be hard to sort through the information and figure out what is fact and what is just speculation and fake news.
Here are some important things we know about it:
- Danger. The death rate is 3.4%, according to the World Health Organization, while the standard flu is about 0.1% (source). And it’s spreading like wildfire (source).
- Risk Population. Older adults and people who have severe heart, lung or kidney disease seem to be at higher risk (source). The older the person, the higher is the death rate (source). No deaths in children under 9 have been reported (source).
- Symptoms. Patients may have fever, cough, runny nose, shortness of breath; and, in more severe cases, pneumonia with acute respiratory distress (source). However, a person can have the virus for several days before any symptoms surface (source).
- Protection. Regular face masks don’t really help you from getting infected, but N-95 respirators offer better protection (source).
- Cure. There is no medicine or vaccine available at the moment (source).
- Society. Schools being closed. Conferences canceled. People are stock pilling (in Australia, you can’t buy toilet paper right now).
What Can We Do
(Note: I’m not a medical doctor, nor do I offer medical advice. Everything in this article is to be considered an opinion piece, fruit of my own personal research.)
There are five types of action we can take:
- Limit your exposure (avoid non-essential travel, meetings, events and public places)
- Hygiene (constant and thorough hand washing, avoid touching your face and touching public surfaces)
- Prepare for quarantine (stock a few weeks worth of food, water, medicine, etc.)
- Boost your immune system
- Manage your anxiety
In this article, I will focus on the last two items, which are things that meditation can help you with.
The weaker your immune system is, the higher the risk is for you. So boosting your immune system should now be a priority—as it could be a matter of life or death!
As mentioned, there is a lot we don’t know about the coronavirus yet. Some argue that boosting your immune system may not even help in preventing you to get the virus. Even if that is the case, a well-functioning immune system can be the difference between developing no illness from the virus, or having serious complications.
There are several ways to enhance your immune system. Many people are talking about Vitamin D and other supplements, having enough sleep, and a healthy diet.
Another thing that helps boost your immune system is having a daily cold shower, even if for only a few minutes. This is a practice I have kept daily for the past four years and I do feel the benefits in terms of immunity and wellbeing.
And, of course, meditation! Because a stressed mind, or overly anxious mind, will weaken your immune system.
How Meditation Helps: Immunity
In fact, there is a study published in Psychosomatic Medicine (2002) showing that people with negative emotions were less resistant to the common cold than people with predominantly positive emotions.
This means that learning how to manage stress, anxiety and other negative emotions is an essential part of keeping your immune system strong against viruses. And meditation is a great way of doing exactly that.
If the stress and anxiety triggers of our modern life weren’t enough, we now have all the triggers caused by the constant news and public panic regarding the coronavirus. So it’s now more important than ever to learn how to master your mind with meditation—through whatever means work best for you.
There are several scientific studies that demonstrate that meditation helps boost the immune system, makes you more resilient to stress, and helps with anxiety management. You can see the full list of benefits and the scientific sources here.
For that purpose, however, the practice needs to be regular (daily), over a period of time—and this is a challenge for most people. That is why habit is the first Pillar of Meditation (learn more through this free video series).
Does it matter which type of meditation? Yes and no.
There are many different types of meditation, but all of them have one thing in common: they calm you down, and help you manage stress and anxiety more effectively.
Having said that, each style is unique, and some of them lay greater emphasis on deep breathing (such as Pranayama) and on relaxation (such as Yoga Nidra)—and, thus, are likely even more powerful in terms of strengthening your immune system.
How Meditation Helps: Placebo Effect
Meditation in the form of affirmation and visualization practice can also help boost your immune system by tapping into the placebo effect.
The placebo effect, or placebo response, is when a fake health treatment—such as sugar pills, water injections, sham surgery, etc.—improves a patient’s condition simply because the person has the expectation that it will be helpful. The more a person believes they are going to benefit from a treatment, the more likely it is that they will experience a benefit. (source)
The key element here is not the form of treatment, but how much you believe in its efficacy. Some argue that placebo is the mechanism that explains all sorts of “miracle cures” and alternative medicine procedures
Placebo and The Immune System
The placebo effect shows us that our thoughts, emotions, and beliefs change our body. Our psychology affects our biology.
By believing oneself to be healed while taking a “sugar pill”, people actually get healed. In fact, there are many documented cases of placebo working as well as “real treatments” for depression, chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease, anxiety, asthma, epilepsy, hypertension, insomnia, and autoimmune deficiencies, among others.
So, my argument here is simple: by believing ourselves to have a strong immune system, our immune system will respond. It will become stronger and more effective at fighting viruses and diseases.
My Life Experiment with Placebo
I’m running a long experiment about this in my own life. Now, a warning: this is where things start getting weird! 😉
When I was a kid I had severe pneumonia three times and a bunch of chronic allergies. For most of my adult life, I would get a cold or even the flu every year. Until I understood the power of mind over body, and decided to consciously use the placebo effect.
Several years ago I “convinced myself” that I will never again become sick. It took some time and a lot of repetition—using affirmations and visualizations—but it’s now an effortless belief for me.
What are the results? In the past 6 years, I have not taken any type of medicine or pills—no flu vaccine, no aspirin, nothing. And, apart from a few sneezes and runny nose here and there, I’ve felt great every single day, and have not fallen sick.
Once, I was with a group of about 50 people on board of a small boat going to the Great Barrier Reef, when heavy rains and wind started. It lasted for over two hours, and it was pretty rough.
Every single person on board got sea-sick, apart from me. And I was one of the only ones who didn’t even take the sea-sick pill.
“I am okay, I am okay. My body is happy and well.” — I kept telling myself during the trip. I repeated that many times, with the clear intention of pacifying the body.
So I am not panicking about this coronavirus business.
While I am taking all the reasonable precautions, there is an understanding that I can protect myself through the power of my mind.
And I know that I will feel okay no matter what.
Meditation has helped my mind become more powerful—and it can help yours too. We have barely scratched the surface of what a calm and focused mind can achieve!
The coronavirus is a serious thing; it is spreading quickly, and there is no cure yet.
However, there are many steps we can take to protect ourselves. Apart from limiting our exposure and practicing good hygiene, we need to boost our immune system and manage the negative emotions of this situation (fear, stress, anxiety).
Meditation can help you with this.
In response to overwhelming demand, I have created two special guided meditations for this purpose, and included them on my main meditation program, Limitless Life.
Meditation 1: Immunity Booster
Learn three powerful tools for boosting your immune system: relaxation, pranayama breathing, and a special visualization and affirmation practice. This will help you improve your health and greatly strengthen your immune system.
Meditation 2: Anxiety and Fear Management
You may be anxious about catching the coronavirus, or worried about family and friends getting sick or dying. This meditation will help you ease fear and anxiety by working through it in your body via the ROAR Method.
If you are already a member, head to the member’s portal and you will find these meditations there, under “Guided Meditation Library”.
If you are not yet a member, click HERE to join now and take advantage of the $1 USD trial (first 14 days).
If you were waiting for the right time to start a regular meditation practice, or go deeper with your existing practice, this is it!
You can do this on your own, or you can join the Limitless Life program and follow a step-by-step system, with the help of a teacher (me), and the support of a community of conscious individuals.
Whether you join or not, whether you practice any meditation for this purpose or not, I hope you stay well and keep safe 🙏🏻