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How humanity should face threat to their lives by corona virus ? (Dr.A.SreekumarMenon)

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Since last Feb2020, this new strain of virus, named COVID 19 by W.H.O started off from an inconspicuous place in China and spread almost all over the world quickly causing infections and deaths. It also crashed down the economy of the world.  Every country is facing serious problems. The life as a whole is paralyzed.  Threat of such magnitude has not happened even during second world war or when other natural disasters happened.  world is a network and so interdependent that anything happening in one corner instantly affects other parts of the world like wild fire. Apart from toll on human lives, it causes economic hardship to which world’s poor people are most effected. It is time now that all countries of the world should act in such a way, in unison that their actions should have beneficial effects. In other words, all the countries in the world should show more responsible behavior. We find today that this disease spreads without distinction of rich or poor countries, ethnicity, class, caste, medically advanced countries or less advanced countries etc. It seems there is something with the equation of man with Nature that has gone wrong, as the root cause of such disasters. We all know that materialism has reached in its ugly heights and the trend is continuing with the use of science and technology in everyday living.

When there is such disaster, the entire population will naturally be in panic meaning excessive fear, alarmism, state of emotional stress and tension. It is a natural reaction to crisis situation. Normal life both physical and emotional life get upset. Many comforts we are used to are not available. We have to live with bare necessities. This itself is very stressful, in addition to the stress caused by threat of host like corona virus. Thus we have two difficult situations to cope up and maintain our personality healthy.  Many may not be knowing this. Awareness of this will help to face the situation. Fast modern life    induces stress. So this is additional stress. If we can cope with situation without being stressed up, we will be resilient and capable of facing treat from corona virus. We should be willing to live with bare necessities without multiplying our wants and should learn to enjoy life. We are used to move about whether necessary or otherwise and engage in all kinds of activities, necessary or otherwise more just to pass time. We have learned to live like that.   When all on a sudden there is demand to lead restricted life by staying at home, we may feel discomfort and even be emotionally disturbed. It is a question of breaking old rigid habits. If we practice, patiently we will be able to lead relatively quiet life.   We should learn than cursing the situation. Once we are comfortable with new life style, we can take necessary action strictly to check corona virus. We should learn to live in our homes as our ancestors lived let us stay a half a century or century back. They spent most of their lives in side their homes. The home was their world. They engaged in doing some useful work at home, the work in which their minds were absorbed, with the result they did not feel bored or lonely. With increased affluence and with the availability of more and more labor saving devises, which are the results of wrong policies in the application of science and Technology, man has much idle time which he has to kill by their outdoor life. We should back to old era and do as many thing s as possible with in homes manually, patiently and artistically. While spending quiet quality time at home one can release one’s creative potentials and derive satisfaction. There is creative potential in every one. Modern hectic life of superficial activities mar creativity. we would want to continuously engage ourselves in those activities and do not derive real joy. It is only tension release and   engaging minds to keep from distraction like we give toy to distracting child to be calm.

Forced stay within the four walls of the house, however cozy homes may be, could be unpleasant experience, unless we know how to make it to our advantage. Keeping this in mind the following tips are given:

·    Be happy and try to be in good spirits while at home. Focus mind on activities of the home. It is possible, not so difficult as we may imagine. It is largely a matter of our attitude. Do not entertain in the minds unpleasant experiences/memories of the past. Better stay tuned the mind to present moment. while we stay without doing anything, we tend to brood. There is a proverb:   Empty mind is devil’s workshop “. Reminiscing happens particularly in the case of those who have had some tragic experiences in the past. They should take particular care not to switch over their minds to the past and stay tuned to here and now. This state of mind is called Mindfulness, a psychological term. Do whatever you do with as much concentration as possible. While being quiet disturbing thoughts pass off the mind, when you do not attend to Try to be a little humorous. Keep cheerful and smiling face rather than showing puffed up face. them. If you are a person who takes everything seriously, be aware of this and try to take things less and less seriously. Try to bring in happy memories.

·    Accept this change whole heartedly realizing its advantage or be at ease /friendly with the change or be at home with this change. This quite life style promotes health and sense of wellbeing. Do not entertain even the slightest notion that this change is forced on us or we are under pressure to follow. We might have received directions from outside or those are enforced by Government and public opinion. But you can view the change as chosen by us. It is up to us to think this way. we will follow what we have decided and we will be happy to follow it.

·    Trying to lead quit and calm life. Carry out activities in leisurely way, involving ourselves in the activity in every moment and feeling happy or enjoying. Luckily we have more time these days at our disposal, as we have stopped running around under some pretext or other, to experiment with new way of life. Once we develop this sort of life, it will stand in good stead not only to meet the present situation, but at all times in our life. These days’ time is ours unlike in days of hectic life.   We can utilize it in the best possible manner. Take this time as a holiday when we do daily chores leisurely, not hurrying or chasing time or being victims of time. Look at nature. How birds and other animals live, a carefree life.  We should emulate them.

·    Do not spend too much time in passive entertainment. Passive entertainment is that we enjoy passively, sitting comfortably in our sofa. We have no active roles for ourselves Watching T.V, Films, using computers and Mobiles for browsing websites too long belong to this category. In these not much thinking or positive stimulation of the brain takes place. We may feel that we are spending time without monotony or interestingly. But it is a false belief. One thing that happens is we get too addicted to it, neglecting attention to other matters. We lose reality –orientation/presence of mind, which is a mental symptom. The emotional relationships between family members may suffer. The relationships may turn mechanical., which is not desirable. This does not mean that we should not engage in these activities We can spend two or three hours per day. One should not deprive sleep in this manner. If We do it has long term effects on health and longevity.

Spend most of the waking time at home in doing activities which are constructive and which occupies our minds. Quick reading of Daily Newspaper, grasping the contents and reflecting on that is one such activity. We can also share positive information we gathered to others on brief on line chat you should not spend too long lingering reading. Avoid concentrated reading of sensational matters which might cause emotional upset. Prepare a schedule of work at home for better housekeeping which we might have overlooked or neglected due to hectic life. If there are two or more members staying together, house hold work could be done jointly. It does all the better. Apart from efficiency, mutual relations, understanding and mutual trust improve.  This helps Couples can discuss with each other the news appeared in Newspaper and daily developments. This helps to develop general awareness, which helps to prevent sense of loneliness and feel secure. Creative hobbies like reading good literature with understanding, literary writing, drawing, painting, embroidery, Modelling, Paper cutting, Doll making, stitching clothes, preparing different dishes/practicing culinary Art, gardening and so on can be done to spend usefully to have positive effects on our minds and health.

·     Turn our head lights inside. As I mentioned, generally people lead an out- directed life meaning spending most of the time in outdoor activities. We hardly think of our body in a right way. We do think of our body in a wrong way most of the times.  For instance, we feel we have some illness or other, imaginary illness and visit clinics frequently and take medicines. We tend to be hyper-sensitive. We lose our capacity to judge whether we are well or not. This is a mental/Psychic problem called Hypochondria in Clinical Psychology. Most patients visiting out-patient clinics belong to this category. We are capable of sensing correctly whether we are keeping well or whether we suffer from any disease or malfunctioning of any organ of our body. This is all because of the stress, we experience. The remedy for this is leading a relatively quiet life that is keeping mind calm, composed and in a state of equipoise.  Meditation is recommended. without getting into intricacies of yoga techniques, it can be performed like this.  Sit quiet in a calm place at least for an hour daily preferably morning time.  In this state do not think about anything. Keep the mind vacant.  Breathe deeply, steadily and slowly. sense rhythm of inhalation and exhalation. and or upward and down ward movements of diaphragm or beating of the heart. Sensing inhalation and exhalation and diaphragm movements is much easier than sensing heartbeat, which one can sense after some practice and when the relaxation is deep. This is a stress free state.   The mechanism of body works rhythmically as they are tuned when one is in this state of mind, which means all the bodily function including Immunity will work most effectively. In other words, it helps immunity to work in its maximum capacity, which will kill corona virus. Thus we can help our body to fight successfully against corona virus.

·      We should not allow unnecessary wants to come up in our minds. Do not think that you do not have this or that kindling desire to see those. Limit your wants to barest minimum. Make life simple. Do not spend more time in reading product advertisements lest it might arouse wants. we might want to go for new things. We are in a consumeristic society, which make us gullible. Particularly during a time of Lockdown, hardly commodities are available. We may be under pressure and mental conflict, if we try to procure to which ever things of comforts, we were used to before. Another way to check our chasing of goods and services is by valuing what we have, trying to maintain them properly and enjoy using them. Be attached to whatever you have. Another technique we case use to be satisfied with our possessions and not running after others is by not comparing what we have with others have. Yet another way is that we should not acquire anything for its show value or as status symbols. These techniques should help to stay satisfied with life of moderation and check our tendency to be pen thrift.

·     Tune the mind to positive mode

What is meant by this is to fill the mind with positive thoughts, thoughts about moral/ethical /human values by reading Articles dealing with those. Our Epics and other ancient texts like Ramayan, Mahabharath, yoga vaashitam, Bagavad Gita, Maha bhagavatam and many other spiritual treatises are full of moral/ethical ideas/virtues. like Sathya or truth, Dharma or righteousness, Santhi or peace, Ahimsa or non-violence and their manifestation like kindness, helping others etc. . One   should read these ancient texts, understand the meaning and see the meaning in the mental eye or internalize the dharma principles dealt by those treatises. Do not think of evil qualities or vices like anger, fear, jealousy, violence etc. Thus we should keep our minds positively tuned, so that we are able to realize our true potentialities of beneficence which can neutralize malign forces such as corona virus. The mind should also be switched to pleasant encouraging mood rather than discouraging mood of melancholy.

8 Follow a regular daily schedule.

 Before we were forced to stay at home, we must be following more or less regular schedule for our life. say we get up at certain times, take food at certain regular times, time to go sleep, , time to attend to matters of personal hygiene say taking bath, to get ready to go office etc., which we do mostly under pressure of demand outside. For instance, if a person who goes to office for work, he has to get up and prepare. So too school going children and women working at home. During forced stay at home by lockdown, the regularity of the habits may get affected   and this may have cascading ill effects on the personal and family life and this may create a stressful situation in the family. This additional stress may weaken the body further. So it is recommended that during forced stay at home, we should practice regular habits. For instance, we should not get up very late thinking that there is nothing much to do.  Maintaining regular and normal habits during this time helps in facing stressful situation.  Ultimately, it is the mind that matters.

9 Listen to music for an hour or less will help to life up spirits. The music chosen should be of slow moving and those preaching good personal qualities. Light music is preferred. For example, K.S.chitra , famous Playback singer of Kerala has put together a Malayalam songs chosen  fitting to the occasion  sung by 25  other Malayalee singers and posted in her Facebook page.

10 Feel and experience sense of gratitude.

In the world, we are interdependent. We depend upon many agencies things, like other people and nature. Nature is perhaps the most important of all these. We do not realize this. On the other hand, we do to earth those contrary to being grateful. We misuse earth and its resources to such an extent that it’s balanced is disturbed. We should feel lively feeing of gratitude towards all around us in Nature and to all who help us in one way of other. In other words, we should develop sense of gratitude in our minds as something permanent and expressive. This mental set causes many good effects on us in making us humble, relaxed, experiencing peace and overall mental strength. Under present condition there is scarcity of everything. We should appreciate and be thankful to people who make those available to us as well to those workers of essential services who work facing the possibility of getting infected. Our appreciation will motivate them to do better service. We are also equally benefitted as pointed above. When we appreciate and thankful to nature, we will protect it. Thus we cultivate a good and essential quality.

11. Think of success scored in our life as well as in other outside events.

 We should ponder over the success, we attained in various events in our personal life. We should also ponder over the success stories regarding the control spread of coronavirus disease, the success rate achieved by different Health Agencies and countries in controlling this epidemic. For instance, we find that Government considered of Kerala has been able to contain the virus spread and the action taken by Kerala Government is recognized as a model for others to follow. When we replay in our mind memories of our past successes and gains, it he us to develop sense of confidence or the courage to face tuff situations including the threat posed by corona virus. Similar is the effect when we follow the successful trend in the control of spread of corona virus,

12 Recognize and  aplaud the sacrifices made by General public during lock down period to fight against corona virus.

It is stated above that we should be thankful to front line warriors such as health workers and others of essential services to boost their morale and to continue their services. In addition, we could exchange ideas regarding the personal sacrifices made by each one of us such as facing hardships and facing personal inconveniences and complement our brethren instead of telling the stories of woes, this will make the people hopeful and confident in fighting against corona virus threat rather than being pessimistic and melancholic. It is all a case of tuning our mind.  This practice will also help to develop in the minds of the people that we are together in facing crisis, the feelings of which will help to make public life pleasant.

13 Make voluntary and a token contribution to corona relief Fund

Each household donates a token contribution say Rupee 1/-per day to the fund to be collected for this disaster relief fund. It should not be more than a Rupee at a time.  This money to be used to provide accessories needed for covid control activities.  It is not the magnitude of this fund that matters, but it is a token of the sacrifices people make and their coming together for a common purpose or what is called solidarity. I recall that each person was donating Rupee 1 for purchase of Dialysis Machine for late Shri Jayaprakash Narayan. It would nice if we encourage our members, particularly young children to develop this habit of making small /token donations for the cause of the country. It develops sense of patriotism. I saw while in U.S,    a saint of Chinmaya Mission visiting Chimnmaya Mission center there advising young children to put one rupee daily in the coin box for humanitarian purposes. By children develops humanitarian attitudes and become welcome citizens.   

To capitulate, currently we, the world as a whole is facing Pandemic which means threat of corona virus and the threat of being panic or terrific fear. It is difficult to predict now how long would it take to control the virus completely. In this articles, certain steps have been suggested to face both kinds of threats and to keep minds at their best, so that mankind will be able to win over the present crisis. What has been stated are drawn from deep Psychological analysis. It is hoped that if the steps suggested here are followed meticulously, they should help us in this trying situation.

(It is reported that in china where this epidemic started is completely under control, as on 8.4.2020 that restrictions will be removed and allow normal life to return. But as far the conditions in other parts of the world is concerned, attempts to contain the virus is still continuing and it might take some more time to bring the situation under perfect control and normalize life. So people may have to continue their lives restricted.so learning to l put up with the situation and learn to learn to live under the present conditions as peacefully and happily as possible   is important. Thus, the guide lines suggested in this Article assumes more importance. Once people learn to scale down their lives as suggested in this article, it will stand in good stead during the time of such threats and beyond when there is no such threat from outside.)

What is required now is not panic, but patience, caution, courage and the will to face the situation. Let us pray   to All mighty for bringing back normal life.

I, being a student of Psychology and also keen in sharing my understanding to others for their welfare, I wrote few other small articles and this comprehensive one few day after corona disease started spreading in the world. Today I listened a very informative and heart touching address in very simple Malayalam by Amritanandamayee Devi/Amma on Amrita T.V     She also called upon Psychologists, Psychiatrists and other Mental Health Professionals to offer their free services in counselling and sharing ideas of mental health principles. It was very inspiring to me thinking that I could offer my humble service through my writings and also sharing ideas with people I use to meet. Psychologists and Psychiatrists of Amrita Medical college and Super speciality Hospital, at Cochin, run by Amritanandamayee Math offer free counselling service to the public   under the direction of Amma. They can be   contacted them over phone and avail help to maintain emotional health and peace in this critical time.  This information comes on Amrita T.V these days.


                                                                                            

(Dr.A.SreekumarMenon)

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