This article by Wendy Romano originally appeared at www.myCentralJesey.com on January 30, 2013.
During the recent outbreak of flu in New Jersey I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what “influences” me, as well as to how I can be a healthy influence on others and help prevent or counteract the proliferation of sickness.
One news report I read was a story about a new Facebook app that would alert me to friends who may not be feeling well, so I could steer clear of their symptoms. But aren’t these exactly the times when our friends need us most?
The Huffington Post recently listed 5 ways that friends are good for our health, including reduced stress, living longer, and boosting recovery and cancer survival rates
In September Dr. Oz pointed out that good health can be contagious, passed on by staying in close touch with our friends and family. Sometimes just a cheery phone call can help lift us above our misery and toward recovery, or even help prevent us from getting run down and sick in the first place. And who would deny the lift we get from a visit from a kind friend or relative who makes us soup or a hot cup of tea, giving us a feeling of being surrounded in love.
I regularly pray for my health and one day a couple of years ago I realized that I could be part of this good health contagion by acknowledging God’s care for everyone. Instead of being fearful and annoyed with the sick ones around me, I resolved to be a friend by including them in God’s care, and replacing my fear, annoyance and impatience with compassion. And I had the opportunity to see its benefits.
During the H1N1 outbreak I was seated on a plane next to a young woman who was quite ill with the flu or a very bad cold. I remembered the Apostle Paul’s assurance that “in him we live and move and have our being.” I reasoned that this meant right there, all of us, on that plane were living and moving in the presence of God’s love and care. This assurance replaced my fear of becoming sick and I continued to think about Paul’s statement during the flight. By the time we landed, the young woman had been able to eat something and we were chatting about our destinations. I continued on without any effects of sickness.
Apparently, this isn’t all that unusual. Healthsearches.org published some interesting findings on spiritual practices and the immune system. Several of the studies cited supported the conclusion that “the relaxing, altered consciousness, and spiritual effects of meditation and prayer and the resulting inward sense of peace can strengthen the immune system and the body in general.”
I won’t be getting that Facebook app this flu season or any other. I’ve decided to be part of the good health “bug” by including and reaching out to my friends and family, not avoiding them.