As reports of Wisconsin hospitals preparing to handle Ebola patients continue, we may want to step back and consider giving the same attention to handling the fear of contracting any infectious disease in our own thought. As Tim Mitchinson writes from neighboring Illinois: “The spread of the fear of Ebola is far surpassing any spread of the actual disease in this country.” Read the excerpt below or click at the end to read the whole story.
Tim Mitchinson–Polls by CBS News and other organizations are showing that the number of people seriously concerned about Ebola is surging in this country. Americans are now viewing Ebola as a major health threat to the United States. The spread of the fear of Ebola is far surpassing any spread of the actual disease in this country.
Is there really a connection between fear and the infectious nature of disease? Yes, states a recent post in Medical Daily. “Fear may be one of the leading causes of the spread of disease,” according to the Socionomics Institute.
This group’s report continued, “A society’s susceptibility to epidemic outbreaks increases the longer they remain fearful and pessimistic. As a negative mood trend takes hold, a complacent, unprepared social environment presents a public health risk.”
For centuries, profound thinkers have identified fear as an emotion that must be contained. In one of her insightful novels about the boy wizard Harry and the battle between good and evil, author J.K. Rowling wrote, “Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.” So, while hospitals and medical authorities are researching ways to contain the Ebola virus, the rest of us can have a positive impact on our own health and that of our larger community by learning to contain the infectious nature of fear.