Each year in the United States, on average, here is what we can expect in terms of how people die:
435,000 deaths from smoking
Almost 112,000 from being overweight
85,000 from alcoholism
37,000 from car accidents
15,000 from gun violence (excluding suicide)
1,100 from bee stings
And somewhere between 210,00 and 448,000 deaths from medical errors
To date, 12 people have died from the Coronavirus in the U.S.
Do you have a sense of where I am going with this? Where is the outrage over medically-induced deaths? Where is the needed cultural change regarding deaths from gun violence? On and on it goes. And while likely we have not seen the end of the number of people who may die from this virus, the point I am making still holds. That point being, all of the ways we get unnecessarily and dangerously whipped up with, and are feeding on, unrealistic fears. Along with all of the ways we get so caught up in moments like this as to lose all perspective; focusing and gathering instead around culturally, communally and self-generated made-up fears that over-emphasize and exaggerate the dangers we are facing, and call it a life.
In the meantime, we ignore the real threats, devastations and tragedies in our world. In the meantime, the stress response we put ourselves in depresses our immune functioning leaving us more susceptible to the very thing we fear. In the meantime, we feed the wrong things by buying more. In the meantime, we miss the real ways we can healthfully address situations like this. In the meantime, we are so perpetually distracted that we miss the real dangers of our world; allowing them to go largely unnoticed and unaddressed. In the meantime, we prime our nervous systems for the next crisis; ever-ready now to live as if the world is just one threat after another. In the meantime, we lose track that life is both finite and precious. With things we can control. And things we cannot.
This is not about more face masks and Purell for the vast majority of us. Instead this is about creating a way of life that supports a healthy body; on our own and together. It is about a way of being that encourages and promotes reality-based perspectives. Ones that understand the difference between real and imagined fears.
Did you know that the CDC reports that each year there are somewhere around 1.2 million preventable deaths? How about we take a look at that, and what it would take to prevent them. Guess what though? We already have the answer. Slow down. Be good to yourself and others. Move your body. Breathe. Eat real food. Stay hydrated. Keep good company. Get the sleep you need. Do work that fulfills you. Cultivate positive mind states and emotions.
Somehow though, this is nowhere near as compelling as the fear that is being generated over this virus. Somehow we prefer jettisoning ourselves from one crisis to another. Why is that? This would be the place to begin should you recognize there is another way to live; taking all the energy it requires to be afraid, and directing it instead towards what makes for a healthy human being.
How might the death toll change then? Beyond even that, how might your Life improve?