With the second surge of Covid-19 creating havoc, a pall of gloom has descended around us. It is only natural, when no answer is in sight and science appears clueless while governments are helpless. The unfortunate part is that no one knows how long this will persist. While vaccinations do show up as a silver lining, negativities continue to mount and fear of death has gripped all and sundry. In such a bleak scenario faith and hope appear to be the best antidotes to cope with the stress that the coronavirus scare has created. True, the pandemic has shaken our faith and hope is dwindling as people find themselves hapless victims. But there is need to realise that under such circumstances when darkness is all around, only God provides the succour. It is a fact that fear and anxiety have led to thanatophobia, a pervasive fear of death and people are getting depressed. It is this mindset that is creating more problems than the virus itself. Coming out of this depression is important for the society if it has to recover from the ill effects of the pandemic. Just see how it has impacted the society. Even though more than 97 percent of the people are recovering with little effort and basic medical support, and only three percent or less are threatened, yet most people fear that their life is going to come to an end. This fear creates melancholia and aggravates the severity of the disease. There is enough evidence to suggest that a direct inverse correlation exists between fear and anxiety on one hand and immunity on the other. Interestingly, anxiety due to thanatophobia creates symptoms like shortness of breath, palpitations, headaches, nausea and fatigue. So, there is a considerable degree of overlap with the symptoms of covid-19. This is making recovery difficult. Psychoneuroimmunology is that branch of study that deals with the relation between stress and immune system. It suggests that building stress resilience is a major step in boosting immune system. The question is how to do this. Prayers are time tested techniques that have been useful in enhancing stress resilience and thus counter fear and anxiety. Though most people pray in some way or the other at least once a day, in these times of distress there is a need to get a booster dose of prayer. This can be done by doubling the frequency to morning and evening, every day. Also, there is need to spend more time per prayer than what was usual. The reason is that with negative information disturbing our minds more often, stilling the mind to focus on the Almighty will need more time and effort. This in turn will strengthen the faith that is shaken as news of devastation and distress are displayed all over. To worsen the situation the social media posts spread depressing information with a nagging frequency. Having faith in God and believing that He will take care of all of us is the most important requirement today. Faith drives hope and hope boosts positivity. This leads to a stronger immune system which strengthens our ability to fight the disease. Reading the Bhagavad Gita is an easy way to cope up with Corona anxiety. Remember the Lord has assured to take care of us in chapter 9 verse 22 wherein He undertakes yogakshemam vahamyaham. Unflinching faith is one precondition.
Pathak is a professor of management, writer, and an acclaimed public speaker. He can be reached at email@example.com