Don’t let media drive your image of health, by Pamela Savage

•© GLOW IMAGES omodels are used for illustrative purposes

o models are used for illustrative purposes

This year, before the first blossom was on the tree or the appearance of the first blade of grass, the media was the harbinger of impending illnesses.

The media vigorously reported that the highest pollen count was expected in recent years due to the amount of snow and rain we had last winter.  And, this would undoubtedly cause severe allergy and asthma reactions.  A description of each disease and its associated symptoms was expertly stated.

Many in the medical community along with alternative thinkers-be it holistic, religious or spiritual-have come to the conclusion that the suggestion of disease and the visual imagery it generates can affect our health and wellbeing for the better or for the worse.

An article written by Star Lawrence of WebMD and reviewed by Louise Chang, M.D., affirms “Various health bogeymen jump out of the newspaper pages every day.  Threats are raised but seldom discounted…”  And, Jesse Gruman, PhD, executive director and president of the Center for Advancement of Health in Washington, D.C. says that the media plays a large role in promoting health fears.  “The problem is that mass media fly on news-meaning information has to be tarted up to be used.  This plants the seed of fear instead of education.”

And, these seeds of fear can lead us to experience the very diseases highlighted by the media reports.  A number of studies over the years have shown the link between fear and disease, including for example what is called “medical student syndrome”- where students studying a disease begin to experience the symptoms of that illness.

It can also lead us to limit our activity, missing the real joys of spring, summer and it seems now any season.

A member of my own family recently expressed fear that her allergies had already “kicked into gear”.  She listed symptoms and the discomfort she was beginning to experience.  She was considering not attending an outdoor party that was coming up and simply limiting her outdoor activities in general.

But what can we do if we want to be free of these images and of the symptoms they can produce?   If like the medical experts quoted above, we are clear on the negative impacts these descriptions and images have on our health, there is no reason why we cannot reverse the images or paint new ones in our thinking. Wouldn’t this be likely to produce the opposite results – i.e. boost our health and well being?

Mary Baker Eddy, a Christian healer who investigated the mental and spiritual nature of health, came to this conclusion:  “If you decide that climate or atmosphere is unhealthy, it will be so to you.  Your decisions will master you, whichever direction they take.  Reverse the case.  Stand porter at the door of thought. Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously.” Science and Health 392:24 (1)

It’s really up to each one of us.  When spring rolls around we can reverse the media-induced focus from the expectation of illness to a Spirit-based expectation of renewal.

We can ch0ose the image of spring that brings joy, goodness and a healthy body.

(1)  Science and Health with Keys to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy

Pamela enjoys writing and learning about health, spirituality, and the importance faith and prayer have on maintaining a healthy body and spirit.  She is in the full time practice of Christian Science.  She lives in Nottingham, Maryland with her husband and Siamese cat.  She enjoys hiking and the outdoors.