Volume 13
How to Say No! to the Cold & Flu Season – and Take Ownership of Our Health & Vitality

We are moving into that time of year that we call cold and flu season. We speak of it with such certainty. And that’s the problem. We think of the cold and flu season with certainty—as if it’s reality—and it is not reality. It is the reality we have created for ourselves, individually and collectively. This Forward Thinking Reminder offers guidance on how to use self-awareness and Managing Thought® to put an end to the cold and flu season, take back control of our health, and boost our immunity.

We act as if we are victims of cold and flu season. We aren’t. We are victims of our thoughts about cold and flu season, thoughts we continue to have and hold on the inevitability of our catching a cold and getting the flu at this time every year – slides we continue to put into our ViewMasters®. With the cold and flu season slide stuck in our ViewMasters, we don't see that we are responsible for creating the cold and flu season, that we are allowing our minds and bodies to re-act the cold and flu seasons of our past as we make hundreds of choices every day that negatively impact our immune system and create ill-health.

If the slides in your ViewMaster are “I get a cold this time every year,” “Whenever I get a cold, it always turns into bronchitis,” or “When one kid comes home sick, we all get sick,” you are creating that reality. You are instructing your brain to cause your body to get a cold this time every year, to get bronchitis, and get sick with whatever your kids bring home!

Our brains do exactly what we tell them to do – for better or worse. So we want to be careful about the instructions we are giving our brains. Are you telling your brain to cultivate health and strengthen your immune system? Or are you telling your brain to look for evidence that it’s flu season and to fulfill your instructions to get sick?

Right now your brain might be saying, “Hey! Everyone gets a cold or the flu at this time of year.” Your brain may even be citing statistics or reciting the multitude of marketing and advertising messages about cold and flu season. Please thank your brain for sharing and remember, just because something is common, does not mean it is normal, or natural, or that it has to be true for you.

Sure, a change of season, with the attendant change in temperature, wind, moisture and amount of sunlight, has the potential to weaken our immune systems. Sure, there are germs and viruses all around us that we could catch. That’s always true.

It is up to me to choose what happens next. It is always up to me to choose what happens next. I create what happens next. Every moment, with awareness or without awareness, we are choosing what we want to experience in this world and creating it, individually and collectively. It is my dream that we take charge of our health, happiness and vitality.

So let’s take a look at what else is going on this time of year. School is in full swing, with lots of curricular, extra-curricular and social activities, things to do and places to be. At work, the pressure is on to meet 4th quarter results and there are budgets, cash flow projections, strategic plans and performance reviews to do. We’re moving between natural and artificial environments in and out of buildings and cars. We’re getting less fresh air, foregoing sleep and exercise. We’re eating fast foods, consuming food and drink that do little to strengthen and nourish our bodies and, in many instances, harm our bodies. All of these factors contribute to ill health if we let them.

And let’s not forget stress – We are filled with thoughts of worry, frustration, self-criticism, self-doubt and other fight, flight and freeze thoughts we think when stuff happens that’s different than what we expect.

Worry thoughts, as with all thoughts of extreme emotion, negatively impact our health. Research shows that attitudes such as appreciation, care, and compassion significantly boost the body’s immune system, whereas emotions like anger, frustration, and irritation weaken the immune system.

In my book, I share a study conducted in 1998 by HeartMath Institute which showed that IgA (secretory immunoglobulin A), a key immune system component, was suppressed and well below normal for at least six hours after executives were asked to think about something that made them angry or frustrated for five minutes. When they were asked to think about something they cared about for five minutes, their IgA was boosted and well above normal for at least six hours.

Our bodies are chemical factories. They produce good and bad chemicals in response to how we choose to think and react emotionally to the circumstances and conditions of our lives. Each day, we have difficult people and experiences to deal with that can cause stress. How we manage our thoughts determines whether or not we continue to experience stress.

Every moment, with or without awareness, I am choosing health and happiness or I’m not. If I want to be happy and healthy, then I practice being happy and healthy. If I want to experience stress and have the cold and flu, then I practice being stressed and having the cold and flu. It is up to me.

Our health and vitality is strengthened when we eat, drink and chew well, move and shake our bodies, breathe deeply, live, love, and laugh fully, and make a difference with our lives.

So when you catch yourself with the Cold and Flu Season slide in your ViewMaster, take a moment to replace it with your I Choose Health, Happiness and a Strong Immune System slide and see what happens. Choose the How can I move and shake my body today? slide. Choose the I Wonder how I can take care of my body today slide, the What can I choose to eat and drink that fuels my body? slide, the How can I experience refreshing rest and sleep? slide, and the How can I make a difference in this moment? slide, and see what happens.

We can create slides on taking time to be quiet each day, breathing, relaxing, laughing, practicing thankfulness, and focusing on what we care about, all of which boost our immune systems. We can create slides that are focused on how the plans and budgets we are creating make a difference in the lives of others and create a powerful ripple effect of considerable magnitude.
When our brains receive these instructions, they search for opportunities to create that reality. We start scheduling water breaks, noticing vegetables on the menu, taking walks, breathing, relaxing, connecting with family and friends, focusing on what matters and creating happiness and significance in our work and in our lives.

How could you say No! to colds and flu and take ownership of your health & vitality?

May your thoughts bring you peace and inspire you.

MANAGING THOUGHT