Ask any marketing executive why companies rush to have their products associated with gorgeous models and sexy movie stars and they would probably reply, “Sex sells.” If you look at the recent machinations behind the recent Swine Flu outbreak the advertising executives new mantra may become “Fear sells even better.”….
Within two days following news of the outbreak, Biota, the Australian company that developed the anti-viral drug, Relenza, has seen its share value rise around 80%. Rather than accurately presenting the facts, the media hysteria behind the Swine Flu is more like a promotion for the first two instalments of The Attack of the Killer Flu trilogy. The original episode was SARS which was followed by the Bird Flu.
One of the original sequels that capitalised on the emotion of fear was the movie, Jaws. In fact, many of the underwater scenes were filmed at a place called Dangerous Reef, near my home town of Port Lincoln. I remember as a youngster, seeing the actual manikin and shark cage they used in the film. Both the manikin and the shark cage were half the normal size in order to make the 12 foot white pointer sharks look as though they were twice the size. Media outlets are using similar tricks to sensationalize and magnify feelings of fear throughout the community.
This climate of fear may well result in improved ratings, improved share prices of drug companies, as well as improved newspaper and magazine sales but it also helps the spread of such conditions. If you want to experience an emotion that helps to drastically lower your immunity, try living in fear.
In many previous articles on stress and emotional management I have mentioned that your emotional state is determined by three major factors:
- Your posture and body language
- How you describe things
- What you focus on
The media are manipulating the last two factors. Let’s look at how they describe the Swine Flu outbreak. Firstly the term Swine Flu sounds more sinister than the term Piggy Flu. Many media outlets talk of a Killer Flu or the potentially lethal flu. They get us to focus on the amount of people with the Swine Flu and give us an update on the number of deaths. For some reason they don’t think that it’s newsworthy to keep a tally of the number of people who survive the flu.
But one of the greatest lies the media love to throw out there any time the flu is around is the fear-inducing comment: “What’s different with this flu is that it attacks apparently healthy people.” It falsely implies that there is nothing you can do to prevent the Swine Flu apart from avoiding contact. There are plenty of things that you can do.
You can boost your immunity. Any apparently healthy person can dramatically influence their own immunity by the amount of stress that they create in their life, the quality of their nutrition, the quality of their sleep, the intensity of your exercise and the many other things that you know are good for you.
One of the most common pieces of advice I give to people to help with stress management and improve emotional wellbeing is to follow your heart. I don’t say this to be all flowery or New-age. What I really mean by the term, “follow your heart” is to pay attention to heart-generated emotions like love, peace and calmness. That also means that you don’t pay attention to or take action based upon negative emotions like fear, panic, greed and anger because these emotions distort the true picture. Get yourself into a peaceful and calm state and then process the facts.