You Have Power: Self-Healing in the Time of the Coronavirus

By janet jai, MLA,
a liberal who believes in both science and prayer

(Note: This article was written long before covid-19 vaccines were available. If I were writing it now, I would add "getting the vaccine if you can" to the list of current guidelines that should not be ignored. I got my two doses in early 2021.)

Throughout my adult life, I have self-healed most of my physical health problems by combining Western and Eastern medical knowledge and techniques with prayer and affirmations. I am a healthy, energetic 74, and I look younger. I take no medications except very occasionally, and then only briefly and in very low dosage. My long-term primary care doctor (a respected MD) tells me to inform any specialist I go to see that I am a healer. I believe everyone has healing ability.

I am sharing with you how I self-heal because I want you to know that you have power in fighting the coronavirus. However, if you take what I am going to share with you as meaning that you can ignore current guidelines about staying at home, social distancing, washing hands, etc., then you are WRONG, and you may end up being DEAD WRONG. Worse yet, you could cause others to die if you refuse to respect science and don't use commonsense.

Please remember that what I am sharing with you is what I do. I am NOT offering you medical advice. For medical advice, consult your doctor. I have been asked whether I would consult my PCP if I had coronavirus symptoms. My answer is: Of course, I would. I would also use many of my other healing tools. Here's what I do to self-heal successfully and what I am doing more of in this time of the coronavirus.

I pray (and sometimes meditate).

Prayer is my healing base. Every day I pray for myself and for others I care about. Since Covid-19, I have increased my prayer time and pray for all who are suffering from the coronavirus, for our heroic health care workers and others on the frontlines, and for the healing and/or extermination of the coronavirus itself. I believe that prayers for others are also healing for the person who prays. This is not why I pray for others, just a side benefit.

When I need additional prayer help, I ask friends to pray for me, and I put myself (or others) on prayer lists at my church or other religious organizations with which I am affiliated.

Since I was raised Catholic—though I am now Episcopalian—I also often burn votive candles for my own or others' healing. I am currently burning a candle at the Association of the Miraculous Medal for the healing of the coronavirus worldwide.

Sometimes I meditate in addition to or instead of praying. I have meditated more in the past, but currently I prefer simply to pray.

Given that shopping for food in these difficult times has come to feel like a mine field, I bless food when I buy it, when I unpack it, when I prepare it, and when I serve and eat it. (Of course, I wash food and food containers as appropriate too.). I also bless grocery store and restaurant personnel and others involved in bringing me what I need and the sanitation workers who take the remains away. In fact, as this pandemic continues, I find myself blessing almost everything and everyone I come in contact with.

I do all this because prayer has consistently helped me to heal whatever I have needed to heal. Of course, it is not my only self-healing tool.

I affirm.

To affirm is to make positive statements repeatedly in order to heal one or more health or other life problems. I use affirmations developed by Louise Hay. In her book, You Can Heal Your Life, Hay explains the mental and/or emotional misalignment that she feels is behind a physical problem and then provides positive affirmations you can say to heal that problem.

For example, if you have a sore throat, Hay suggests that is due to "Holding in angry words. Feeling unable to express the self." Her affirmation to counter that is: "I release all restrictions and I am free to be me."

I like affirmations in addition to prayer because affirmations help me focus more directly on a specific health problem. As a writer, I also know that words are powerful. I have read that saying affirmations can change the energies in the body, and I believe that.

When I have a particular problem I want to heal, like a cold or flu, a digestive issue, anxiety, etc., I go through Hay's list of problems and affirmations and compile all the affirmations that relate in some way to the condition I am dealing with. I repeat these affirmations (generally three times each) once, twice, or more times per day until the condition is healed. I keep these focused lists that I have made. When/if a similar problem occurs, I refer to my list and do the affirmations again until it is healed. These days I always say the affirmations that promote a healthy immune system and a healthy respiratory system.

BTW, some people have problems with Louise Hay because her explanations of the mental/emotional conditions behind physical problems can raise guilt and make you feel that you are causing the problem. I have also occasionally felt that way about her analyses. However, her affirmations are so helpful to me that I simply say an affirmation and ignore her explanation of what's behind it I don't find that explanation useful.

It may be that affirmations work so well for me because I am a writer—a word person—at my core. For others, visualizations or other techniques may be more helpful and powerful.

I take good care of myself.

I know that part of my job these days is to stay healthy. Before the coronavirus, when I was excited about a project, I would sometimes keep working on it long and late. Now, excited or not, I make sure I get a full night's sleep or nap during the day if I haven't slept well. I also make sure I have healthy meals and take a long walk (while maintaining social distancing) at least five days each week.

Food plays an important part in my self-healing. When I am confronting a health problem, I research what foods could be helpful and adjust my diet accordingly. For example, I have a weak vein in one nostril so I have a tendency to nosebleeds. I read that parsley could help and added more parsley to my diet. This helped greatly in reducing the number and severity of my nosebleeds, which now clot almost immediately.

I do gentle exercises.

Over the years, I have learned gentle exercises to maintain the health of my back and of my eyes (the latter are I believe Chinese-developed exercises). More recently I learned acupressure and tapping to help retrain and balance my body's energy systems. I do these exercises repeatedly when I need them and sometimes just for maintenance. Others may need and prefer more aggressive exercises, but the gentle ones work best for me.

I work at staying informed without feeling overwhelmed.

It is so easy to become panicked or despairing because of what we hear about the coronavirus. While many media are doing an excellent job of informing us of the facts and helpful information that we need, there is just too much input coming at us too much of the time. Plus, even the good-guy media have a tendency to focus on the bad news (the rising death tolls in some countries), rather than on the good news (recovery rates and stories). Therefore, I limit media input when I need to. I also choose carefully which media I rely on since some media choose to spread misinformation even about the coronavirus.

I mindfully focus on the positive and funny whenever I can.

Laughter and positive thinking are known to be healing. When I go for a walk, I make sure I notice the flowers and trees that are now bursting into bloom and listen to the boisterous life-affirming birdsong that is part of Spring. I watch TV shows and movies and read books that uplift me or make me smile and laugh. These are choices that I consistently make in a mindful way even when my thoughts and feelings are pulling me to stay sunk in mourning for the situation we are all having to deal with right now.

I call friends and family.

Because we can't visit each other now, I make sure I call family and friends, even friends I haven't talked to in years. I call rather than text or e-mail because the sound of a friend's voice is healing and reduces social isolation. Again, I'm a word person so voice is very powerful for me. For others, a Facetime interaction may be more healing.

I try always to know what I am feeling and to give my feelings a healthy outlet.

When I need to cry and can't, I watch a movie that I know will make me cry. When I'm angry about something, I try to resolve the problem that I am angry about. If I can't, then I either talk with a friend, pound a pillow, or shout to release my frustration in some way.

I do this because many years ago I learned that back problems I was having were related to my unacknowledged feelings, especially anger and grief. I learned this from Healing Back Pain by John Sarno, MD, which is my go-to back book. When I can't clear up back pain through prayer, affirmations, exercise, acupressure, or resolving whatever situation is bothering me, I reread this book. My back pain almost always goes away immediately after.

When I need to, I consult a doctor or other health professional.

When I and/or my PCP decide that it might be helpful for me to see a dermatologist, podiatrist, naturopath or other specialist, I generally see these professionals for what I call a consult, to help me understand what's going on with me so that I can better heal the problem myself. I think of all medical experts—whether Western or Eastern—as partners in my healing. I do NOT think of them as in charge of my healing. At the same time, I listen carefully to the information and suggestions they provide, and I integrate as much of their advice as I find helpful.

I currently have a PCP, a dentist, a naturopath, an energy healer, a cardiologist, a podiatrist, a physical therapist, and a psychological therapist that I trust and consult with when I need to. I'm looking for a dermatologist and an eye doctor who are good at what they do, who respect my ways of working with disease, and whose energies align with mine. I believe that finding the right health-care professionals in any field can be a vital part of healing yourself. My PCP is retiring in June. She has been my PCP for more than 20 years, and I will miss her immensely.

Before the coronavirus, it was sometimes hard for me to decide when it was appropriate to see any of my doctors rather than simply continue to self-heal. These days it is easier because doctors need to be available for the many really sick people. I wouldn't want to take up a doctor's time and keep her/him from seeing someone who needs a doctor's help much more than I do.

However, remember what I said at the beginning of this article: if I had coronavirus symptoms, I would definitely consult my PCP. I would also immediately contact the friends who pray for me, put myself on my church’s prayer list, increase my own prayers and affirmations, rest and hydrate more, increase my Vitamin C levels, watch funny movies, visualize a positive outcome, and generally do more of all the many things I do to heal myself. For me, it’s never either-or. I always use all of the many healing tools that both science and God provide.

I concentrate on the donut not the hole.

When I was young, my father worked as a shoe salesman at Rosenbaum's department store in downtown Pittsburgh. Sometimes my mother, brothers, and I would bus into town and meet him for lunch at the Mayflower Coffee Shop near his work. On one wall of the Shop I remember a picture of a donut with the saying:

As you ramble on through life, brother,
Whatever be your goal,
Keep your eye upon the donut,
And not upon the hole.

When I see an image of the coronavirus (which somewhat resembles a donut hole), I visualize instead the big Mayflower donut and recite the little rhyme that accompanied it.

Keep faith and hope for the future, know that you have power in the present, and do what you can to bring about an outstanding outcome for yourself and others. And meet me for a donut when Covid-19 is over. I'll only have one because I want to stay healthy. I don't know whether I'll choose a chocolate glaze or a white-cream filled. Mmmm, something to think about.

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Author note: After writing this, I learned that the Mayflower Donuts image had a lot more to it than I remembered (see online). However, imaging only a big donut (with a very small hole) works best for me.

© 2020 janet jai, MLA. Feel free to reprint this article as long as you do NOT alter it in any way and you acknowledge my authorship as part of the reprint. I would appreciate it if you would let me know when and where you are reprinting, but you don't have to do so. Wishing you the best of health.