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How to Be Prepared for, but Not Paralyzed by Fear of, the Swine Flu Epidemic
Date:5/1/2009

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., May 1 /PRNewswire/ -- With the world gripped by fear of the potential deadly effects of the swine flu epidemic, how can people be adequately prepared for the dangers without being crippled by fear and panic? Dr. Robert Puff, Newport Beach psychologist, says, "People need to be informed, prepared, and then let go of fearful thoughts and be present in this moment."

People are obsessing over the swine flu breakout. Captivated by the media's frightening images, they speculate with their friends and colleagues over potential hellish scenarios, and then worse, rehash them in their heads.

"Fear is crippling, not empowering," says Dr. Puff. In his free e-book entitled Living a Peaceful Life, Dr. Puff spells out three possible ways to deal with these frantic fears. Two are typical unhealthy responses, and one is healthy:

  1. You start thinking about the swine flu. The thought arises: "I'm really worried about what's going to happen if this swine flu keeps spreading." Your response to this thought is to feed on it, like a cow chewing its cud, entertaining various versions of the same thought. You may continue thinking about it for 5 minutes, an hour, or 5 hours.
  2. When fearful thoughts about the potential pandemic arise in your mind, you try to suppress them. You might say to yourself, "Why am I worrying about this? What's wrong with me? I should be thinking positively!" This kind of suppression doesn't work either, because whenever you try to block something out, you actually give it more power.
  3. The healthier alternative is to acknowledge your fears as they arise, then get back to what is happening right now. Witness your scary and worrisome thoughts in a more dispassionate way. Realize that thoughts are just items on a menu; you don't have to make a meal of them. Then go back to being in this present moment. Go for a walk with your spouse, p
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SOURCE Dr. Robert Puff
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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