Thought of the week: What would Socrates do during flu season?

Flu season is upon us. Tragic tales of fallen victims of the flu fill my social media feed — reported by friends, family, and acquaintances. It seems that sickness is penetrating the very space I breath. I can’t help but feel that the germs are closing in on me FAST! Help, I don’t want to get sick.

As a normal person who wants to avoid the flu, I was venting to a friend about my concerns. She hates to get sick as well (go figure) and told me “I don’t have time to get sick, I am just too busy!”  To which I replied, “Oh, you don’t have time to be sick? I thought it was just me!”

That made me think, “I bet everyone feels they don’t have time to be sick.” As the saying goes “sick happens” — at least that is the PG version of the saying.

From past experiences of being sick, I have used precious energy to fight the very thing I need, which is rest. Simply put, I just have too many things going on to rest! Why do I feel this way? Why can’t I accept the situation and just do what is best for my body? Is what I need to do that important in the grand scheme of things? I began to question my thoughts by channeling my inner Socrates.

The Greek philosopher Socrates was a master of looking at things from a different perspective by using a questioning method.

The Socratic approach to questioning is based on thoughtful questioning that promotes examining ideas logically to determine the validity of those ideas. You can use this approach in a variety of situations where shifting your thoughts about a situation would be helpful. 

Could you be a “happier” sick person if you change how you perceive this misfortune happening to you? At some point we all get sick and miss work or events. I hope everyone reading this has stayed healthy this flu season. but if a germ has invaded your space keep reading!

When something inconvenient happens to you, such as getting sick, use the following questions to put things in perspective:

👉 If you put your entire life on a timeline, how tragic will this one event of getting sick really be compared to everything else? Will it be a small blip on your radar or is it truly disastrous? 

👉 In one month or one year will this matter in the grand scheme of things? 

👉 What can this slowdown give you time to do? For example, is there a book you have been meaning to read?

👉 What is the worst outcome, best outcome, and the likely outcome of how this inconvenient event has hindered your life?

👉 Nothing stays permanent, how can you focus on something pleasant that comes from this situation while it’s going on?

👉 What is good about the timing of this inconvenient event? 

👉 What is good about your situation? (This may be hard but try to list five things.) For example, maybe you won’t have to sit in traffic because you get to stay in bed.