Thursday, October 16, 2014

Chicken Little Syndrome

Henny Penny, more commonly known as Chicken Little and sometimes as Chicken Licken, is a folk tale with a moral in the form of a cumulative tale about a chicken who believes the world is coming to an end. The phrase "The sky is falling!" features prominently in the story, and has passed into the English language as a common idiom indicating a hysterical or mistaken belief that disaster is imminent. Versions of the story go back more than 25 centuries and it continues to be referenced in a variety of media.~~Wikipedia

An acorn falls from a tree, plunking Chicken Little on the head. Convinced the sky is falling--and therefore the world is coming to an end--she sets off to see the king to demand a solution. On the way, she encounters several other animals, shares her story (always declaring the sky is falling) and each animal joins her in her quest. None of the animals question her conclusion. Finally they meet a fox who pretends sympathy for their quest and offers his assistance. Instead he takes advantage of their fear to lead them back to his den where he kills and eats them.

My friends, we are in the days of Chicken Little and his friends!

Ebola! Ebola! It's coming!

Enterovirus! Enterovirus!

Plague! Plague!

War! War!

Something bad happens everyday--somewhere. Once in a while, it happens to us. None of us is isolated. All of us are vulnerable. But running around yelling, "The sky is falling!" is not helpful.

Instead, folks should determine what they can do on a personal level to minimize their chances of being affected by whatever the problem is. What preparations are appropriate? What actions should be taken? What changes in our daily lives should be made?

I can tell you right off the bat that huddling together and feeding each others fears is not going to help. There are things folks can do. Every year doctors urge folks to wash their hands. Yet, when researchers study this one behavior, they find few people actually wash their hands often enough. The simple act of washing our hands would dramatically cut the spread of all sorts of diseases. It's a simple, effective solution, but we fail to change this one behavior.

Another thing we can do is sharpen our awareness when we're in public. Avoid crowding into space with a lot of people. Most stores offer disinfectant wipes near their carts so you can wipe down the handles. And again, few people take advantage of them.

Pay attention to all the items you touch every day. Door knobs, exit bars, light switches, mail, money, keys, items in stores...The list is endless. Wash your hands!

How often do you touch some part of your body? Face, arms, mouth, feet. All are covered by germs. That's reality. Wash your hands!

Immunity and disease resistance needs a bit of help. Eat nutritious food. Chuck the junk.

Make sure you get enough sleep. Instead of staying up all night, playing on the computer, go to bed.

Drink water. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know water isn't terribly sexy, but it's good for the body and helps flush out all the nasty stuff. Drink it!

Go for a walk, even it it's just around the parking lot. This one is a two-fer. You get fresh air and exercise AND you get all the Vitamin D you need in 15 minutes. Important stuff!

Think positive thoughts. This sounds kind of silly, but the truth is, we generate most of our anxiety ourselves. We wallow in 'what ifs' instead of being grateful for what we have. We are responsible for making ourselves ill!

I'm not advocating we ignore the dangers around us, but we need to jump off Chicken Little's bandwagon. That thing is going nowhere good.


  1. You are a wise woman, Anny...but I have to run, because the sky is falling...the sky is falling!

  2. Absolutely true. Most people find it easier to run around predicting disaster than to take a few really simple and obvious precautions.