The Incubation Period of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

The Incubation Period of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
The Incubation Period of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Ann Intern Med. 2020 Mar 10 : M20-0504.Published online 2020 Mar 10. doi: 10.7326/M20-0504 PMCID: PMC7081172PMID: 32150748

The Incubation Period of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) From Publicly Reported Confirmed Cases: Estimation and Application

Stephen A. Lauer, MS, PhD,*Kyra H. Grantz, BA,*Qifang Bi, MHS, Forrest K. Jones, MPH, Qulu Zheng, MHS, Hannah R. Meredith, PhD, Andrew S. Azman, PhD, Nicholas G. Reich, PhD, and Justin Lessler, PhDAuthor informationCopyright and License informationDisclaimerThis article has been cited by other articles in PMC.Go to:

Abstract

Background:

A novel human coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified in China in December 2019. There is limited support for many of its key epidemiologic features, including the incubation period for clinical disease (coronavirus disease 2019 [COVID-19]), which has important implications for surveillance and control activities.

Objective:

To estimate the length of the incubation period of COVID-19 and describe its public health implications.

Design:

Pooled analysis of confirmed COVID-19 cases reported between 4 January 2020 and 24 February 2020.

Setting:

News reports and press releases from 50 provinces, regions, and countries outside Wuhan, Hubei province, China.

Participants:

Persons with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection outside Hubei province, China.

Measurements:

Patient demographic characteristics and dates and times of possible exposure, symptom onset, fever onset, and hospitalization.

Results:

There were 181 confirmed cases with identifiable exposure and symptom onset windows to estimate the incubation period of COVID-19. The median incubation period was estimated to be 5.1 days (95% CI, 4.5 to 5.8 days), and 97.5% of those who develop symptoms will do so within 11.5 days (CI, 8.2 to 15.6 days) of infection. These estimates imply that, under conservative assumptions, 101 out of every 10 000 cases (99th percentile, 482) will develop symptoms after 14 days of active monitoring or quarantine.

Limitation:

Publicly reported cases may overrepresent severe cases, the incubation period for which may differ from that of mild cases.

Conclusion:

This work provides additional evidence for a median incubation period for COVID-19 of approximately 5 days, similar to SARS. Our results support current proposals for the length of quarantine or active monitoring of persons potentially exposed to SARS-CoV-2, although longer monitoring periods might be justified in extreme cases.

Primary Funding Source:

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, and Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.Go to:

Abstract

Visual Abstract.

The Incubation Period of COVID-19 From Publicly Reported Confirmed Cases

Using news reports and press releases from provinces, regions, and countries outside Wuhan, Hubei province, China, this analysis estimates the length of the incubation period of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and its public health implications.

In December 2019, a cluster of severe pneumonia cases of unknown cause was reported in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. The initial cluster was epidemiologically linked to a seafood wholesale market in Wuhan, although many of the initial 41 cases were later reported to have no known exposure to the market (1). A novel strain of coronavirus belonging to the same family of viruses that cause severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), as well as the 4 human coronaviruses associated with the common cold, was subsequently isolated from lower respiratory tract samples of 4 cases on 7 January 2020 (2). Infection with the virus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), can be asymptomatic or can result in mild to severe symptomatic disease (coronavirus disease 2019 [COVID-19]) (3). On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organization declared that the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak constituted a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, and more than 80 000 confirmed cases had been reported worldwide as of 28 February 2020 (45). On 31 January 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that all citizens returning from Hubei province, China, would be subject to mandatory quarantine for up to 14 days (6).

Our current understanding of the incubation period for COVID-19 is limited. An early analysis based on 88 confirmed cases in Chinese provinces outside Wuhan, using data on known travel to and from Wuhan to estimate the exposure interval, indicated a mean incubation period of 6.4 days (95% CI, 5.6 to 7.7 days), with a range of 2.1 to 11.1 days (7). Another analysis based on 158 confirmed cases outside Wuhan estimated a median incubation period of 5.0 days (CI, 4.4 to 5.6 days), with a range of 2 to 14 days (8). These estimates are generally consistent with estimates from 10 confirmed cases in China (mean incubation period, 5.2 days [CI, 4.1 to 7.0 days] [9]) and from clinical reports of a familial cluster of COVID-19 in which symptom onset occurred 3 to 6 days after assumed exposure in Wuhan (1). These estimates of the incubation period of SARS-CoV-2 are also in line with those of other known human coronaviruses, including SARS (mean, 5 days; range, 2 to 14 days [10]), MERS (mean, 5 to 7 days; range, 2 to 14 days [11]), and non-SARS human coronavirus (mean, 3 days; range, 2 to 5 days [12]).

The incubation period can inform several important public health activities for infectious diseases, including active monitoring, surveillance, control, and modeling. Active monitoring requires potentially exposed persons to contact local health authorities to report their health status every day. Understanding the length of active monitoring needed to limit the risk for missing SARS-CoV-2 infections is necessary for health departments to effectively use limited resources. In this article, we provide estimates of the incubation period of COVID-19 and the number of symptomatic infections missed under different active monitoring scenarios.

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Methods

Data Collection

We searched for news and public health reports of confirmed COVID-19 cases in areas with no known community transmission, including provinces, regions, and countries outside Hubei. We searched for reports in both English and Chinese and abstracted the data necessary to estimate the incubation period of COVID-19. Two authors independently reviewed the full text of each case report. Discrepancies were resolved by discussion and consensus.

For each case, we recorded the time of possible exposure to SARS-CoV-2, any symptom onset, fever onset, and case detection. The exact time of events was used when possible; otherwise, we defined conservative upper and lower bounds for the possible interval of each event. For most cases, the interval of possible SARS-CoV-2 exposure was defined as the time between the earliest possible arrival to and latest possible departure from Wuhan. For cases without history of travel to Wuhan but with assumed exposure to an infectious person, the interval of possible SARS-CoV-2 exposure was defined as the maximum possible interval of exposure to the infectious person, including time before the infectious person was symptomatic. We allowed for the possibility of continued exposure within known clusters (for example, families traveling together) when the ordering of transmission was unclear. We assumed that exposure always preceded symptom onset. If we were unable to determine the latest exposure time from the available case report, we defined the upper bound of the exposure interval to be the latest possible time of symptom onset. When the earliest possible time of exposure could not be determined, we defined it as 1 December 2019, the date of symptom onset in the first known case (1); we performed a sensitivity analysis for the selection of this universal lower bound. When the earliest possible time of symptom onset could not be determined, we assumed it to be the earliest time of possible exposure. When the latest time of possible symptom onset could not be determined, we assumed it to be the latest time of possible case detection. Data on age, sex, country of residence, and possible exposure route were also collected.

Statistical Analysis

Cases were included in the analysis if we had information on the interval of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and symptom onset. We estimated the incubation time using a previously described parametric accelerated failure time model (13). For our primary analysis, we assumed that the incubation time follows a log-normal distribution, as seen in other acute respiratory viral infections (12). We fit the model to all observations, as well as to only cases where the patient had fever and only those detected inside or outside mainland China in subset analyses. Finally, we also fit 3 other commonly used incubation period distributions (gamma, Weibull, and Erlang). We estimated median incubation time and important quantiles (2.5th, 25th, 75th, and 97.5th percentiles) along with their bootstrapped CIs for each model.

Using these estimates of the incubation period, we quantified the expected number of undetected symptomatic cases in an active monitoring program, adapting a method detailed by Reich and colleagues (14). We accounted for varying durations of the active monitoring program (1 to 28 days) and individual risk for symptomatic infection (low risk: 1-in-10 000 chance of infection; medium risk: 1-in-1000 chance; high risk: 1-in-100 chance; infected: 1-in-1 chance). For each bootstrapped set of parameter estimates from the log-normal model, we calculated the probability of a symptomatic infection developing after an active monitoring program of a given length for a given risk level. This model conservatively assumes that persons are exposed to SARS-CoV-2 immediately before the active monitoring program and assumes perfect ascertainment of symptomatic cases that develop under active monitoring. We report the mean and 99th percentile of the expected number of undetected symptomatic cases for each active monitoring scenario.

All estimates are based on persons who developed symptoms, and this work makes no inferences about asymptomatic infection with SARS-CoV-2. The analyses were conducted using the coarseDataTools and activemonitr packages in the R statistical programming language, version 3.6.2 (R Foundation for Statistical Computing). All code and data are available at https://github.com/HopkinsIDD/ncov_incubation (release at time of submission at https://zenodo.org/record/3692048) (15).

Role of the Funding Source

The findings and conclusions in this manuscript are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, preparation of the manuscript, or the decision to submit the manuscript for publication.Go to:

Results

We collected data from 181 cases with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection detected outside Hubei province before 24 February 2020 (Table 1). Of these, 69 (38%) were female, 108 were male (60%), and 4 (2%) were of unknown sex. The median age was 44.5 years (interquartile range, 34.0 to 55.5 years). Cases were collected from 24 countries and regions outside mainland China (n = 108) and 25 provinces within mainland China (n = 73). Most cases (n = 161) had a known recent history of travel to or residence in Wuhan; others had evidence of contact with travelers from Hubei or persons with known infection. Among those who developed symptoms in the community, the median time from symptom onset to hospitalization was 1.2 days (range, 0.2 to 29.9 days) (Figure 1).Open in a separate windowFigure 1.

SARS-CoV-2 exposure (blue), symptom onset (red), and case detection (green) times for 181 confirmed cases.

Shaded regions represent the full possible time intervals for exposure, symptom onset, and case detection; points represent the midpoints of these intervals. SARS-CoV-2 = severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.

Table 1. Characteristics of Patients With Confirmed COVID-19 Included in This Analysis (n = 181)*

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Fitting the log-normal model to all cases, we estimated the median incubation period of COVID-19 to be 5.1 days (CI, 4.5 to 5.8 days) (Figure 2). We estimated that fewer than 2.5% of infected persons will show symptoms within 2.2 days (CI, 1.8 to 2.9 days) of exposure, and symptom onset will occur within 11.5 days (CI, 8.2 to 15.6 days) for 97.5% of infected persons. The estimate of the dispersion parameter was 1.52 (CI, 1.32 to 1.72), and the estimated mean incubation period was 5.5 days.Figure 2.

Cumulative distribution function of the COVID-19 incubation period estimate from the log-normal model.

The estimated median incubation period of COVID-19 was 5.1 days (CI, 4.5 to 5.8 days). We estimated that fewer than 2.5% of infected persons will display symptoms within 2.2 days (CI, 1.8 to 2.9 days) of exposure, whereas symptom onset will occur within 11.5 days (CI, 8.2 to 15.6 days) for 97.5% of infected persons. Horizontal bars represent the 95% CIs of the 2.5th, 50th, and 97.5th percentiles of the incubation period distribution. The estimate of the dispersion parameter is 1.52 (CI, 1.32 to 1.72). COVID-19 = coronavirus disease 2019.

To control for possible bias from symptoms of cough or sore throat, which could have been caused by other more common pathogens, we performed the same analysis on the subset of cases with known time of fever onset (n = 99), using the time from exposure to onset of fever as the incubation time. We estimated the median incubation period to fever onset to be 5.7 days (CI, 4.9 to 6.8 days), with 2.5% of persons experiencing fever within 2.6 days (CI, 2.1 to 3.7 days) and 97.5% having fever within 12.5 days (CI, 8.2 to 17.7 days) of exposure.

Because assumptions about the occurrence of local transmission and therefore the period of possible exposure may be less firm within mainland China, we also analyzed only cases detected outside mainland China (n = 108). The median incubation period for these cases was 5.5 days (CI, 4.4 to 7.0 days), with the 95% range spanning from 2.1 (CI, 1.5 to 3.2) to 14.7 (CI, 7.4 to 22.6) days. Alternatively, persons who left mainland China may represent a subset of persons with longer incubation periods, persons who were able to travel internationally before symptom onset within China, or persons who may have chosen to delay reporting symptoms until they left China. Based on cases detected inside mainland China (n = 73), the median incubation period is 4.8 days (CI, 4.2 to 5.6 days), with a 95% range of 2.5 (CI, 1.9 to 3.5) to 9.2 (CI, 6.4 to 12.5) days. Full results of these sensitivity analyses are presented in Appendix Table 1.

Appendix Table 1. Percentiles of SARS-CoV-2 Incubation Period From Selected Sensitivity Analyses*

We fit other commonly used parameterizations of the incubation period (gamma, Weibull, and Erlang distributions). The incubation period estimates for these alternate parameterizations were similar to those from the log-normal model (Appendix Table 2).

Appendix Table 2. Parameter Estimates for Various Parametric Distributions of the Incubation Period of SARS-CoV-2 Using 181 Confirmed Cases*

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Given these estimates of the incubation period, we predicted the number of symptomatic infections we would expect to miss over the course of an active monitoring program. We classified persons as being at high risk if they have a 1-in-100 chance of developing a symptomatic infection after exposure. For an active monitoring program lasting 7 days, the expected number of symptomatic infections missed for every 10 000 high-risk persons monitored is 21.2 (99th percentile, 36.5) (Table 2 and Figure 3). After 14 days, it is highly unlikely that further symptomatic infections would be undetected among high-risk persons (mean, 1.0 undetected infections per 10 000 persons [99th percentile, 4.8]). However, substantial uncertainty remains in the classification of persons as being at “high,” “medium,” or “low” risk for being symptomatic, and this method does not consider the role of asymptomatic infection. We have created an application to estimate the proportion of missed COVID-19 cases across any active monitoring duration up to 100 days and various population risk levels (16).Figure 3.

Proportion of known symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections that have yet to develop symptoms, by number of days since infection, using bootstrapped estimates from a log-normal accelerated failure time model.

Table 2. Expected Number of Symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infections That Would Be Undetected During Active Monitoring, Given Varying Monitoring Durations and Risks for Symptomatic Infection After Exposure*

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Discussion

We present estimates of the incubation period for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that emerged in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, in 2019. We estimated the median incubation period of COVID-19 to be 5.1 days and expect that nearly all infected persons who have symptoms will do so within 12 days of infection. We found that the current period of active monitoring recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (14 days) is well supported by the evidence (6). Symptomatic disease is frequently associated with transmissibility of a pathogen. However, given recent evidence of SARS-CoV-2 transmission by mildly symptomatic and asymptomatic persons (1718), we note that time from exposure to onset of infectiousness (latent period) may be shorter than the incubation period estimated here, with important implications for transmission dynamics.

Our results are broadly consistent with other estimates of the incubation period (17–9). Our analysis, which was based on 181 confirmed COVID-19 cases, made more conservative assumptions about the possible window of symptom onset and the potential for continued exposure through transmission clusters outside Wuhan. Of note, the use of fixed times of symptom onset, as used in 3 of the 4 prior analyses, will truncate the incubation period distribution by either decreasing the maximum possible incubation period (if the earliest possible time of symptom onset is used) or increasing the minimum possible incubation period (if the midpoint or latest possible time of symptom onset is used). Therefore, using a symptom onset window more accurately accounts for the full distribution of possible incubation periods.

Although our results support current proposals for the length of quarantine or active monitoring of persons potentially exposed to SARS-CoV-2, longer monitoring periods might be justified in extreme cases. Among those who are infected and will develop symptoms, we expect 101 in 10 000 (99th percentile, 482) will do so after the end of a 14-day monitoring period (Table 2 and Figure 3), and our analyses do not preclude this estimate from being higher. Although it is essential to weigh the costs of extending active monitoring or quarantine against the potential or perceived costs of failing to identify a symptomatic case, there may be high-risk scenarios (for example, a health care worker who cared for a COVID-19 patient while not wearing personal protective equipment) where it could be prudent to extend the period of active monitoring.

This analysis has several important limitations. Our data include early case reports, with associated uncertainty in the intervals of exposure and symptom onset. We have used conservative bounds of possible exposure and symptom onset where exact times were not known, but there may be further inaccuracy in these data that we have not considered. We have exclusively considered reported, confirmed cases of COVID-19, which may overrepresent hospitalized persons and others with severe symptoms, although we note that the proportion of mild cases detected has increased as surveillance and monitoring systems have been strengthened. The incubation period for these severe cases may differ from that of less severe or subclinical infections and is not typically an applicable measure for those with asymptomatic infections.

Our model assumes a constant risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection in Wuhan from 1 December 2019 to 30 January 2020, based on the date of symptom onset of the first known case and the last known possible exposure within Wuhan in our data set. This is a simplification of infection risk, given that the outbreak has shifted from a likely common-source outbreak associated with a seafood market to human-to-human transmission. Moreover, phylogenetic analysis of 38 SARS-CoV-2 genomes suggests that the virus may have been circulating before December 2019 (19). To test the sensitivity of our estimates to that assumption, we performed an analysis where cases with unknown lower bounds on exposure were set to 1 December 2018, a full year earlier than in our primary analysis. Changing this assumption had little effect on the estimates of the median (0.2 day longer than for the overall estimate) and the 97.5th quantile (0.1 day longer) of the incubation period. In data sets such as ours, where we have adequate observations with well-defined minimum and maximum possible incubation periods for many cases, extending the universal lower bound has little bearing on the overall estimates.

This work provides additional evidence for a median incubation period for COVID-19 of approximately 5 days, similar to SARS. Assuming infection occurs at the initiation of monitoring, our estimates suggest that 101 out of every 10 000 cases will develop symptoms after 14 days of active monitoring or quarantine. Whether this rate is acceptable depends on the expected risk for infection in the population being monitored and considered judgment about the cost of missing cases (14). Combining these judgments with the estimates presented here can help public health officials to set rational and evidence-based COVID-19 control policies.Go to:

Biography

• 

Acknowledgment: The authors thank all who have collected, prepared, and shared data throughout this outbreak. They are particularly grateful to Dr. Kaiyuan Sun, Ms. Jenny Chen, and Dr. Cecile Viboud from the Division of International Epidemiology and Population Studies, Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health; Dr. Moritz Kraemer and the open COVID-19 data working group; and the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

Grant Support: By the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (NU2GGH002000), the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (R01 AI135115), the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (R35 GM119582), and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Disclosures: Dr. Lauer reports grants from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the conduct of the study. Ms. Grantz reports a grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the conduct of the study. Dr. Reich reports grants from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation during the conduct of the study. Dr. Lessler reports a grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the conduct of the study. Authors not named here have disclosed no conflicts of interest. Disclosures can also be viewed at www.acponline.org/authors/icmje/ConflictOfInterestForms.do?msNum=M20-0504.

Editors’ Disclosures: Christine Laine, MD, MPH, Editor in Chief, reports that her spouse has stock options/holdings with Targeted Diagnostics and Therapeutics. Darren B. Taichman, MD, PhD, Executive Editor, reports that he has no financial relationships or interests to disclose. Cynthia D. Mulrow, MD, MSc, Senior Deputy Editor, reports that she has no relationships or interests to disclose. Jaya K. Rao, MD, MHS, Deputy Editor, reports that she has stock holdings/options in Eli Lilly and Pfizer. Christina C. Wee, MD, MPH, Deputy Editor, reports employment with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Sankey V. Williams, MD, Deputy Editor, reports that he has no financial relationships or interests to disclose. Yu-Xiao Yang, MD, MSCE, Deputy Editor, reports that he has no financial relationships or interest to disclose.

Reproducible Research Statement: Study protocol: Not applicable. Statistical code and data set: Available at https://github.com/HopkinsIDD/ncov_incubation.

Corresponding Author: Justin Lessler, PhD, Department of Epidemiology, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, 615 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205; e-mail, justin@jhu.edu.

Current Author Addresses: Drs. Lauer, Meredith, and Lessler; Ms. Grantz; Ms. Bi; Mr. Jones; and Ms. Zheng: Department of Epidemiology, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, 615 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205.

Dr. Azman: Médecins Sans Frontières, Rue de Lausanne 72, 1202 Genève, Switzerland.

Dr. Reich: Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts, 715 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA 01003-9304.

Author Contributions: Conception and design: S.A. Lauer, K.H. Grantz, F.K. Jones, N.G. Reich, J. Lessler.

Analysis and interpretation of the data: S.A. Lauer, K.H. Grantz, Q. Bi, F.K. Jones, N.G. Reich, J. Lessler.

Drafting of the article: S.A. Lauer, K.H. Grantz, Q. Bi, F.K. Jones, A.S. Azman, N.G. Reich.

Critical revision of the article for important intellectual content: Q. Bi, F.K. Jones, A.S. Azman, N.G. Reich, J. Lessler.

Final approval of the article: S.A. Lauer, K.H. Grantz, Q. Bi, F.K. Jones, Q. Zheng, H.R. Meredith, A.S. Azman, N.G. Reich, J. Lessler.

Statistical expertise: Q. Bi, N.G. Reich, J. Lessler.

Collection and assembly of data: S.A. Lauer, K.H. Grantz, Q. Bi, F.K. Jones, Q. Zheng, H.R. Meredith.

Previous Posting: This manuscript was posted as a preprint on medRxiv on 4 February 2020. doi:10.1101/2020.02.02.20020016Go to:

Footnotes

This article was published at Annals.org on 10 March 2020.

* Dr. Lauer and Ms. Grantz share first authorship.Go to:

References

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What You Need to Know About COVID-19!

What You Need to Know About COVID-19
What You Need to Know About COVID-19

What You Need to Know About COVID-19! Looking Beyond the Surface of the Covid-19 Corona Virus

There is no shortage of angles as it pertains to how the COVID-19 virus is impacting the world on a global scale. It has been my concern that the media’s coverage of this pandemic has led to unnecessary panic and chaos. Panic and confusion are often the results of the lack of knowledge and understanding of a particular event. It is my goal to provide information and reasoning that will help expand your knowledge surrounding this pandemic.

Allow me to begin by stating that it is not my intent to marginalize the severity of COVID-19. The truth is that there is still much we don’t know and understand about this virus. The lack of data and history associated with COVID-19 has led many experts to err on the side of caution. I have decided to look beyond the surface of Covid-19 in an attempt to add context to the chaos.

Comparing COVID-19 To the Common Flu

In an attempt to put things in perspective, many have attempted to compare COVID-19 to the common flu — suggesting that the common flu kills more people that COVID-19 has. Others have pointed back to the H1N1 virus (swine flu) of 2009-2010. While I have alluded to both these viruses, my focus has been primarily on how the media reported on each. I hold the belief that if the media had covered the H1N1 outbreak in the same manner that it is handling the COVID-19 scare, we would have had mass hysteria in 2009. If the public would get real-time coverage on the 23,000 deaths attributed to this flu season, how would they respond? Basically, the media is controlling the narrative.

Currently, COVID-19 has led to more than 454,000 illnesses, and 20,550 deaths and the number is growing. For comparison, in the U.S. alone, the flu (also known as influenza) has caused an estimated 38 million illnesses, 390,000 hospitalizations, and 23,000 deaths this flu season (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

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When immunologists are questioned about why COVID-19 has caused so much hysteria, although the flu seems to be a common and consistent threat, they respond by pointing out the fact that the flue has been studied for years. It is easier to predict how it will behave. The consensus among these experts is that the unpredictability of COVID-19 is what makes it scary. While an estimated 600,000 people will die worldwide as a result of the flu this year, it is expected and thereby not worthy of media attention. The flu as a season and scientists know when the season will peak and decline. It appears that the predictability associated with the flu eradicates the panic that seems to be fed by uncertainty. As long as deaths can be accounted for, they are deemed acceptable.

Basically, despite the mortality and morbidity associated with the seasonal flu, there is a level of certainty, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Dr. Fauci says that the number of illnesses and deaths associated with the common flu can be predicted pretty accurately, whereas the complete opposite can be said for COVID-19. The limited perspicacity of how this novel virus operates is the primary cause for concern among the experts. The problem with COVID-19 is there is a lot of unknowns.

I can easily understand the importance of erring on the side of caution here; however, the irresponsible manner in which the media covers the outbreak is what concerns me most. When you add all of the people who consistently share information that they have not confirmed, it is easy to see why the panic is spreading so rapidly.

Symptoms and Severity

Both influenza A and influenza B, as well as COVID-19, are contagious viruses that cause respiratory illness.

Typical flu symptoms include cough, fever, muscle aches, sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, headaches, fatigue, and even diarrhea and vomiting. In most instances, flu symptoms come on quickly and will pass in two weeks or less. In some cases, there can be complications, including pneumonia, that exacerbate the impact of the virus. During this current flu season, an estimated one percent of people infected have developed symptoms severe enough to be hospitalized (translating to 60 hospitalizations per 100,000 people).

At this point, doctors and scientists are still attempting to gain an understanding of the complete picture of disease symptoms and severity with COVID-19. Reported symptoms have varied from patient to patient and range from mild to severe, and include fever, cough, shortness of breath. The aches and joint pain generally associated with influenza don’t appear to be shared in COVID-19 cases.

“In general, studies of hospitalized patients have found that about 83% to 98% of patients develop a fever, 76% to 82% develop a dry cough, and 11% to 44% develop fatigue or muscle aches, according to a review study on COVID-19 published February 28 in the journal JAMA. Other symptoms, including headache, sore throat, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, have been reported, but are less common. A less common symptom, loss of smell, has also been reported in some COVID-19 patients, Live Science reported.

Another recent study considered the largest on COVID-19 cases to date, researchers from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Protection, analyzed 44,672 confirmed cases in China between December 31, 2019, and February 11, 2020. Of those cases, 80.9% (or 36,160 cases) were considered mild, 13.8% (6,168 cases) severe and 4.7% (2,087) critical. “Critical cases were those that exhibited respiratory failure, septic shock, and/or multiple organ dysfunction/failure,” the researchers wrote in the paper published in China CDC Weekly.

A recent study of COVID-19 cases in the United States found that, among 4,226 reported cases, at least 508 people, or 12%, were hospitalized. However, the study, published March 18 in the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) is preliminary, and the researchers note that data on hospitalizations were missing for a substantial number of patients.

It’s important to note that, because respiratory viruses cause similar symptoms, it can be difficult to distinguish different respiratory viruses based on symptoms alone, according to WHO.”[1]

Death Rate

The typical death rate for the flu in the U.S. is 0.1%, and the current death rate of COVID-19 in the U.S. is 1.87 percent. The death rate varies based on environment and geographical location.

“In the study published February 18 in the China CDC Weekly, researchers found a death rate from COVID-19 to be around 2.3% in mainland China. Another study of about 1,100 hospitalized patients in China, published February 28 in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that the overall death rate was slightly lower, around 1.4%.”[2]

Transmission & Risk of Infection

The measure used by scientists to determine how easily a virus spreads is known as the “basic reproduction number” or RO (pronounced R-nought). The RO is an estimate of the average number of people who will contract the virus from a single infected person. While scientists are still working to determine the RO for the new coronavirus, the preliminary findings estimate the RO to be between two and three — meaning that one infected person will infect two to three others. It is essential to understand that the RO is not a constant number. It can be impacted by the number of people an infected person will come in contact with during the time they are contagious. A person who comes in contact with more people than average will have a higher RO. It is this potential increase in the RO that has scientists and leaders advocating for social distancing.

“As of March 19, there are 9,415 cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. Some parts of the country have higher levels of activity than others, but cases have been reported in all 50 states, according to the CDC.

The immediate risk of being exposed to COVID-19 is still low for most Americans; however, as the outbreak expands, that risk will increase, the CDC said. People who live in areas where there is ongoing community spread are at higher risk of exposure, as are healthcare workers who care for COVID-19 patients, the agency said.

The CDC expects that widespread transmission of the new coronavirus will occur, and in the coming months, most of the U.S. population will be exposed to the virus.”

Conclusion

What I can tell you about what I have been able to uncover about COVID-19 is that much is left to be learned. The variances in how countries are testing for the virus makes it impossible to make meaningful comparisons as to how different regions are coping with the spread of the virus. Simply put, lower numbers do not indicate fewer cases; it could be the result of fewer tests being administered.

My concern is still the way the media is covering this outbreak. To this point, the H1N1 pandemic of 2009-2010 was more prolific (in infections and deaths) than COVID-19, but the level of panic and mass hysteria did not even come close to what we are experiencing to this point with COVID-19. I am not suggesting that we not take the outbreak seriously. My family and I are taking all of the necessary precautions. What I am suggesting is that we learn as much as we can about this virus so that we can put it all in proper perspective. Fear and panic rob us of our ability to use critical thought and reasoning. It leaves us to react instead of being proactive in being strategic in our planning and responses. We place far too much trust in officials who have yet to prove they are worthy of the trust we bestow upon them.

Empowerment is achieved through awareness. The more you learn about any particular situation, the less frenetic you will be as you experience it.

Protect yourselves as much as possible. Don’t take unnecessary risks. Gather your information from multiple sources and consider all the angles. Don’t become a victim of your own biases concerning the virus. Be open to new truths, ideas, and suggestions.

I will continue to conduct research and gather information to share with you. So keep checking back in. ~ Rick Wallace, Ph.D., Psy.D.


[1] Rettner, R. (2020). How does the new coronavirus compare with the flu? Live Science.

[2] ibid

The 90-Day Holistic Health Challenge

The 90-Day Holistic Health Challenge
The 90-Day Holistic Health Challenge

The 90-Day Holistic Health Challenge

Many of you are probably aware of the fact that I suffered several heart attacks over the past couple of weeks — culminating with two major heart attacks that required the placement of a stent in a major artery leading to my heart. I have to admit that as the Dean of the Schools for Health & Wellness at Crystal Rain Institute and A.R.O.H. Theological Seminary, as well as the founder and President of Master Fitness 21, it is a little embarrassing that I allowed my health to deteriorate to this point.

The truth is that it is not difficult to get caught up in the challenges of everyday life and begin to neglect even the most important things. I am not offering up an excuse for not taking care of myself; there isn’t a valid reason. I am merely saying that we must make a committed effort to make our holistic health a priority.

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Critical Mass: The Phenomenon of Next-Level Living ~ Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a Heart Attack
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I laid there in the hospital having that second major heart attack, and watching all of the staff members of the rapid response team work in unison to save my life. I realized that all of my intentions associated with grinding and working hard would be for nothing if I died before completing my work. At this moment, I rediscovered the importance of balance in every aspect of life.

At that moment, I made myself a promise that I would make my health a priority. Over the next 90 days, I am committed to achieving holistic health — emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically. The goal is to create the optimal atmosphere and environment to allow my body to heal itself.

So many of us are destroying ourselves from the inside out — primarily through chronic stress and anxiety. Yes, nutrition and exercise are essential to achieving physical and mental health goals: however, how we view life and the negative impact of our fears and concerns have a more lasting effect on us than you can ever imagine.

According to WebMD, while periodical stress is inevitable, chronic stress can be quite destructive to a person’s natural equilibrium — disrupting homeostasis. Chronic stress can lead to:

  • Mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and personality disorders
  • Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease, high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, heart attacks, and stroke
  • Obesity and other eating disorders
  • Menstrual problems
  • Sexual dysfunction, such as impotence and premature ejaculation in men and loss of sexual desire in both men and women
  • Skin and hair problems, such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema, and permanent hair loss
  • Gastrointestinal problems, such as GERD, gastritis, ulcerative colitis, and irritable colon

I am embarking upon a 90-Day journey where I will transform my life in multitudinous ways to achieve optimal health. I am inviting you to take this journey with me. Master Fitness 21 and The Visionetics Institute will be offering personal planning for health optimization, including meal plans, cognitive behavioral therapy, psycho-cybernetic interventions, and more. This 90-Day program will include:

  • 12 individual 1-on-1 sessions with me (each session — valued at $350.00)
  • A personal nutritional evaluation ($129.95 value)
  • A nutritional plan ($229.00 value)
  • A personalized plan to help meet your 90-day goals ($499 value)
  • A chance to win a Platinum Coaching Package (52 sessions over one year, a $10,500 value)

If you are ready to experience a life-changing shift in your overall health and performance, email lifechange@rickwallacephd.link and simply type enroll me in the 90-day challenge. You will be sent an invoice for the enrollment fee of $399.95 via email. Once you pay the invoice, we will schedule your initial interview and enter your name into the drawing for the Platinum Coaching Package.

Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack

Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack
Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack

The Night I Almost Died: Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a heart attack can be the difference between living and dying. Many of you follow me on one of the multitudinous platforms from which I disseminate all of the information and knowledge I believe to valuable and essential to the lives of people.  And, you most likely already know that I experienced multiple heart attacks last week — culminating in two major heart attacks last Saturday and this past Monday.

The scariest thing about this experience for me is how many times I dismissed what I was experiencing as something other than a myocardial infarction (heart attack). Each time I experienced the pain and discomfort last week, I dismissed it as a workout injury from a chess workout I did last Monday. I have trained to recognize the sign of a heart attack for the safety of my fitness clients. So, at least a part of the reason I missed was just plain denial.

I want to ensure that everyone knows the signs and symptoms of a heart attack and how to respond to the first sign. Rapid response is integral to achieving a positive outcome during a heart attack.

Critical Mass: The Phenomenon of Next-Level Living  ~ Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a Heart Attack
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What Is A Heart Attack?

A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is interrupted due to the presence of a blockage. The blockage (primarily in the coronary arteries) is usually the result of the buildup of cholesterol, fat, and other substances that form plaque in the arteries. When plaque builds up, it will eventually break off and form a clot. Additionally, plaque can become so thick that the artery passageway will simply become increasingly narrow.

Heart attacks can be fatal; however, the advancement in treatment and responses has reduced the mortality rate associated with heart attacks. The first few moments are crucial.

Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack
Rick Wallace, Ph.D., Psy.D. ~ Founder of The Visionetics Institute, Master Fitness 21 & The Odyssey Project

Symptoms

It is essential to understand that people respond to heart attacks; differently, not all of the symptoms may manifest during an episode. I have heard some people say that they felt very little pain, whereas my pain was intense.

Common heart attack signs and symptoms include:

  • Pressure, tightness, pain, or a squeezing or aching sensation in your chest or arms that may spread to your neck, jaw or back
  • Nausea, indigestion, heartburn or abdominal pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweat
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness or sudden dizziness

It is possible to experience a heart attack without developing any of the symptoms listed; however, the more of the common signs that you experience, the more likely you are experiencing a heart attack.

While some heart attacks have a rapid, sudden onset, people often experience symptoms for hours, days, or even weeks. Remember, the longer you delay getting treatment, the higher the risk of long-term damage or even death. It is always better to error on the side of caution that to ignore potential life-threatening signs.

When To See the Doctor

It is vital to take immediate action when you experience any signs that you may be having a heart attack. Don’t hesitate; get to an emergency room or physician’s office immediately.

  • Call for emergency medical help. If you suspect that you’re having a heart attack, don’t hesitate. Immediately call 911 or your local emergency number. If you don’t have access to emergency medical services, have someone drive you to the nearest hospital.
  • Drive yourself only if there are no other options. Because your condition can worsen, driving yourself puts you and others at risk.
  • Take nitroglycerin, if prescribed to you by a doctor. Take it as instructed while awaiting emergency help.
  • Take aspirin, if recommended. Taking aspirin during a heart attack could reduce heart damage by helping to keep your blood from clotting.
  • Aspirin can interact with other medications; however, so don’t take an aspirin unless your doctor or emergency medical personnel recommend it. Don’t delay calling 911 to take an aspirin. Call for emergency help first.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and it is one of the leading causes of long-term and permanent disability. Fortunately, there are a plethora of ways to reduce the risks of experiencing a heart attack, including:

What are the heart disease risk factors that I cannot change?

  • Age. Your risk of heart disease increases as you get older. Men who are age 45 and older and women age 55 and older have a higher risk.
  • Gender. Some risk factors may affect heart disease risk differently in women than in men. For example, estrogen provides women some protection against heart disease, but diabetes raises the risk of heart disease more in women than in men.
  • Race or ethnicity. Certain groups have higher risks than others. African Americans are more likely than whites to have heart disease, while Hispanic Americans are less likely to have it. Some Asian groups, such as East Asians, have lower rates, but South Asians have higher rates.
  • Family history. You have a greater risk if you have a close family member who had heart disease at an early age.

What can I do to lower my risk of heart disease?

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to reduce your chances of getting heart disease:

  • Control your blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. It is important to get your blood pressure checked regularly – at least once a year for most adults, and more often if you have high blood pressure. Take steps, including lifestyle changes, to prevent or control high blood pressure.
  • Keep your cholesterol and triglyceride levels under control. High levels of cholesterol can clog your arteries and raise your risk of coronary artery disease and heart attack. Lifestyle changes and medicines (if needed) can lower your cholesterol. Triglycerides are another type of fat in the blood. High levels of triglycerides may also raise the risk of coronary artery disease, especially in women.
  • Stay at a healthy weight. Being overweight or having obesity can increase your risk for heart disease. This is mostly because they are linked to other heart disease risk factors, including high blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Controlling your weight can lower these risks.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Try to limit saturated fats, foods high in sodium, and added sugars. Eat plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. The DASH diet is an example of an eating plan that can help you to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, two things that can lower your risk of heart disease.
  • Get regular exercise. Exercise has many benefits, including strengthening your heart and improving your circulation. It can also help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. All of these can reduce your risk of heart disease.
  • Limit alcohol. Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure. It also adds extra calories, which may cause weight gain. Both of those increase your risk of heart disease. Men should have no more than two alcoholic drinks per day, and women should not have more than one.
  • Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoking raises your blood pressure and puts you at higher risk for heart attack and stroke. If you do not smoke, do not start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk of heart disease. You can talk with your health care provider for help in finding the best way for you to stop.
  • Manage stress. Stress is linked to heart disease in many ways. It can raise your blood pressure. Extreme stress can be a “trigger” for a heart attack. Also, some common forms of coping with stress, such as overeating, heavy drinking, and smoking, are bad for your heart. Some ways to help manage your stress include exercise, listening to music, focusing on something calm or peaceful, and meditating.
  • Manage diabetes. Having diabetes doubles your risk of diabetic heart disease. That is because, over time, high blood sugar from diabetes can damage your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart and blood vessels. So, it is crucial to get tested for diabetes, and if you have it, keep it under control.
  • Make sure that you get enough sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, you raise your risk of high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. Those three things can increase your risk of heart disease. Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Make sure that you have good sleep habits. If you have frequent sleep problems, contact your health care provider. One problem, sleep apnea, causes people to stop breathing (briefly) many times during sleep abruptly. These interruptions interfere with your ability to get a good rest and can raise your risk of heart disease. If you think you might have it, ask your doctor about having a sleep study. And if you do have sleep apnea, make sure that you get treatment for it.

Start Here

From the National Institutes of Health
From the National Institutes of Health
From the National Institutes of Health
From the National Institutes of Health
From the National Institutes of Health

Diagnosis and Tests

From the National Institutes of Health
From the National Institutes of Health

Prevention and Risk Factors

Medline Plus (2020)

Conclusion

While there are certain factors that you have no control over, such as age and genetic predisposition, most of the factors that influence your risk of experiencing a heart attack are within your control. It is your responsibility to invest in yourself by being more active and choosing healthy eating habits. Remember, the more stress you place on your heart, the higher the risk of you having a heart attack.

The purpose of this article is two-fold: 1. To help you know and recognize the signs of a heart attack to give you or a loved one a head start to getting treatment in the case of a heart attack. 2. To encourage you to adopt a lifestyle that will lower your risk of having a heart attack in the first place. The question is, “what will you do with this information?” The choice is yours. ~ Rick Wallace, Ph.D., Psy.D.

Vanessa Bryant Posts First Statement Since Deaths Of Kobe Bryant And Daughter Gianna

Vanessa Bryant Posts First Statement Since Deaths Of Kobe Bryant And Daughter Gianna

ENTERTAINMENT 01/29/2020 08:37 pm ET Updated 7 hours ago

Vanessa Bryant Posts First Statement Since Deaths Of Kobe Bryant And Daughter Gianna ~ Giving a powerful, heartfelt tribute to her husband and daughter, as well as recognizing the others who lost their lives in that crash.

The widow of the legendary Lakers player broke her silence to thank “the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time.”

headshot

By Carla Herreria |Courtesy of HuffPost

In Vanessa Bryant’s first public remarks since the deaths of her husband, NBA legend Kobe Bryant, and their 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, she thanked everyone for showering her and her family with support “during this horrific time.”

“There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now,” Bryant wrote in an Instagram post Wednesday evening, paired with a photo of her family. “I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved.”Last chance to become a HuffPost founding member!Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost’s next chapterBecome a founding member

“We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon,” she went on. “I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s impossible to imagine life without them.”

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Kobe and Gianna Bryant died unexpectedly when a helicopter they were in crashed in Calabasas, California, on Sunday, sending shock waves through Los Angeles and the sports community. Seven other people in the aircraft also died.

In her tribute, Vanessa Bryant paid her respects to the other victims of the crash. “We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately,” she wrote.

Kobe, a former player for the Los Angeles Lakers and a father of four girls, was 41. He and his wife had been married for 18 years.

Earlier Wednesday, Vanessa Bryant had updated her Instagram profile with a photo of Kobe and Gianna holding each other in a loving embrace.

Like her father, Gianna was a dedicated basketball player. Kobe coached his daughter’s team and shared videos and photos of Gianna playing ball on his own Instagram account.

Kobe told the Los Angeles Times last year that Gianna was “hell-bent” on playing for the University of Connecticut and, eventually, the WNBA.

Vanessa Bryant asked the public to grant her and her family “the respect and privacy we will need to navigate this new reality.”

Hours after Vanessa Bryant shared her post, the Los Angeles Lakers released a statement about the devastating loss, sending their love to their former player’s wife and surviving children, Natalia, 17; Bianka, 3; and Capri, 8 months, as well as the families of the other passengers on the helicopter.

The team had not commented on the death except for a brief statement Monday, when they acknowledged the tragedy and announced that Tuesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers would be postponed.

“Words cannot express what Kobe means to the Los Angeles Lakers, our fans, and our city. More than a basketball player, he was a beloved father, husband, and teammate. Their love and light will remain in our hearts forever,” read a message on the Los Angeles Lakers’ Twitter account Tuesday.

Echoing Vanessa Bryant, the team called for donations to the other families affected by the accident and highlighted Kobe Bryant’s legacy through youth sports at his Mamba Sports Foundation.

This article has been updated to include a statement from the Los Angeles Lakers. 

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Critical Mass ~ Meeting Your Essential Needs Drives Your Behavior! Remembering Your Future
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Remembering Your Future

Remembering Your Future
Remembering Your Future

Remembering Your Future ~ The Ability to Create Future Memories

Remembering your future is a revolutionary act that will change your life forever. You are probably looking at the title and thinking that has to be some kind of mistake, right? Nope, it is not a mistake. It is one of the most powerful tools for life change there is. Our brains and our minds are remarkably powerful beyond normal comprehension. The brain is the most powerful supercomputer on the planet. Like any other computer, what your brain is able to do will depend heavily on the programs you download.

Unfortunately, most people are operating on outdated systems and erroneous programs based on faulty paradigms. In other words, most people download their environment from birth to around seven years of age. This is done through a conscious state of theta, which is very susceptible to suggestion. This is where norms and standards (human conscience) are established. It is also where a person’s expectations about life are formed.

Critical Mass ~ Meeting Your Essential Needs Drives Your Behavior! Remembering Your Future
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For instance, a person who grows up in poverty will likely download ideas about money that will not be conducive to building wealth. This will be true in any other area of life as well. So, how does someone who has a history of poor thinking and behavior in a specific area, overcome that thinking to create the necessary changes in their life? Simply put, they will have to stop consulting the past and start remembering the future.

It is actually quite simple. If you have a past in which you have done none of the things that you desire to do, you cannot consult your past as to whether what you desire to do is possible or to determine how it should be done. The brain can either be a record of the past or a map of the future. Most people consult past records known has memories to help predict their future. This is actually a very accurate tool for predicting the future. If you continue to consult the past, you will continue to get what you have gotten in the past.

What you have to do is use your imagination to create a different outcome. You must start to create new memories, not of the past but of your future reality. You see, that your imagination is so powerful that it can conjure up realities that can literally stimulate your emotions as if it is actually happening. The human brain and mind cannot distinguish between what is being imagined and what is really happening, so when you imagine a different reality, and you work to create clarity what you are visualizing, the mind and body will respond to it as if it is really happening. You have literally created an experience in the future. If you have created an experience, there is now a memory of that experience.

This is how you remember your future. You create the desired results through your imagination and you consistently live in them until they become real. The more that you do this the more your subconscious will act based on the new data that has been downloaded. So, what are you waiting for? Start creating future memories.

Additional Resources:

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3 Power Steps to Overcoming Anxiety

3 Power Steps to Overcoming Anxiety
3 Power Steps to Overcoming Anxiety

3 Power Steps to Overcoming Anxiety ~ Reclaiming Your Life One Step At a Time

First, it is important to understand that everyone experiences anxiety from time to time, but chronic anxiety that is uncontrollable can severely damage your quality of life. When most people think of anxiety, they think about the manner in which it impacts behavior, but what you should know is that anxiety can also have an adverse impact on your physical health as well.

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What Is Anxiety?

Before we get to the part where we discuss the steps that will help you overcome anxiety, it is probably a good idea to gain at least a limited perspicacity of what anxiety is. Basically, anxiety is a physiological response to stress that creates a feeling of fear and apprehension about something that you believe is about to happen. This is actually a good thing when a person is following you on a dark sidewalk at night, but when it becomes uncontrollable and irrational, it can wreak havoc on your life.

If you have been struggling with anxiety for more than six months or you have frequent prolonged episodes, there is a good chance that you are struggling with an anxiety disorder. More on this later. Sometimes a major life event can trigger a stress response that leads to anxiety. For instance, when my wife lost her mother a few years ago, the anticipation of living her life without her mother and all that entails triggered an anxiety episode. While this episode was not a result of an anxiety disorder, it had the potential of emotionally and socially paralyzing her. Fortunately, she decided to confront it instead of just coping and she was able to overcome it.

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Some Common Effects of Anxiety

The longer someone suffers from anxiety, the greater the psychological, emotional, and physical implications. Below you will find some of the common effects of anxiety, which can become more intense with time.

  • A sense of doom — Anxiety often causes frequent feelings of impending doom. It is possible that you will also have trouble concentrating
  • Panic attacks — These panic attacks can be so severe that they create physiological symptoms, including heart palpitations, chest pain, and lightheadedness.
  • Depression — Chronic anxiety (prolonged or endless bouts with anxiety) can put you at a higher risk of depression. Symptoms include social withdrawal, loss of interest in activities you once loved, and feelings of guilt and hopelessness
  • Headaches — Constant worry and stress often lead to headaches
  • Breathing problems — Anxiety can cause rapid, shallow breathing and which intensify during a panic attack
  • Loss of libido — Decreasing sexual desire
  • Extreme fatigue — Dealing with anxiety can leave you feeling wiped out and drained (emotionally and physically)
  • Increase in Blood Pressure — It is common to experience a rise in blood pressure readings during an anxiety attack.
  • Pounding heart — The increase in heart rate and intensity. You can feel like your heart is about to jump out of your body.

This list of symptoms is by no means comprehensive, but it gives you an idea of how intrusive and pervasive anxiety can be.

3 Powerful Steps to Overcoming Anxiety

It is important to understand that while the following steps can be very effective for overcoming anxiety, they are not a substitute for professional intervention for serious anxiety disorders. There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking professional help to assist you in getting your anxiety under control.

Here are three powerful steps that you can take to help reduce or even totally alleviate uncontrollable anxiety.

  1. Stop censoring what you are about to say or do in an attempt to make other people comfortable. When you censor your words or behavior to protect others, you can often put yourself in harm’s way. This is not a suggestion to be rude or inconsiderate. It is a challenge, to be honest, and forthcoming about how you feel at any given time. The proclivity to internalize things can lead to anxiety. Speaking honestly and boldly about your truth will also help build confidence, which can help you deal with anxiety.
  2. Practice spending time with people who treat you well. We have a tendency to associate with people who confirm how we feel about ourselves. This can be a poor practice during times we are struggling in the area of self-confidence. When you hang around people who treat us well, it can change how you feel about yourself, your circumstances, and future outcomes.
  3. Treat yourself the way you treat someone you love. Love is a force that must begin within. Without self-love, you can never fully experience love in its totality. As you begin to treat yourself like you love yourself, there will be an emotional shift that will completely change how you view the world around you. All of a sudden, things that seemed so significant and threatening won’t scare you as easily. You will see your ability to handle what comes at you.

Uncontrolled anxiety has serious implications, but the good news is that you are not helpless. You can do something to overcome your bouts with anxiety and live a very productive and fulfilling life.

Additional Resources:

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Internalized Communication: The Collaboration between You and Your Mind

The Collaboration between You and Your Mind

The Collaboration between You and Your Mind

I absolutely love the work I do with my clients and I have spent years mastering the disciplines that allow me to be so effective in doing what I do. Because I have mastered multiple disciplines such as psychology, neurolinguistic programming, neuro-associative conditioning, psycho-cybernetics, embodied cognition, cognitive behavioral therapy, and quantum dynamics, some postulate that the complexity of the brain makes it very difficult to change how the brain operates for a particular individual.

The fact that people depend on me to help them change and improve their lives has driven me to be the best that I can be. Yes, the brain and mind are very complicated; however, you don’t have to master all of the aforementioned disciplines in order to get the most out of your brain and mind. The truth is that the life you are living is the product of the collaboration between you and your mind. If you are not getting the results that you desire, it is because you are not effectively collaborating with your mind.

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The Collaboration between You and Your Mind
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Success in life is about effective collaboration on multiple levels. Despite the rise of a culture that emphasizes individualism, the greatest work is accomplished through collaboration. We are mammals — social creatures by nature — demanding collaboration. It is my argument that the most important collaboration that will ever take place is the collaboration between you and your mind. The beautiful thing about collaborating with your mind is that you don’t have to master its complexity to be effective. The brain and mind are designed to respond to you based on what it interprets in best for you. In other words, the brain and mind are always acting in what they believe to be in your best interest.

The thing is to not focus on the complicated composition of the human mind but the simplicity of its functionality. The force of function of the human mind can be broken down into four simple functional principles. When you understand these principles and how they work, you will be able to take control of your life in ways you have never imagined. Here are the four functional principles:

  1. Your mind always does what it thinks you would want it to do — that which it believes is in your best interest.
  2. Your mind  is hardwired to move you toward pleasure and away from pain
  3. The totality of how you feel about life and the world around you is broken down into two parts: 1. The pictures you create in your mind 2. The words you say to yourself (your self-talk)
  4. Your mind loves that which is familiar

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Your Mind Works In Your Best Interest

You  are probably thinking, “if my mind is working in my best interest, why are things going so horribly wrong?” What you have to understand is that humans are not born with norms and standards implanted in their minds. Norms and standards establish what is right and wrong, good or bad, and effective or ineffective. These norms and standards for human conscience and play an immense role in governing decision-making and behavior. Your mind is neutral in the assessment of stimuli until you give it what it needs to determine how it perceives something.

If you are not getting the results that you want in your life it is because you are not properly and effectively collaborating with your mind.

Your brain and mind are highly attentive to your self-talk and the language you use to describe situations and circumstances. If there is something that you know you need to do to improve your situation, but you are constantly saying things like, “I hate this, this is killing me, this sucks, etc., you are training your brain that this particular exercise is not good for you and your mind will come up with all types of reasons and motivations not to do it. These motivations will emerge from the subconscious, which controls 96 percent of your daily behavior. You will be sabotaging yourself and not even be aware of it.

It has been said that your brain is the most powerful supercomputer on the planet and your self-talk is the program it will run. You need to form positive speech and positive thoughts about the actions that are necessary for your improvement. Make personal declarations that are positive like “I will do…, I am doing… I have chosen to…, I enjoy doing…, I am exceptional at doing… etc. Your mind will, in turn, assess these new actions as being in your best interest and something that you enjoy doing (pleasure).

Hardwired for Pleasure

Your brain is hardwired to move you toward pleasure and as far away from pain as possible. What this means is that complaining about something destroys the collaboration between you and your mind in that area. One of the reasons that you procrastinate so much is because you have linked many of your progressive steps to pain. When you link anything to pain, your mind will instinctively and inherently find ways to move you away from that thing. The beautiful thing about pain is that it is a concept that each individual defines for themselves.

Think about it for a second. There are some people who seemingly have immensely high pain thresholds while others can’t seem to take even the slightest pain. The marathon runner has redefined pleasure to include the mental, emotional, and physical pain that takes place over the course of the 26.2-mile run. The weight-lifter associates the burn during the lifting session with growth and improvements in strength.

This is all neuro-associative conditioning is — associating things you want to do with pleasure and things you don’t want to do with pain.

Images & Words

It is really this simple when you break it down. The way you feel about life and the world around you is determined by only two things, the images you create in your mind and the words you say to yourself (your self-talk). The term “vision” has become ambiguous because of the casual nature in which it is used; however, your ability to visualize the life you want and the images that emerge from this vision play a massive role in setting the course of your life.

The words you use establish the context in which every situation will be engaged. If you are saying things such as I dread going to the gym, this workout is going to kill me, creating this presentation is going to make me miserable, etc. you are creating an environment in which the mind is going to work against the ultimate goal of accomplishment, because yourself talk told it that would be in your best interest. Your mind does not seek to lead you into dread or make you miserable. So when you declare that something will make you miserable, sad, or disgusted, your mind will find every reason imaginable not to do it.

Using a phrase as simple as, “I have chosen to do this, and I will enjoy doing it” will prove absolutely transformational. This is not simply positive thinking, it is the foundation of optimal collaboration between you and your mind. The fact that you have chosen something means that it was not thrust upon you without your consent (there is an inherent and natural disdain for being forced to do things we don’t want to do). The fact that you are declaring that you will enjoy doing it triggers the pleasure center of the brain which now causes the mind to move you toward it instead of away from it.

It is really simple. If you examine your life and you are not getting what you want, it is because you are not communicating properly with your mind.

It is through these images and words that you will either rationalize failure or talk yourself out of it.

The Mind Loves the Familiar

Much of the discomfort that you will experience during the process of change and growth is because the mind is not familiar with the new processes that are being introduced into your normal routine. It is important to understand that the mind experiences things and expresses itself in multitudinous ways that extend beyond abstract or arbitrary thought. Even your body responds to your mind. Your heart rate can increase or decrease based on your mind. Your sweat glands can be triggered to go into hyperdrive. So, that uncomfortable feeling you get when you are trying something new that makes you say, “this doesn’t feel right” is actually your mind saying this is not familiar.

Because the mind loves the familiar, you will need to learn how to make what is familiar unfamiliar and what is unfamiliar familiar. I know it sounds crazy, but it is simply a shift in your state of mind and perception. With me, I have actually trained my mind to be most comfortable in uncomfortable (unfamiliar) situations. It means that I am exploring new things and growing. It means that I am not being stagnant and complacent.

Conclusion

Remember, your mind wants to act in your best interest. It is your responsibility to effectively communicate to your mind what is in your best interest in terms that provide the proper context for the actions that you will need to take. Simply knowing that you need to do something will not be sufficient for effective collaboration with your mind. You need to frame the required action in a manner that the mind interprets it as being in your best interest and bringing you pleasure. Going to the gym four days out of the week is obviously good for you, but if you dread it, the mind will see it as something to avoid (pain) and it can create an infinite number of excuses not to do it. Many illnesses that people experience are produced psychosomatically through the mind as a means of avoiding something the mind deems detrimental to your pleasure and peace.

Find ways to link what you want and need to a state of pleasure. The mind will naturally move you toward what is perceived as pleasurable. The more pleasure that is detected, the harder the mind will work to move you toward it. If you are not getting what you want out of life, it is because you need to do a better job of collaborating with your mind.

Additional Resources:

Get your copy of Critical Mass: The Phenomenon of Next-Level Living

Click here to order: https://www.rickwallacephd.link/critical-mass/

Get your copy of “I Am” ~ The Power of Personal Declarations: https://www.rickwallacephd.link/i-am-purchase/

To inquire about working with Dr. Wallace in a one-on-one capacity, email LifeChange@rickwallacephd.link

Learn more about the 60-Day Holistic Health & Fitness Challenge on our Master Fitness 21 Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/masterfitness21/ 

#lifechange #winyourday #thefirsthour #criticalmass #IAm #selfhelp #thevisioneticsinstitute #rickwallacephd #drrickwallace #60dayhealthchallenge #holistichealth 

Rare “Black” New Super Moon

Rare "Black" New Super Moon

The End of Mercury Retrograde

Rare “Black” new super moon represents endless possibilities. On July 31st, there will be an extremely powerful and potent New Super Moon in Leo, bringing with it an energetic emotional storm that is set to stay for the next two months.

All zodiac signs will be affected by this lunar energy, but in particular, those born with Leo in their chart will feel impacted.

This Super Moon is classed as a “black” moon as it is the second New Moon of July.

The reason for the energy being so intense is that this super moon is the first in a series of three new moon super moons, with the second in August—and the third, which will be the completion of this intense energy portal, taking place on September 28th.

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Rare "Black" New Super Moon
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Cosmically, everything happens in sequences, and we have just stepped into one of these sequences—known as a super moon triad.

Unlike regular new moons—in which the energy lasts for a few days—the highly charged, intense, life-altering energy of this trio will be felt consistently throughout this two-month period. Those who are highly sensitive to energy will already have sensed the intensity in the atmosphere.

A super moon occurs when the moon’s orbit is closest to the earth, resulting in the moon being approximately 14 percent closer than normal, around 30 percent brighter, and appearing far bigger in the sky. The moon is known to wreak havoc with Mother Nature, resulting in landslides, higher tides, and earthquakes—and these are often more severe when the moon is at its fullest. When we think about how the moon’s gravity affects the tides, it is easy to see how it also interacts with living creatures.

The gravitational and magnetic push and pull of a super moon can feel like an immense energetic onslaught and causes us to feel emotionally fragile at times; however, if we do not allow the energy to overwhelm and overpower us, it can help us learn some of our most difficult life lessons.

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This is most certainly the time to get rid of any habits, patterns, thoughts, obsessions, commitments, dynamics or material items that have been weighing us down and keeping us stuck in a reality that is neither healthy or serving us. Anything that no longer resonates with who we are and how we want to be living will start to dissipate before our eyes.

We will be cutting ourselves free from the low-frequency entities that we have become attached to and burning through old paradigms, as well as setting alight a crumbling bridge or two in the process.

This leaves a gateway for those who reflect the same passion and desire to exist free from chaos, harm, and destruction—and for kindred souls who share a similar passion for co-existing harmoniously and lovingly on this planet to enter our lives.

During this period, we will have a low tolerance for people who are only around to create dysfunction—or to continuously take, with no effort to mutually maintain and build the relationship. Those whose energy radiates with authenticity, integrity, and sincerity are the ones we will feel magnetically pulled toward, and we will discover that as we refuse to settle for less, people with pure intentions will flow our way.

This next chapter is intensely powerful for manifesting exactly what it is we want, where we want to be, and who we hope will surround us.

We will likely be feeling nostalgic due to the accumulation of emotional cosmic energy, so we may find ourselves looking back at our past in an attempt to find answers. This might look like ruminating on why certain relationships ended or why we are struggling to let go of relationships that are shrouded in heartache.

Fortunately, our intuition is at an all-time high during this new moon, so it’s the perfect time to go within and listen carefully to our inner voice. We have an incredible amount of knowledge and wisdom inside us; we just need to silence the doubt and fear and trust that whatever we wish to know, we will find.

Those who are highly sensitive to energy will be far more susceptible to the impact of these celestial events and may feel overwhelmed at times due to the constant influx of emotional energy.

To combat this, it is important to process emotions or old feelings that come up and regularly discern whether the emotions we feel are our own or whether they belong to those around us. If we are absorbing other people’s emotional energy, we could find ourselves easily triggered and far more irritable, fatigued, and moody than usual—so it is important to regularly take time out to re-balance and ground ourselves.

This is an intense phase that will cleanse anything that feels toxic in our lives, which includes bad habits, unhealthy thought patterns, reactive behaviors, outdated beliefs, and irrational fear-based thoughts and feelings that drain our energy and leave us feeling anxious and burnt out.

10 Steps to Improving Your Memory and Boost Your Brain Power

10 Steps to Improving Your Memory and Boost Your Brain Power
10 Steps to Improving Your Memory and Boost Your Brain Power

10 Steps to Improving Your Memory and Boost Your Brain Power

Your brain is the most powerful supercomputer on the planet. It has the ability to process four billion bits of information per second and store unlimited memories in multiple categories. One of the fascinating functions of the brain is recollection. Your brain can store and recall information in a fraction of a second; however, over time, you can lose your ability to easily recall things that you have experienced through some form of sensory perception. I am sure that you know someone who seems to be able to remember even the most mundane of details effortlessly. Since memory is a huge part of learning, this same person seems to pick up new skills and appropriate the knowledge easily.

The truth is that we all have the capacity to use our brains in the same way. Unfortunately, many have not optimized their brain functions, and there are many ways to do this. To access and actualize the full capacity of your brain, it is important to keep it active and acutely tuned. Sitting still on your sofa while watching the same programming on television every day is not going to get you the results you are seeking.

Following are 10 steps that you can take that will help improve your memory and give your overall brain power a huge boost.

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  • Exercise More (Get Your Body Moving)

There is a wealth of empirical and pragmatic evidence that a sedentary lifestyle contributes to the deterioration of the brain. It has been proven that obesity has a direct negative impact on brain function. Since blood flow is essential to the brain, it is important to keep your heart healthy and your arteries clear. The lack of exercise allows plaque to build up in the arteries, and it also reduces the efficiency of each heartbeat.

In addition to oxygen, your blood also delivers nutrients to the brain (more on this later).

  • Consume Good Brain Food

It should go without saying, but you would be surprised how many people fail to make the connection between brain functionality and nutritional intake. There are lots of foods that are great for brain health. Following are 10 powerful brain foods that can easily be integrated into your daily diet.

  • Dark chocolate (with at least 85 percent cocoa)
  • Kale
  • Green tea
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Red wine
  • Fish with omega-3 fatty acids (mackerel, lake trout, herring, wild salmon, etc.)
  • Walnuts
  • Berries (blackberry, blueberry, cranberry, raspberry, strawberry, etc.)
  • Tumeric (make sure that it is in a bioavailable form)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Brain Nutrients

Because of the Brobdingnagian responsibility the brain undertakes, it is not surprising that it has a high demand for nutrients. Without a sufficient supply of brain nutrients, your cognitive and mental health will suffer. However, certain nutritional deficiencies are common, especially in certain geographical locations. Your brain needs an ample supply of micronutrients — namely, protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. While there is no shortage of carbohydrates in the average American diet, the deficiency arises because mostly simply carbs are being consumed. The brain and the body work better with complex carbohydrates that metabolize and break down slowly. Complex carbohydrates will give your brain the sustained energy it needs to perform at high levels.

Starchy vegetables such as yams, winter squash, beets, carrots, and potatoes are excellent sources of complex carbs.

Protein is synthesized and broken down into amino acids — a major component in hundreds of chemicals in the brain known as neurotransmitters — allowing brain cells to communicate with one another.

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  • Positive Peer Group

I constantly remind my clients of the importance of guarding their periphery. Those in your circle influence your reality. There is an adage that states that you will be the average of the five people you spend the most time around. I was always taught that “association” brings about assimilation. We have what is known as mirror neurons that cause us to emulate and mirror what we observe in others. If you are around someone long enough, you will begin to behave like them in multiple ways. Negative ideas, thoughts, and behaviors can have a negative impact on the health of your brain.

  • Killing ANTS (automatic negative thoughts)

Many people rehearse negatively through their habitual thought patterns. I’m sure that you have seen people behave as if it is compulsory that they entertain negative thoughts. The need to entertain negative thoughts has become automatic. These negative thoughts have a negative impact on the health of your brain. Negative thoughts release negative chemicals that are destructive to brain health.

  • Adequate Sleep

Getting enough sleep is so undervalued in today’s culture. You constantly here success guru’s talking about getting up at 3:00 a.m. and about the importance of being on the grind. Don’t get me wrong; I definitely believe in putting in the work and optimizing your time. There are 86,400 seconds in a day and believe that each one of them has a purpose. However, you can’t adequately take advantage of the opportunities presenting throughout the day without adequate rest.

As you go through your day, your brain exerts a lot of energy — building up plaque in your brain. Sleep is the time that the brain cleans itself and heals itself. Sleep deprivation is one of the most destructive forces that impact your brain health.

  • Clean Environment

Some studies have shown that having a neat work environment supports better brain functions. But a clean environment constitutes more than just a neat working area. It includes healthy foods, clean drinking water, and clean air.

  • Stress Management

When you experience a moment of stress, the body release stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol into the bloodstream. While these chemicals can be helpful in certain stressful situations, like avoiding an accident or defending yourself against an attacker, the longer they remain in your bloodstream, the more destructive they become. Chronic stress is extremely harmful, and you have to find ways to manage your stress if you want to get the most out of your brain.

  • Brain Protection

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When you see brain protection, the obvious would be wearing a helmet when riding a bike or motorcycle, but there are so many other ways that you can physically damage your brain in the era of technology. The electromagnetic fields created by smartphones and tablets can cause harm to the brain. When reading studies that report that nearly 80 percent of teens sleep with their cells phones under their pillows, I cringe.

  • New Learning and Discovery

A very powerful tool for improving your memory and brain performance is to focus on learning new things every day. There was a time in which science believed that after age five, our brains were pretty much wired the way they would remain for life. Science also believed that once brain cells were destroyed, they could not be replaced. We are now aware of neurogenesis, the growth, and development of nerve tissue and cells in the brain. Additionally, we are also aware of neuroplasticity — the ability of the brain to form and reorganize new synaptic connection, especially in response to learning or experiencing some new.

Attempting to integrate all 10 of these tips at once may prove a bit daunting for you. Try adopting one or two of them a week or bi-weekly. Adopting just one will produce noticeable results. The majority of Americans are not even close to optimizing their brain function, which is a shame. You can start today and experience life at an entirely different level.