You can’t avoid them even if you have the elaborate germophobic habits of Monk. They are on every doorknob, faucet handle and hand you shake. They are already in your body, biding their time until your defenses fail.

I acknowledge the right of germs to exist. It’s a right I claim for myself, after all. I even acknowledge their right to do what they have to do to survive. That doesn’t mean I need to make it easy for them. Yet, the protection provided by all of the antibacterial products in the marketplace, like arms proliferation, is an illusion.

We cannot control others (people or germs), but we can enhance our own strength, health and general well-being to a point where the dangers in the world have the smallest possible impact on our lives.

Good strategies are: Get plenty of sleep; laugh often; hang out with supportive, positive people; eat healthy, real foods (preferably while laughing and hanging out with positive people); pump fresh air through your lungs several times a week; and do yoga regularly. Ongoing yoga practice enhances the immune system automatically, but there is one that provokes laughter in others while enhancing your own immune system.

To begin the lion’s pose, sit toward the front edge of whatever chair you’re sitting on (or kneel on the floor) with your hands resting on your knees. If your chair rolls around, brace its back against something steady.

Take a deep, deep breath. Inhale, inhale, inhale …

When your lungs are full enough that they feel like they might explode, spring forward like a jungle cat with your hands extended like claws as you forcibly exhale every molecule of air in your lungs. Pretend any weird sounds that come out are your fierce roar. At the same time, stick your tongue out as far as it will go and turn your eyes to look at the spot on your forehead right between your eyebrows. Yes, you are likely to look cross-eyed. Even if you are not physically capable of leaping forward, do as much of the rest as is possible. Remember, you can always laugh!

If you’re just not ready for the lion’s pose, try spending five minutes a day laughing. If you think that doesn’t sound like yoga, I assure you, there is a guru straight out of India who promotes laughter meditation. The physiological effect of pretending to laugh is the same as genuine laughter. If you experience embarrassment, get over it! If others laugh at you, you’ve enhanced their immune systems as well as your own. If they look down their noses at you, they’ve made an unconscious choice to compromise their immune systems.

Your truest obligation is to keep yourself healthy both for your own sake and for the sakes of those who depend on you, from goldfish, to family, to employer.

The spirit in me salutes the spirit in you. We’re all in bodies together.

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