The majority of the people who have cancer have a date or event that becomes the marker for their “anniversary date”. This could be the day they found out they…
An Anti-Cancer Lifestyle
It is crucial to have good stress management tools in your recovery tool box, so pick whatever works for you and make it a daily ritual to defuse the stress that comes from having cancer as well as the stress of normal daily life. Stress affects the immune system and we all need a strong immune system to help us be well.
One of the most effective tools for an anti-cancer lifestyle is stress management. Deep breathing can be done anytime, anywhere, and we all have to breathe so it’s the easiest habit to maintain. Jon Kabat-Zinn has a number of books on deep breathing and mindfulness to help us live in the moment and take one day at a time. Planning to meditate every day can provide a welcome break as you can go to a pleasant place in your mind where you feel happy, safe, and at peace.
Guided imagery and visualization can help you to take an active role in your recovery if you visualize your immune system at work. There was an article in the June 1986 issue of the National Geographic magazine called “Our Immune System the Wars Within”. The images of cells were multiplied thousands of times and one section showed killer T cells attacking cancer cells. I found it empowering to focus on these images to help me know that my body had a way of dealing with the invasive cancer cells and keep them in check.
There was no internet when I was working at getting well and I relied on other people to point me in the right direction. In some ways life was a lot less complicated then, which leads me to another tool of recovery – simplification. There are so many choices today which can cause people to be overwhelmed and lead to burnout. If this is you, whatever you can do to simplify your life will pay off in big benefits to your mental and physical health. Make a list of priorities that will help you set boundaries for what you choose to be or do.
It takes some work to reorganize lifestyle habits which can create some initial stress. However, if you can focus on the big goal which is good health and wellness then things will fall into place and you can live the rest of your life with ease. Build yourself a life where you can maintain simple healthy habits, and remain vigilant so if you get off track, you can catch it in the early stages and get back to feeling good as quickly as possible.
A good support system will coach you to stay the course with love and a sense of humor. Build your own anti-cancer team with family, friends, health care team, community members, work colleagues and a professional coach. Above all else – love and nurture yourself, be patient and kind to yourself, and encourage yourself as if you were your own best friend so that you can thrive each day of the rest of your life.
Lynn Roodbol, BASC, CC, CWC,
Certified Wellness Coach
Certified Holistic Cancer Coach
Dr. Amit Sood is the Chair of the Mayo Clinic Mind Body Initiative and Director of research and practice at Mayo Clinic’s Complementary and Integrative Medicine…
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