Anxiety can be a pervasive and unwanted feeling when you have a cancer diagnosis. Between worry about the disease itself and the side effects of the treatments (over 50% reported feelings of anxiety and depression while undergoing certain chemotherapy drugs), it can be a very trying time.
Fortunately, integrative medicine can offer many solutions, approaches and strategies for anxiety suffered by breast cancer patients. I took advantage of most of these at one time or another during my breast cancer journey and they really did assist me with the anxiety I felt.
10 Anxiety Busters for Breast Cancer Patients
- Creating Healthier Beliefs – A cancer diagnosis can scare the heck out of you. The problem with the word “cancer” is that all kinds of beliefs are attached to it. Those beliefs can unconsciously drive our decisions, feelings, coping abilities, attitudes, life choices, and more. I’m here to tell you that “cancer” does not mean “death”. For me, cancer was actually a gift. It forced me to create a healthier, happier lifestyle, to deal with stress and go forward into a life I really wanted and chose for myself. Here’s an article I wrote that may assist: Newly Diagnosed – Dealing With Anxiety and Fear.
- Destress – Choose what works for you – special breathing, relaxation techniques, creative imagery, learn the benefits of meditation.
- Nutrition – It’s true that you are what you eat. If you choose pre-packaged, soulless foods, it creates havoc in your body and you will feel the effects of that. Eating organic, raw (whenever possible), fresh produce supports your wellness.
- Support Groups, Breast Cancer Forums, Spirituality Groups – This can be hard if you’re not a “joiner”. But oh-so-wonderful if you can get past that. A problem shared is a problem halved. You will be supported by wonderful people who will help you deal with all of the emotions that come with a cancer diagnosis. Research shows that women who join support groups have a much longer life expectancy.
- Essential Oils – Use a calming oil like Lavender (put it on your pillow at night) to help you relax and relieve anxious feelings.
- Sleep – A restful and deep sleep helps to restore balance. Healthy adults need 7-8 hours of quality sleep nightly, so if you’re healing you might need more than that. Trouble sleeping? See Item 7.
- Bodywork – Massage, Reiki, Therapeutic Touch: try it all. Bodywork is so fantastic for destressing, detoxifying, boosting your immune system. I found it absolutely indispensable.
- Exercise and Movement – Daily exercise and movement practices reduce stress and provide many other health benefits to body, mind, and spirit. Yoga is especially supportive if you’re too tired to walk or go to the gym. On some days I really had to force myself to roll out my mat and start my practice, but once I did, I felt so much better.
- Detox Your Body – Traditional Chinese Medicine has some wonderful herbs to help you detoxify while you’re undergoing your cancer treatments. If you’re too toxic that can certainly lead to feelings of anxiety and depression. Herbs can also help with some of the associated chemo-constipation. After you’re done with chemotherapy, that’s a wonderful time to get a series of colonics to further detoxify your body.
- Do What You Love – Now is the time to give yourself permission to shift your focus. Move your attention into a lighter direction. Do what brings you joy.
I send my love to everyone taking this journey right now. If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.