Category Archives: Anxiety

The Fear of Dying – Changing the Mindset

http://MarnieClark.com/The-Fear-of-Dying-Changing-the-MindsetThe Fear of Dying – Changing the Mindset

One of the things I hear most frequently, as I work with women dealing with breast cancer and all that it entails, is the fear of dying. We talk about it in hushed tones, as if we are afraid to even utter the words “I might die from this.” I went through exactly the same thing when I was working on healing from breast cancer. It is a common thread among nearly every single person fighting cancer. In this post I will share with you some things that helped me with that fear of dying and what you can do to change your mindset.

“Many people facing life-threatening illness begin by being scared of dying. This is not surprising and often this fear leads to a high motivation to get well. However, if the focus is ‘I don’t want to die’, from the mind’s point of view, what is the target, what is the goal? Obviously, the dying! An important step in getting well is to shift the focus onto living and finding what there is to live for – the passion. In comparison with trying not to die, there is far more healing in focusing on living and living well. We are healed by what we turn towards, far more than what we turn away from. When we affirm life, healing is a much greater possibility.” – Ian Gawler, excerpted from “The Creative Power of Imagery“.

I found these words by Ian Gawler to be immensely comforting. They were kind of like a re-set button for my overworked brain when I was going through breast cancer. Reading those words, I realized that he was absolutely right. Changing your mindset from “I don’t want to die” to “I am living each day with passion, love and healing” may not be easy but it’s SO worth the developing this skill. Here are some tips to help you.

1. LEARN TO LISTEN TO YOUR INNER VOICE – Recognize that your inner voice is your touchstone, your guide as to how you are feeling. It’s also good to help you discover whether or not you are making progress. By listening to what your inner voice has to say, you can learn much about yourself. If you find that your everyday thoughts are filled with negative criticism, stress, self-blame, regrets and fear, get some help. Find a practitioner of EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique. This is a healing technique that (in simple terms) relies on tapping on acupuncture meridians, employing the use of neurolinguistic programming and positive thinking to change negative thoughts and beliefs into more positive ones, and it seems to do this on not only the mental level, but also energetically and spiritually. It may seem like a simplistic solution, but it can be quite powerful.

2. MAKE A CHOICE TO TURN NEGATIVE THOUGHTS INTO POSITIVE – We all have down days, but by paying close attention to negative thoughts when they occur, you can make the choice to turn away from negativity and embrace more positive, harmonious thoughts. Why is this important? Because we ARE what we think. Engaging in positive thinking changes you, both energetically and physically, from someone who is full of self-blame, stress, recrimination, and negativity to someone who is open, loving toward themselves and others, motivated, and more healthy. Yes, I said that – more healthy. Research shows that positive thoughts actually change your brain! It’s a whole new area of science called neuroplasticity. By engaging in positive thought and positive activity, you can rewire your brain and strengthen areas of the brain that stimulate positive feelings and emotions. Here’s something you can try. When you find yourself in that cycle of negative thinking, worrying or obsessing, there are three things that can help:
a. When the worry and fear hit, mentally yell “Stop!” (I even envision a big red STOP sign).
b. Remind yourself that the worry is not real – it’s something your brain has conjured up. Tell that worry to sit down and shut up!
c. Reframe your negative thinking by focusing on more positive or distracting thoughts. Mentally switch gears and choose to think about something you love. Redirect your actions – go do something uplifting or fun. This might take the shape of helping a neighbor, calling someone you love, taking a walk, making a healthy smoothie. Make a list of things you love to do – and I suggest this because sometimes when you are down and depressed, you have difficulty even thinking of something uplifting to do that will make you feel better. Get the list out! Start doing more of those things!
After awhile, you will notice things changing and improvements in your way of thinking. The key is to do these 3 things EVERY SINGLE TIME you begin to worry or obsess. This breaks the pattern and helps you to rewire your brain.

3. TRY MEDITATION – Another amazing thing to rewire your brain is meditation. One American study on loving-kindness meditation, reported in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2015 [1], found that one hour of loving-kindness meditation PER WEEK (and certainly we can find one hour per week) “enhanced a wide range of positive emotions in a wide range of situations” for those taking the time to do the meditation. Interestingly, even after three months post-experiment, the people who practiced meditation daily continued to enjoy increased mindfulness, better social support, purpose in life, and (most importantly) decreased illness symptoms. The reasons for taking up meditation are many. You only have to Google the words “benefits of meditation” to be rewarded with hundreds of studies and articles touting meditation. If you need help with meditation, see my page where I talk about it.

The Bottom Line

What I came to realize is that by living with the fear of dying ever present in my mind, I was closing myself off to living NOW. I was projecting myself to some far-off day in the future when things might not be too good. By learning to live in the here and now, I lost that fear of dying. I came to understand that living in the present moment was one of the most powerful gifts a person can give to themselves. Because what do we really have other than the present moment? If we are truly alive in the here and now, we are quiet observers. We can really taste what we are eating and enjoy every mouthful. We notice the color of the sky. We hear that bird singing its heart out. We see the spark of love in our husband’s eyes. We see our children changing and growing. And really – what is more important than these things? Focus on the things you love and that fear will melt away. And you just may find that the energy you have freed up helps you to heal as well.

Please be aware that someone with a serious mood disorder or depression may require the help of a trained counselor. If you are suffering from severe anxiety or depression, please see a trained professional to help you get to the root of the problem.

References:
[1] Open Hearts Build Lives: Positive Emotions, Induced Through Loving-Kindness Meditation, Build Consequential Personal Resources – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3156028/

The Creative Power of Imagery by Dr Ian Gawler, ISBN 0855722819

GET MY BEST TIPS on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right. You can also “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark, Breast Health Coach) to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates. I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

How To Stop A Panic Attack

How To Stop A Panic Attack

I have been working with a number of people newly diagnosed with breast cancer, several of whom are suffering from panic attacks, so I thought it might be useful to post some information on how to stop a panic attack.

Because they can be so frightening, so debilitating and disruptive to your life, a panic attack is definitely not to be ignored.

Teal Swan To The Rescue

I had in mind to create a video with specific breathing exercises and other information, but I happened upon Teal Swan’s YouTube video “How To Stop A Panic Attack” and she has done such a good job at describing not only what causes an anxiety attack, tips on how to deal with them when they arise, as well as other holistic changes you can incorporate to help yourself heal from them, that I decided “why reinvent the wheel” and decided simply to share her video here.

Teal Swan, if you are not familiar with her, is an amazing young woman.  She calls herself The Spiritual Catalyst and offers advice on many different subjects.  She is incredibly wise for someone so young.  You can read more about her life’s journey here.

So without further ado, if you are experiencing a lot of anxiety or panic over your breast cancer diagnosis, please take nineteen minutes to view this video, I believe it really will help you (or at the very least, steer you in the right direction).

If you do continue to suffer with panic and anxiety, let’s connect. Sometimes all you need is a really good healing plan to subdue those fears and anxieties.  I would be honored to help you with that.  Please go to my page describing my breast cancer coaching services.

GET MY BEST TIPS on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right. You can also “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates. I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

How To Live In The Moment – 9 Tips

Photo courtesy of stock.xchng and Lumix2004
Photo courtesy of stock.xchng and Lumix2004

I was taught by a dear friend of mine, Judy, the importance of living in the moment when I was going through breast cancer.  I guess it had never occurred to me before then…

I was sitting with her in the sunshine on her porch and I had just been diagnosed and was feeling fairly traumatized by the notion that I had an unwanted “guest” in my body.

Judy was listening to my long litany of things I was worrying about – chief among them being “What if everything I do turns out not to be enough?”  Judy gave me a gift that day, by saying “Well you can certainly go down that road and worry yourself endlessly.  Or you can choose to just live in the moment.  Appreciate the here and now as fully as you can.”  That turned out to be life-changing advice, and I thank my friend Judy from the bottom of my heart for that beautiful lesson.

We Can Get Lost In the Past and Agonize About the Future

Being a human isn’t easy.  Our brains, which are so marvelous at figuring out complex things, can also be the bane of our existence.  We can listen to the tales our brain tells us – worrying endlessly about what happened at a party last week, what people will think, how big our credit card bill is – on and on and on.

Sometimes our brain gets fixated on the future, however, and if we are anxious or fearful about that, it can be paralyzing.  The trick is not to let our mind control us, rather, to take hold of the mind and direct it where you WANT it to go.

The reason I believe that living in the moment is important when you’re going through breast cancer is because there are so many things about which to be anxious and fearful.  Living in the moment truly strips that away and helps you to be more fully alive NOW (which is really all that matters – the here and now!)

My Favorite 9 Tips On Living In The Moment

  1. Release Your Self-Conscious Anxiety – If you can, release your worries about what people are thinking of you.  Most people are so focused on themselves, they really are not thinking about you as much as you think they are.  Who cares what they think anyway?  It simply does not matter.
  2. Truly Savor The Present Moment – Be alive to it, use all of your senses.  Really hear the song that is playing or what your child is telling you, totally immerse yourself in the beautiful colors of a sunset, truly feel your clothes touching your skin, taste that mouthful of food you just took – endeavor to identify exactly what you’re tasting.  If you’re doing something you perceive as boring (like walking to the bus stop), treat it as a meditation and observe with new eyes each thing you see on the journey – a bird, another human (smile at them!), a squirrel rushing past.  Your world is changing constantly – be alive to it.
  3. Be Very Mindful – All The Time! – This works especially well in your relationships with others and initially can be a little hard to do.  But the more you practice it, the better you get at it.  Simply put, it involves NOT reacting with anger in situations where you normally would.  Take a moment and really think about what is being said, how it’s meant.  The Buddhists call this recognizing the spark before the flame.  In short you are inhabiting your own mind more fully, by not reacting and pausing a moment to think about things you are being fully present.  When you do respond, do your best not to respond in anger but with thoughtfulness.
  4. Don’t Avoid Pain – By pushing away painful thoughts (or even physical pain) you are simply postponing dealing with it.  By facing it fully, accepting it for what it is and then releasing it (whether via a talk with your psychotherapist or a massage or whatever you need to do) you bring yourself fully into this moment.
  5. Meditation Assists – Living in the moment gets easier with meditation because you are actively clearing thoughts from your mind (like the wind blows clouds from the sky) when you meditate and concentrating on an affirmation or your breath.  When you notice your mind has wandered, simply bring it back to the present moment and your breath.
  6. Forgive What Has Happened In The Past – That old saying “To err is human, to forgive divine” has never been more true.  When you forgive someone for a wrong you perceived they have committed, you free yourself from the past and this allows you to be more present now.
  7. Do One Thing At A Time – When you are multi-tasking (and I know you are… we’re all guilty!) you are quite unable to focus on any one thing and give it your full attention.  Resist the urge to rush through it.  Do it slowly, thoughtfully, mindfully, like it was the single most important thing you ever had to do.  Try smiling while you’re doing it.
  8. Leave Blank Holes in Your “To Do” List – Resist the urge to schedule things really close together for 14 hours straight. Give yourself a little wiggle room to breathe, meditate, take a walk or simply sit and do nothing!  We have become human DOINGS rather than human BEINGS.  Just sit and “be”.
  9. Do Something Nice For Someone – Whether it’s for someone you love or a total stranger, nothing helps you to be more in the moment than to let someone know you care by doing something nice for them.  Even just smiling at a stranger as you pass by could have an impact on their entire day.  Hold a door open for someone, give up your seat on the bus to an older person, cook your spouse their favorite meal unexpectedly, tell someone how much they mean to you.  It feels really good – to them and to you.

A final note:  When I am stressing about something it’s almost always because I’m reaching too far into the future and feeling concerned about it.  It helps to bring yourself back to “right now” by asking yourself “Am I okay right now?”  If the answer is yes, then feel gratitude and stay with that feeling for as long as you can.  Because right now is all we have.  90% of the things we worry about never happen.

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).  It is my honor to help you through this.

Your Emotional Health Is Important When You’re Going Through Breast Cancer

Photo courtesy of rgbstock.com and Zela
Photo courtesy of rgbstock.com and Zela

Understanding how our emotional health impacts our physical selves was something that I really wanted to grasp when I was going through the breast cancer journey.  Being a massage therapist, I knew the two were inter-related and important.

Repressed Emotions Can Be Detrimental

One of my favorite authors, Dr Bernie Siegel, was a wonderful source of information to me and helped me understand how our emotional health impacts our physical health.

In his book Love Medicine & Miracles, Dr Siegel shared the importance of expressing your emotions when cancer is diagnosed.  He said that feelings of anger and rage are usually well founded and must not be repressed.  Dr Siegel stated “Unexpressed feelings depress your immune response.”  He went on to say that the people who show and express how they feel “survive adversity better than those who are emotionally constricted.”

Dr Siegel discussed a 1979 study by Leonard Derogatis and Martin Abeloff, John Hopkins Medical School, who studied 35 women with breast cancer and found that those who lived longer were much more expressive in their anger, fear, guilt and depression as compared to those women who suppressed their emotions.

This illustrates how much repressed emotions are injurious not only for your mental health but also your physical health.  Emotional honesty not only improves your health, but also helps you to receive better quality of care from your family and your health care providers.

5 Ways To Release Pent-Up Emotions

  1. Seek help from a qualified counselor – a psychotherapist can assist you to offload all of that toxic rubbish you’ve been carrying around in your brain for so long.
  2. Go stand on a mountain top – or some other secluded place – and have a word with your Maker.  Pour out your heart.  Rest assured that your words will be heard.
  3. Find an Emotional Freedom Technique practitioner – I used this myself when going through breast cancer and it helped alleviate stress and anxiety to a huge degree.  Dr Mercola has an informative video on his site about this technique.
  4. Try meditation.  It is an inward journey that will help you to come to know yourself much better and helps to alleviate so much of the anxiety and fear surrounding a cancer diagnosis.
  5. Bodywork such as deep tissue massage and aromatherapy can help you release emotions that have been residing within you.

This is so worth doing – emotional toxicity causes so much disruption in our lives such as depression, insomnia, physical pain, and yes, cancer.  Seek some help, give yourself the best chance to heal.

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.  

Guest Writer: Strategies for Coping with the Anxiety of Living with a Serious Illness

 

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net / Simon Howden

 

Strategies for Coping with the Anxiety of Living with a Serious Illness

Finding out you have a serious illness is devastating. It forces you to come to terms with your own mortality, and while you should keep fighting every day, it’s most certainly harder to relax and find happiness when you’re faced with that thought each and every day.

For many, this causes significant anxiety. Even if you’ve responded well to treatments, your life is undoubtedly going to change. It has to, because you’ve been faced with a life changing event that has changed the course of your life forever.

But that anxiety becomes a problem when it holds you back from finding happiness in life. There are going to be trials, and times when it’s difficult to think positively, but the more time you spend focused on the adversity and the risks ahead, the less time you spend living for yourself in a way that makes you happy. Everyone will someday have to face their own mortality, but until they do, everyone deserves to try to live a life that is free of regrets and filled with joy.

Stopping Anxiety in its Tracks

Of course, this is often easier said than done. There is certainly no denying that the never-ending doctor’s visits, treatment side effects, and physical aches and pains can make controlling anxiety more difficult. But there are still ways to help you cope with the stresses ahead of you so that you still wake up each day ready to enjoy life. Some of these include:

1.  Goal Creation

The simple act of creating goals is extremely important for those living with a serious illness. You need to make sure that you’re always working for something, and that when you complete a goal you still have more to do. It’s good to be focused on the future and not feeling stuck.

Many of those with anxiety disorders (unrelated to serious illness) struggle with this as well. I certainly did. It caused me to spend each day focused on just getting through the day, and suddenly I woke up and a year had passed and I had accomplished nothing.

Even though serious illness can reduce some of your ability to meet some of these goals, there are always new goals you can try. Make sure you’re constantly working for something so that each day is one spent achieving something in the future.

2.  Permanent Creative Outlets

What Ms. Clark is doing with this blog is also incredibly valuable. When you suffer from anxiety, you no doubt have all of these thoughts in your head that you can’t seem to release. Putting them all on paper and sharing them with others is the type of creative outlet that many people need to simply take those thoughts out of their head and share them with others, and the permanence of a blog or journal ensures that at any point you can go back, see what you were feeling, and see how you are now.

Those that don’t like to write can try art as well. But anything you can do that lets out your emotions in a healthy way is valuable, and will reduce some of the pressure that these thoughts have on you.

3.  Fake It

It can be hard to feel optimistic when you are struggling with a serious diagnosis, even if you’ve managed to overcome it. When optimism fails, you try faking optimism.

We’re not talking about denial.  Denial is never healthy.  We’re just talking about pretending to be a person that isn’t affected by their diagnosis.  Pretend to be someone with a positive outlook, even if it doesn’t come naturally.

One of the most interesting things about the human brain is that when it’s confused, it tries to adapt to being confused.  By pretending to be positive, you’re confusing your brain, and often you’ll find that your mind turns you into a more positive person as a result in order to become less confused. It may sound silly, but it’s very effective, and absolutely worth a try for a few months.

  1.  Your Spirit and Anxiety

Still, in the end it’s not about the diagnosis. It’s about who you want to be and how you want to live your life. Your own willingness to recognize your anxiety and overcome it is going to be the key that moves you forward.  If you show your own inner strength by dedicating your life to happiness and enjoying yourself, you’ll find that no diagnosis can truly hold you back.

About today’s Guest Writer: Ryan Rivera has worked with many people struggling with chronic illness, and provides anxiety recovery tips at www.calmclinic.com.

Thanks, Ryan!  We appreciate your words of wisdom.

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).  It is my honor to help you through this.

Want to Sleep Better?

want to sleep better Image source: Michelle Meiklejohn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Want To Sleep Better?

Following on yesterday’s article about EMF radiation, I am getting quite a few inquiries from my readers saying “HELP ME SLEEP!” or “how can I sleep better?”

Initially it might seem like the two articles are not connected, but they definitely are.  If you are trying to sleep in a room that has high electro-magnetic frequencies, chances are your sleep is going to be disturbed.

Melatonin Plays a Role

Also the whole issue about melatonin comes into play – I mentioned in yesterday’s article that studies have shown women who have breast cancer normally have quite low levels of melatonin, often as little as one-tenth what they should.  Check out yesterday’s article: EMF Dangers and 7 Tips To Help You Avoid Exposure.

If you have breast cancer or are wanting to reduce your risk of it, improving your quality of sleep is, I believe, absolutely crucial.  Studies have shown that shift workers, especially nurses, are more prone to breast cancer and the researchers are discovering that lack of melatonin could be the cause.

Why We Don’t Sleep Well

Since there seems to be a great need out there to improve quality of sleep, let’s first examine some of the reasons why people don’t sleep well:

  • Noise – from the neighborhood, a snoring spouse or pet, crying children, barking dogs, screaming ambulances – noise can be a big problem
  • Light – too much light entering the bedroom
  • Pets – needy pets sleeping on your head don’t help!
  • Alcohol – a big sleep disturber
  • Caffeine – stimulates your nervous system, and lots of caffeine over the period of a day can build up
  • Thinking and Anxiety – an inability to shut the mind off or feeling anxious about things
  • Jet Lag – constant travel can be a problem for your inner time clock
  • Restless Legs – sufferers of this syndrome have an irresistible urge to move their legs to relieve sensations described as itchiness, pins and needles or other discomforts
  • Hot Flashes – whether you are menopausal or undergoing treatment for breast cancer, you know how completely sleep can be interrupted by these darned things

My 11 Best Tips – How to Sleep Better

  1. Remove EMFs – See yesterday’s article about removing EMFs from the bedroom.
  2. Noise Reduction – It can be difficult to control the noise factor.  I have tried earplugs but I hate the sensation of them in my ears and find that makes sleep difficult.  Often just turning on a fan can be helpful – the “white noise” from the fan and the movement of air can be soothing.  Also, there are “white noise” machines available from places such as Sharper Image, Amazon.com, etc.  Just ensure you don’t place it close to the bed (again, the EMF problem).  If a snoring partner is the problem, one of you should move to another room to sleep, if possible.
  3. Light Reduction  – Make your bedroom as dark as possible.  This is important because if your bedroom is full of too much light (including light from an alarm clock), it directly inhibits the production of melatonin.  Use room darkening shades if possible and rid your bedroom of as many appliances as you can that create little lights at night.
  4. Pets – People love their pets, but pets have no place in the bedroom, I am sorry to say.  They can disturb your sleep by wanting to play or wanting to be let out or… whatever.  If you are having trouble sleeping (unless of course the pet helps you to sleep), getting pets out of the bedroom helps a lot.  Here’s an article from webmd I found extremely helpful.
  5. Limit Alcohol – Contrary to popular belief, alcohol does not help you sleep.  Studies show that alcohol decreases the duration of sleep and its efficiency.  It also increases your risk of breast cancer.
  6. Limit Caffeine – How caffeine affects us varies widely.  For instance I’m very intolerant of it, I can’t have it past about 1 pm in the day or I’ll be awake half the night.  My husband can drink black tea all day and all night and sleep like a baby.  I believe each person’s tolerance for caffeine is pretty different.  Just be aware of what yours is – it is, after all, a stimulant to the nervous system.  If you’re finding that you don’t sleep well, try limiting your caffeine intake after about 3 pm for about 2 weeks and see what happens.
  7. Meditation and Positive Affirmations – Thinking too much and anxiety are double trouble, much prone to them myself.  Here’s what helps me.  If I meditate for 20 minutes prior to going to bed, I sleep much better.  The use of positive affirmations helps with anxiety.  One of the tenets of Buddhism is living in the moment.  If you find your brain is running amok and going through all those “what if’s” and it’s creating massive anxiety, ask yourself this question.  AM I OKAY RIGHT THIS MINUTE?  99% of the time, the answer will be “yes”.  Tell yourself, “I am okay right now and right now is all that matters”.  Are you aware that 90% of the things we worry about never happen?  Just breathe.  Be here now.  Without wishing to minimize your problems and worries, it might help you to realize that if  you have a roof over your head and food in your belly, you are doing better than 50% of the population of this planet.
  8. Jet Lag Tips – A big sleep disruptor.  Here’s a good article from USA Today on how to reduce jet lag.
  9. Restless Legs – This can be a big problem for a lot of people, including me.  I found a great cure for it when I was living in Australia – maddeningly the cure isn’t available in the USA.  It’s a supplement made by a company out of New Zealand, Blackmores, and it’s called P.P.M.P. which stands for Potassium phosphate Magnesium phosphate.  I haven’t found anything else that works faster.  The Mayo Clinic has an article about RLS with some tips and tricks which may help.
  10. Aromatherapy – Breathing in a good quality lavender essential oil and spreading it onto the bottoms of your feet just prior to bed helps immensely because it has wonderful calming qualities and helps with depth and quality of sleep.  Essential oils are extremely beneficial for more than just sleep improvement! For more info see my page about essential oils.
  11. Cool Those Hot Flashes – I wish I had the cure-all for this.  I’ve found many things that assist, nothing that makes them go away entirely.  I wrote an article recently with some tips and tricks.

I really hope that this helps you get a better night’s sleep.

GET MY BEST TIPS on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right.  You can also “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark Breast Health Coach).  I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

Newly Diagnosed? Dealing with Anxiety and Fear

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and artur84
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and artur84

Newly Diagnosed?  Dealing with Anxiety and Fear

It has been my observation that newly diagnosed cancer patients generally have anxiety that is off the charts, and who could blame them?

Fear obviously plays a part in their anxiety – fear of death, pain, loss of function – it can all be life-changing and very scary.

The Difference Between Anxiety and Fear

In an effort to help move you through these sometimes paralyzing feelings, I’ve found some words that I hope will help you.

It comes from the book Living Beyond Limits by David Spiegel, MD:

“There is an important difference between anxiety and fear.  Anxiety is a general sense that something is wrong, which can lead to discomfort, restlessness, and worry, but which is not specific enough to point the way to any resolution of the problem.  Fear is something more specific – you know what you are afraid of, and this tends to make the possibility of effective action to control or reduce the fear more real.  One of the best means of treating anxiety is to convert it to fear, to change a general sense of discomfort to a fear of something in particular.  Thus, a general sense of anxiety in relation to cancer or other illness is best addressed by seeking to define exactly what it is you are anxious about: the discomfort associated with the treatment, the possibility that the disease will spread, the threat of death.  Each of these issues can be explored and addressed, which can reduce the discomfort they cause.  The way to tame anxiety is to confront it directly.  Ask rather than avoid.”

Learning The Language of Cancer

I believe Dr Spiegel gave excellent advice.  A lot of the anxiety of a new diagnosis comes from, I believe, all the new language you have to learn about medical treatments, from those overwhelming discussions of survival chances based on this therapy or that, the side effects of this or that. 

Here are a few tips to help you deal with anxiety and fear:

You must ask questions until you come to understand what is being recommended by your doctors and treatment providers.  No one could absorb all of that information the first time around, so take notes.  It is also good to have a friend or spouse with you – another set of ears listening is really important because I guarantee you, at some point you will be in overload mode and stop listening and possibly miss an important point.

Dr Spiegel also makes the point that as a newly diagnosed patient you must study for the role as though you were learning a new job.  He suggests that doctors, nurses, social workers, and other patients can be your teachers.

I would add to that list of people/teachers: other breast cancer survivors, psychotherapists (to help you manage your stress levels), naturopaths or nutritionists, and massage therapists.

That’s the role of a good healing team – to help you manage your anxiety and fear, to provide you with excellent care, to answer all of your questions in ways that you are able to understand, and to refer you to other members on the team when it’s necessary.

Try not to stay in fear-mode for too long.  Dr Spiegel’s advice to convert your anxiety to a specific fear and then tackle it by addressing each fear is a good one because if you are living in a state of fear you are not focusing on your healing and I believe that’s important to do, especially with a life-threatening disease like cancer.  Don’t beat yourself up because you are experiencing fear and anxiety, but do your best to move through it so that you can start the healing process.

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.

Making Decisions – Overcoming the “Paralysis of Analysis”

http://MarnieClark.com/Making-Decisions-Overcoming-the-Paralysis-of-AnalysisThe Paralysis of Analysis

When you are first diagnosed with any life-threatening disease, it is easy to be overwhelmed by all of the decisions you have to make.

Sometimes you might make the conscious decision NOT to make any more decisions until you have more information, or until you’ve talked to that friend who has been through it.  Sometimes you feel absolutely frozen in fear and can’t make any decisions at all, what the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King termed “the paralysis of analysis”.  Good turn of phrase!

Getting past that immobilization can sometimes be difficult.  I would encourage you to do just that, however, because there is nothing worse than paralysis in the face of a threat.  You must have a plan for dealing with the threat.  You will notice, in the coming weeks and months, that as you face the fact of your diagnosis you begin to observe that life goes on, even with this threat hanging over you.

I have some recommendations on getting through the decision making time.

4 Ways to Help You Move Beyond the Paralysis

  1. If a lack of information or understanding about the path you need to take is holding you back, talk to your doctor.  Talk to me.  Discuss it with that friend who has been through breast cancer.  Do some searches on the Internet, or have a friend do the searches for you.  Don’t let lack of information hold you back – we live in the age of technology when information is in abundance.
  2. If fear is holding you back, talk to a therapist.  Discussing your plight with a neutral party can often be extraordinarily helpful.
  3. If anxiety is keeping you from making the necessary decisions, and if you don’t know how to meditate, learn.  There is nothing more calming, more grounding, and more helpful than meditation to calm anxiety.  It will also help you with your treatments for the disease.  Meditation will help you focus on the problem at hand and help you make your decision for the right reasons and when you are calm and thoughtful.
  4. Seek solitude.  A long walk along the beach or a river often helps because the atmosphere surrounding places with water is full of negative ions, which help you feel better.  It can help to clear your mind and put things in perspective.

Psychology Today offers us this tasty little bit of advice: “You can practice confident decision-making by remembering a simple dictum over and over: You cannot have certainty and you don’t need it. By accepting that no certainty exists and that you don’t need it, you’ll instead harness intuition and, by extension, confidence.”

Decisions are an inevitable part of being human. It requires the right attitude.  Every problem, properly perceived, becomes an opportunity.

 If you’d like to stay connected, 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.

Stress Hits An All-Time High – Here’s Some Relief

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and imagerymajestic
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and imagerymajestic

Everywhere I go this week, I’m running into people that are stressed.  And it’s only Monday!

For those of you who are stressed out, I put together this article today with some things that I hope will help.

There are some nice You Tube videos (links below) that will help you de-stress.

This first one features pressure points on your hands and collar bone that you can press to help relieve stress (they actually work): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPH0ihwVPkM&amp

Here’s one called How to Meditate in a Moment:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6eFFCi12v8

Here’s an hour worth of “Ocean Chill-Out Music” guaranteed to bring the stress down a few notches (skip the ad):  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fz8yTq0cqhg&feature=related

Here’s a great one called “How to Calm Down in 10 Seconds”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xI3sVuH7rms

I feel better already just doing the research and finding the videos.  Hope it helps you too!

Remember to breathe.  And smile.  Everyone will wonder what you’re up to.

 If you’d like to stay connected, 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.

Detachment & Igniting Your Inner Healer

 

Photo courtesy of stock.xchng and Lumix2004
Photo courtesy of stock.xchng and Lumix2004

The Art of Detachment

I was recently re-reading my well-thumbed copy of “Why People Don’t Heal And How They Can” by Carolyn Myss and was struck by a statement she made about the importance of detachment, especially as it relates to healing.

Ms Myss was talking about the spiritual practice of detaching yourself from the fears of the mind and “viewing your circumstances as an experience through which you are passing, rather than as one that controls your physical life.”

I  see a lot of fear in the newly diagnosed breast cancer patients with whom I work and so to say that I am interested in finding good ways of helping them reduce their fear would be the understatement of the year.

The English language really doesn’t have a good word that accurately describes the state of detachment discussed here.  If you look in the dictionary you’ll see words like indifference and aloofness, and this is nothing like what we’re contemplating.

I was just reading a really great article entitled “Detachment, Abundance & Success: Just Another Day At The Beach” on erniegray.com, and he had this to say: “A better way of describing detachment in zen practice is a detachment from outcomes in a state of positive being.”

Mr Gray went on to say, “This was understood by Jesus, and is a common characteristic of some of the most successful people you may encounter. To experience and enjoy a life of abundance, you must learn detachment from outcomes.”

Now I realize that cancer patients (having been one myself) are often attached to the outcome of their treatments because they want to live, perfectly understandable and natural.

One of the places I like to go and offer help is an online cancer forum put together by the American Cancer Society, it’s called “What Next”.  One of the forum participants was responding to a newly-diagnosed cancer patient who was having a good deal of anxiety and exhibiting more than a little fear.  She responded with something like “Well, all you can do is your very best to get rid of the cancer.  And even if you fail, you get to go and be with our Lord in peace and harmony” and I thought about that a good long time.  Now THAT is true detachment to an outcome.

Why To Practice Detachment

Carolyn Myss, for those who don’t know of her, is a very wise energy healer (among many other things) and she had an interesting statement to make about detachment and healing.  She said “Reaching a detached state of mind for even five minutes a day is so valuable that it can infuse your body with the equivalent energy of six months of living in genuine hope.

If you’ve been reading my blog articles, you will know that I am passionate about the power of the mind to heal.  Genuine hope is such a powerful healer that without even knowing it, the cells of your body are working toward a more healing path every moment that you exist in that state.

In her book, Ms Myss offers an exercise to help you uncover your negative, limiting beliefs and replacing them with more positive, healing attitudes.  Grab a copy of this book and see the chapter titled “Igniting the Healing Fire Within”.  If you are struggling with your cancer diagnosis or are suffering from recurrences or metastases I highly recommend this book, it is filled with so much incredible knowledge of healing and offers the reader some compelling lessons on how to heal themselves.

The practice of detachment can take years, so don’t feel bad if you can’t get there after only a few days of trying.  If can take a lot of effort to release your attachments and place all things in your life into a healthy, rational perspective, and recognize the need to back away from the uncontrollable and unchangeable realities life sometimes offers us.  Well worth the effort though!

Another resource is Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong site, where I found an excellent article about developing detachment.

If you’d like to stay connected, 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.

Dealing With the “What-If’s”

 

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.com and photostock
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.com and photostock

Dealing With the What-If’s

Every cancer patient will tell you that there comes a point on a sleepless night when the “what-if’s” come to haunt and harass.

No matter how strong the patient, how resolute, how focused in their healing… there’s always a dark night when the following questions come home to roost:

What if I can’t get well?

What if it comes back?

What if I die?  How will my family cope?

I didn’t expect to have these feelings, but I did, and usually when I was ultra-tired.

Some Wise Words

I’m a frequent visitor on the American Cancer Society’s “What Next” forum and a nice man from England named Steve Darke had a great answer to this question recently:

“We go through so many emotions when faced with our own mortality but these emotions are shared by many of us… we must put weight to the positive emotions such as hope. If we choose to live our lives in fear then we are mourning away our future happiness, a happiness which is ours by right.  I may die from this illness but I won’t let this illness take away my dreams for I believe without our hopes and dreams we are painting ourselves a very bleak future where all the colours find their way to darker shades of black from the tears that we cry.

“At least we have knowledge of the fate that may belie us, there have been many who say goodbye whilst parting and are never seen again; at least knowing the things we now know, we are able to speak the words that are unsaid, and right the things that are wrong.  Here is something called ‘Wasted Moments’ taken from my book Reaching For A Rainbow – A Practical Guide to Living Alongside Cancer (written by Steve Darke):

I am neither a spring flower nor a mighty oak, I am just a man with frailty of life, it’s not the time I have but the journey that counts, regrets for the future of what might have been are what the reaper leaves behind as unfinished business, cast aside regrets and trivial things, say the things you have to say, share the things you have to share and live your journey to the end.

Beautiful words, thank you Steve.  Steve has started his own blog and here is a link to it.

Some Help For Those Feelings

In order to help you keep the anxiety at bay, I’ll share a couple of things that really helped me.

  • EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) – I found a practitioner that helped me work through those feelings early on.  Here’s an 11-minute video outlining the technique and you can try it now.  Definitely honor where you are now but don’t let fear and anxiety take you over.
  • A quote from Louise Hay in “You Can Heal Your Life”:  “Invite your fears in, then tell them to sit down and shut up!”
  • I just looked Death square in the eye and said I’M NOT AFRAID OF YOU.  I’M ALSO NOT READY FOR YOU, SO YOU CAN JUST GO AWAY.
  • Get a massage or some form of bodywork – it has such a calming effect and can be so healing.

If you’d like to stay connected, 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.

Favorite Inspirational Quote #7

Photo courtesy of stock.xchng and duchessa
Photo courtesy of stock.xchng and duchessa

Today’s favorite inspirational quote comes from Dr Bernie Siegel in “Love, Medicine & Miracles” and the subject is the importance of peace of mind.

“Getting well isn’t the main objective.  That can set you up for failure.  If you set a physical goal, then you may fail, but if you make peace of mind your goal, you can achieve it.  My message is peace of mind, not curing cancer, blindness, or paraplegia.  In achieving peace of mind, cancer may be healed, sight may be restored, and paralysis may disappear.  All of these things may occur through peace of mind, which creates a healing environment in the body.”

When you consider the research being done about the body-mind connection, how stress often plays a huge role in the development of disease, and how often we are stressed these days, Dr Siegel’s comment makes a lot of sense.

Check out my free downloadable Guided Meditation if you need help with stress.

If you’d like to stay connected, 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.

Effectively Dealing with Triple Negative Breast Cancer

 

Photo courtesy of rgbstock.com and Billy Frank Alexander
Photo courtesy of rgbstock.com and Billy Frank Alexander

Triple Negative Breast Cancer – What It Means

When a cancerous tumor is removed from a breast, a sample (biopsy) of the tumor is taken and a pathologist examines its characteristics to determine the status of three breast cancer specific markers – the estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), and a form of the epidermal growth factor receptor (HER2).

ER and PR are proteins that bind the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone, respectively. These hormones are produced by the ovaries and play a major role in stimulating cell division in breast cells.

Estrogen and progesterone bind to their respective receptors on the surface of cells and stimulate cell division.  Breast tumor cells with a positive (+) hormone receptor status have high levels of ER and PR. These types of breast cancer are typically treated with hormone therapy.

HER2 is a receptor protein located on the surface of breast cells. This protein binds growth factors and stimulates cell growth and division.  Breast tumor cells with a positive (+) HER2 status have high levels of HER2 on their surface.  These types of breast cancer can be treated with a special type of targeted therapy.

The Perceived Threat

Triple negative breast tumors do not have high levels of any of ER, PR or HER2 receptors.  In theory triple negative tumors should have a better prognosis than tumors expressing ER, PR, or HER2, because they are not receiving the growth signals provided by these proteins.

This doesn’t seem to be the case, however.  Oncologists know precisely how to treat breast cancers expressing ER+, PR+, or HER2+ — they do it with drugs such as Herceptin, Tamoxifen and Arimidex that inhibit the function of the receptors.

But triple negative breast cancer is unresponsive to these targeted treatments.  Studies have shown that triple negative tumor cells may be more aggressive than other breast cancer subtypes, but the reasons for this are unknown.  About 10-20% of breast cancers are found to be triple-negative. For doctors and researchers, there is intense interest in finding new medications that can treat this kind of breast cancer.

Depending on the confidence and “bedside manner” of her doctor, patients who are categorized as triple negative can tend to worry quite a bit more than those who aren’t – there is a lot of negative information on the Internet about the lack of treatment options and the “aggressive nature of the tumor cells making triple negative breast cancer more difficult to treat”.  Please keep reading!

The website breastcancer.org (an excellent source of breast cancer information) has an article that is worth reading: “Treatment for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer“.

New research has come to light from Cancer Research UK that breast cancer actually falls into TEN different categories, rather than the subgroups discussed above (estrogen and progesterone receptor positive or negative, and either HER2 positive or negative).  One day soon we will be able to offer each woman an individualized therapy, depending on the type of breast cancer she has.

Forget the “Poor Prognosis” Terminology

My main purpose in writing this article is to calm the fears and concerns of women who are found to be triple negative.  This is not a death sentence!  You might have to fight a little harder, be a little more proactive.  You might have to arm yourself with a little more knowledge (something I always recommend anyway!) but this is definitely survivable.

The first thing I would suggest you do (besides attending all of the medical appointments suggested for you) is to expand your mind and read “The Biology of Belief” by Dr Bruce Lipton.  Dr Lipton is a cell biologist who has closely examined how our beliefs control our DNA.  This is a powerful, life-changing book.

Here’s an article by Dr Joseph Mercola on the subject of how your emotions and beliefs regulate your genes.

Then you could read “You Can Conquer Cancer” by Dr Ian Gawler, an Australian veterinarian who healed himself from a potentially lethal form of cancer using nutrition, meditation and various other natural forms of therapy.

Shakespeare’s Hamlet had it right when he said, “…there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

Then realize that there are some positives with your diagnosis of triple negative breast cancer:

1.  You do not have to take hormone therapy drugs that have a whole host of unpleasant side effects.

2.  Research shows that triple-negative tumors respond better to chemotherapy than tumors that are estrogen and progesterone positive. Chemo works better on you!

3.  If you remain disease-free for four or more years the chances are your cancer will NEVER return.

4.  Research for this type of breast cancer has been given a very high priority – there are study results being published practically weekly.

LASTLY, KNOW WITH EVERY FIBER OF YOUR BEING THAT YOU CAN BEAT THIS!

References:

1. http://www.cancerquest.org/triple-negative-breast-cancer.html?gclid=CIer7dzSj7ECFYe6KgodXz812g

2. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/04/19/breast-cancer-cancer-research-uk-disease-10-categories-dr-harpal-kumar_n_1436498.html?ref=uk

3. http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/diagnosis/trip_neg/treatment.jsp

4. http://blogs.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/04/11/epigenetic-vs-determinism.aspx

If you’d like to stay connected, 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.

21 Ways To Heal Yourself With Essential Oils

 

21 Ways To Heal Yourself With Essential Oils
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and Rawich

21 Ways to Heal Yourself With Essential Oils

Anyone who knows me is aware of the fact that I use essential oils daily.  I smell fragrant from the oils – every single day.

There’s a good reason for that!  (By the way, people are always asking me “Have you just had a massage?” or “You smell incredible! What is that?”)

Therapeutic grade essential oils are good for so many things – the following list is only scratching the surface (but I had to start somewhere!)

 21 Health Benefits of Using Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils

  1. They support immune function – Some of the constituents in essential oils mimic human immunoglobulin (an antibody the body uses to identify and neutralize foreign objects such as bacteria and viruses), elevate lymphocytes (white blood cells needed for your immune response) and stimulate our natural immune system – grapefruit, German chamomile, clove, mountain savory, lemon, also the blends Immupower and Thieves.
  2. They affect your emotional well-being – Therapeutic oils can trigger psychological and physiological responses, lifting your mood, aiding in reducing depression, and calming anxiousness – use lavender, orange, rose, jasmine, also the blends Peace & Calming, Believe, and Joy.
  3. They supply potent anti-microbials – Research has found that therapeutic oils are highly effective against bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, and even the “superbug” (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus or MRSA). Bacteria cannot mutate in the presence of therapeutic oils – cinnamon, melaleuca, geranium, clove, melissa, eucalyptus, rosemary, and the blends Melrose and Thieves.
  4. They ease stress and anxiety – Too much stress, anxiety and tension are the physiological responses to our thoughts and beliefs and trigger unresolved emotions.  Most chronic illness and disease begins with stress and tension.  Therapeutic oils are known to soothe, bring peaceful thoughts, quiet the nervous system and calm the body/mind – lavender, ylang ylang, frankincense, sandalwood, and the blends Highest Potential, Hope, Release, and Valor.
  5. They help you sleep – Research shows that lavender reduces insomnia, helps you to relax and decreases anxiety.  Let me just say, though, that the lavender you use must be therapeutic-grade Lavandula angustifolia (I only have one trusted source).  The other oils known to promote sleep are valerian, Roman chamomile, frankincense, marjoram, clary sage, cistus, and the blends Peace & Calming, Citrus Fresh and  Progessence Plus (my particular favorite).
  6. They reduce inflammation – Inflammation can be caused by bacteria, a poor diet, injuries, an overload of toxins, and hormonal imbalances and is at the root of most degenerative diseases!  Try Idaho balsam fir, ocotea, peppermint, wintergreen, spruce, and the blend PanAway.
  7. They help you concentrate and study, support brain health – Certain oils increase alertness and your ability to memorize – peppermint (try this when you have driving fatigue!), basil, and the blends Brain Power and Clarity.  They also support the health of your brain by stimulating the cerebral cortex, thereby reducing your chances of getting Alzheimer’s or dementia – use frankincense, vetiver, sandalwood, patchouli, myrrh, cedarwood, helichrysum, nutmeg,  peppermint, rosemary, and the blends Clarity, Valor and Brain Power.
  8. They provide natural pain relief – Massage therapeutic oils into sore, tired muscles, use with a warm compress (oils first and then warm compress) – use Idaho balsam fir, black pepper, peppermint, ginger, wintergreen, and the blends PanAway, Aroma Siez.
  9. They soothe burns, sunburns, scrapes & cuts – Lavender is so incredible at healing burns!  Therapeutic oils are antiseptic and cleansing and can be very effective in healing, much better than antibiotic creams or gels.  Use lavender, geranium, melaleuca, eucalyptus radiata, and the blend Melrose.
  10. They are marvelous for your skin – Essential oils have been used for centuries to restore, rejuvenate, and improve damaged, wrinkled skin.  You can also use them to clear acne, clogged pores, eczema, dark spots, and stretch marks!  Try lavender, Roman chamomile, German chamomile, geranium, sandalwood, Idaho tansy, melaleuca, patchouli, frankincense, myrrh, myrtle, helichrysum.
  11. They protect against colds and flu  – Therapeutic oils have potent antimicrobial actions and protect against colds, flu, and aid respiratory tissues. Inhale oils, diffuse them, put in empty capsules and take internally – lemon, eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary, frankincense, Dorado azul, ravensara and the blends RC, Raven, Purification and Melrose.
  12. They assist hormonal function – Your endocrine system includes 9 glands that interconnect with organs using hormones (chemical messengers) to maintain balance and metabolism.  Stress and imbalance in the endocrine system is at the root of many degenerative diseases.  Best oils – clary sage, fennel, spikenard, nutmeg, myrrh, pine, Idaho balsam fir, the blend EndoFlex and Progessence Plus.
  13. They soothe digestive disturbances  – Therapeutic oils are very effective relief for nausea, indigestion, heartburn, gas, diarrhea, irritable bowel. Rub on abdominal area; take internally in water or empty capsules – best ones are peppermint, ginger, fennel, patchouli, Roman chamomile, and the blend DiGize.
  14. They support muscles and bones – Muscles and joints become stiff and painful when overworked, stressed or burdened with toxins. Apply oils to these areas to relieve pain and inflammation – peppermint, wintergreen, basil, and the blends Relieve It, Aroma Siez, and Pan Away.
  15. They improve circulation – Therapeutic essential oils oxygenate and cleanse your cells and this assists you to have healthier blood which carries more oxygen and a healthier vascular system – use cypress, German chamomile, helichrysum, grapefruit, ylang ylang, spikenard, and the blend Aroma Life.
  16. They support the urinary system – Essential oils have been used for nearly a century for aiding kidney, bladder and urinary infections.  Rub oils over the kidney area; take internally in water or empty capsules – grapefruit, lemon, geranium, juniper, mountain savory, clove, oregano, melaleuca alternifolia, and the blend Thieves.
  17. They support your liver – Since your liver is one of your major detoxifying organs, it’s important to help it detox on a regular basis.  A good liver support recipe: use  2 drops German chamomile, 3 drops celery seed oil, 10 drops orange and 5 drops rosemary.  You can apply 1-3 drops of the oil over the liver twice a day, you can massage 2-4 drops of oil neat on the soles of your feet just before bedtime, you can place a warm compress with 1-2 drops of oil over the liver 1-2 times per day.  Quite often, I put a drop of lemon oil or orange oil in a glass of juice or water.
  18. They improve oral and dental health – Bacteria in the mouth can cause disease in other parts of the body, including the heart.  Therapeutic essential oils in oral care products kill microbes associated with tooth decay, gum disease, systemic infections and unpleasant mouth odor – cinnamon, clove, melaleuca alternifolia, peppermint, and the blend Thieves (also available in toothpaste and mouthwash).
  19. They strengthen and nourish hair – Essential oils make wonderful hair care ingredients that rejuvenate hair, encourage hair growth, and cleanse hair follicles.   The personal care products I recommend do not contain harmful toxic ingredients (like dimethicone, sodium lauryl sulphate, propylene glycol) because these are petrochemicals that are stored in fatty tissue of the heart, liver, lungs, breast and brain.   Use lavender, sandalwood, rosemary, ylang ylang, lemon, sage, cedarwood (also available in shampoo and conditioner).
  20. They help you fight against disease –  Lots of research has been done that indicate therapeutic essential oils can help you combat disease.  Look how many articles there are about frankincense on the pubmed.gov websiteSee also my page about overall health.
  21. They provide safe, natural alternatives to toxic household cleaners – Research points to common household cleaners as a suspected link to the 55% increase in certain types of disease (specifically for women who work only in the home).  Essential oils are powerful yet safe antibacterial and antimicrobial agents, making them a fantastic, safe choice as cleaners and disinfectants – use clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, rosemary, melaleuca alternifolia, grapefruit (also try Thieves Household Cleaner, it works wonders).

I’m pretty particular about the essential oils I use – there’s only one maker that creates the therapeutic oils I love and trust and use every single day.  Here’s where you can get them.

If you’d like to stay connected, 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.

Member No 267494
Member No 267494

Beat Stress Before it Beats You: Relaxing Apps to Download

Beat Stress Before it Beats You Relaxing Apps to Download
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and Stuart Miles

Feeling stressed these days?  I haven’t run into anyone that hasn’t been feeling the stress of modern life. Fortunately, there are some great relaxing apps to download that will help you!

I find it funny that one of the things that stresses me (my smart phone) is also one of the things that is providing me with some soothing relief.

Stress seems to be the one thing that most breast cancer patients tell me is their constant companion, particularly in the initial phase of diagnosis, absorbing the information and getting together a treatment regimen.  Most breast cancer patients have told me that they were experiencing unrelenting stress in their lives prior to their diagnosis (and that was true for me also).

So I set out to find some of the best smart phone apps I could, thinking that if your smart phone is your other constant companion, you might as well use it to help you de-stress and regain some inner peace!

7 Relaxing Apps to Download

  1. White noise: you can choose from ocean waves, crickets, etc.  Users say it really can help put you to sleep.  Available for iPhones and iPads at iTunes for $1.99.
  2. Yoga apps: since there are many, the link is to a great article written by Regis Chapman at appolicious.com.  Regis has spent a lot of time doing the research on this one, so read the article and choose an app you like (free & various prices).
  3. Cancer: Discover Your Healing Power: a wonderful app from Louise Hay, one of my favorite authors on the subject of healing your body and mind.  Available at hayhouse.com for $5.99.
  4. Meditations for Relaxation and Stress Reduction: from Joan Borysenko, a noted author, lecturer and healer.  Available at hayhouse.com for $5.99.
  5. Inner Peace Cards: from Dr Wayne Dyer, wonderful author, lecturer and healer.  Lovely affirmation cards you can use daily to enhance your health and happiness.  Available at hayhouse.com for $3.99.
  6. iZen Garden for iPad: chosen as one of the top 500 apps in the world by The Sunday Times of London and much beloved by its users.  Available at iTunes for $4.99.
  7. Relax and Rest: Guided Meditations: one user said “I have been using this app for almost a year now. It truly helps in reducing anxiety that I deal with. I think everyone should use this app once a day to stay relaxed. Or use the 24 minute program to put you right to sleep.”  Available from iTunes for just under a buck!

Okay, stress bunnies – try out these apps and let me know how you like them!  What other apps are you using to help yourself unwind? Let me know in the comments below.

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).  It is my honor to help you through this.