Category Archives: Meditation Benefits

Beat Stress Before it Beats You: Relaxing Apps to Download

Beat Stress Before it Beats You Relaxing Apps to Download

Image source freedigitalphotos.net / 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. Louise Hay Affirmation Meditations app: wonderful affirmations from Louise Hay, one of my favorite authors on the subject of healing your body and mind.  Available at hayhouse.com.
  4. Meditations for Relaxation and Stress Reduction: from Joan Borysenko, a noted author, lecturer and healer.  Available at hayhouse.com for $5.99.
  5. Dr Wayne Dyer Inspirations: from Dr Wayne Dyer, inspirational author, lecturer and healer.  Lovely affirmation cards you can use daily to enhance your health and happiness.  Available at amazon.com.
  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 (Marnie Clark, Breast Health Coach).  It is my honor to help you through this.

10 Anxiety Busters for Breast Cancer Patients

10 Anxiety Busters for Breast Cancer Patients
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and imagerymajestic

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

  1. 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.
  2. Destress – Choose what works for you – special breathing, relaxation techniques, creative imagery, learn the benefits of meditation.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Essential Oils – Use a calming oil like Lavender (put it on your pillow at night) to help you relax and relieve anxious feelings.
  6. 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.
  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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.  

Metastasis Turmoil – Help on Dealing With It

Metastasis Turmoil Help on Dealing With It
Photo courtesy of rgbstock.com and xymonau

One of the hardest things to deal with as a cancer patient is when metastasis occurs – the spread of the disease from one part of your body to another.  Despite your best efforts.  Despite the best efforts of your doctors.  Here’s some help on dealing with it.

I’ve spent a lot of years reading, researching, getting everything in my hands that I could on this subject.  I’m still no expert, but over the years I’ve talked to a lot of survivors, read a lot of books and in this post I will put the best information I’ve found thus far.

Powerful Meditation

In his book “You Can Conquer Cancer” by Dr Ian Gawler (one of Australia’s most experienced and respected authorities on mind-body medicine and meditation), says this about meditation:

“Meditation is:

  • the single most powerful tool to aid recovery from disease
  • relieves physical tension
  • reactivates the immune system
  • allows development of emotional and mental poise
  • generates a positive attitude
  • leads to a heightened level of well-being.”

When in a state of stillness from meditation, your body has a better chance to return to its natural state of balance.  When you practice meditation regularly, that state of balance persists with you throughout the day.

This Part is Really Important!

Dr Gawler states: “Meditation increases quality of life and quantity of life.  People who do it feel better and live longer.”  Dr Gawler recommends that if you’re looking for QUALITY of life, spend 10-20 minutes 3 times daily with your meditation.  If you’re looking for QUANTITY of life, spend 60 minutes 3 times daily meditating.

I have a very good friend in Australia who was diagnosed with an incurable form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma.  His doctors sent him home to die, telling him to get his affairs in order.  He did that, but he also totally changed his life.  He stopped smoking, quit his stressful job, started eating organic foods and juicing, and followed Ian Gawler’s suggestions.  He meditated 3 hours total per day.  That was 15 years ago and he’s in total remission from a supposedly incurable disease.

I have created, just for you, a white light meditation available for a free download from this site, CLICK HERE.  I hope you enjoy it and that it helps to ignite your inner healer.  I also have a downloadable how-to-meditate course which I designed specifically for cancer patients.

Don’t Bury Toxic Emotions

According to Katrina Ellis in “Shattering the Cancer Myth“, the “most significant way of weakening your body’s immune system is through depressed emotions.  Emotions of sadness, loss, abandonment, grief, fear, depression and hurt.”  If YOU are going through cancer and can relate to this, I would strongly suggest you get some counseling.  Deal with these emotions, please don’t bury them.

It Helps to Get Mad!

Dr Bernie Siegel in “Love, Medicine & Miracles” reports that “…psychologist Sandra Levy has shown that seriously ill breast cancer patients who expressed high levels of depression, anxiety, and hostility survived longer than those who showed little distress.”  Aggressive patients apparently tend to have more killer T cells (part of your immune system) than docile patients!  I found that very interesting.

Wisdom from the Dalai Lama

When you’re actively battling cancer and metastases, you MUST put yourself first.  According to the Dalai Lama in his book “The Art of Happiness“, it helps to “frame any decision we face by asking ourselves ‘WILL IT BRING ME HAPPINESS?’  This underlying sense of moving toward happiness can have a very profound effect, it makes us more receptive, more open, to the joy of living.”

The Power of Prayer

Whether you pray for yourself or get your friends to pray for you (hopefully both), the power of prayer should not be underestimated.  I’ll tell you a quick story.  I once knew a woman who was involved in a rather serious car crash involving 3 cars.  She was in the 3rd car, and the car ahead of her had been seriously damaged in both the front and the back.  She began to pray for the young woman in the second car and kept it up until the ambulance came and they took the young woman to the hospital.  My friend hadn’t been injured and went home and went about her life.  Several weeks later, a young woman came to her door.  She apologized for the intrusion and said that she got her address from the police report records.  She said “I just want to thank you so much.”  When my friend looked at her quizzically, she said “When we were involved in that accident, I think I left my body.  I was near death, and I was hovering over the whole scene.  I could see this amazing white light coming out of your car and enveloping me and keeping me safe and I realized you were praying for me.  I could hear your words.  I think you saved me.”

Pretty powerful stuff.  Get involved in prayer circles with your friends.  They’ll want to know how they can help you.

The Gift of Living in the Moment

A very helpful (and wise) friend once said to me, when I was stressing about whether or not I was going to survive breast cancer, “You know, Marnie, the best thing you can do for yourself is learn to live in the moment.  Right now is all we have.  Try not to worry about what’s in front of you or what’s behind you.  Just be happy in this moment.”

That turned out to be the best advice anyone could have given me at the time.  I took it on board and did my best (and still do) to just live in the moment.  Because 90% of the time, the present moment – if you give yourself up to it and really take in everything – is pretty perfect.

I wish you much healing in your journey.

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

Stress Driving You Crazy? Meditation Offers a Calming Solution

stress driving you crazy meditation offers a calming solution
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net & adamr

If Stress Is Driving YOU Crazy,,,

First of all, take a deep breath.  Now, keep reading.

Anyone going through a prolonged period of stress will tell you it’s no fun.  Whether it be job related or due to a relationship, illness or even just one very bad day, stress can create situations you just want (and need) to get out of.

The problem with prolonged stress is that it can wreck your health.  High blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attack, cardiac arrhythmia, immune related disorders, asthma, ulcers, digestive disorders, migraines, backaches, even cancer can all be related to unmitigated stress.

For myself, a prolonged period of poorly managed stress led to my breast cancer diagnosis.  I’m not saying that stress caused my cancer, because I know that’s not true.  But I’m positive that it undermined my immune system and probably helped to open the door.

Meditation Offers a Calming Solution.

Take heart – meditation offers a calming solution.

Buddhism tells us that we can’t change what happens to us, we can only change how we react to it.

By meditating only when you feel stressed – well at least you’re finding a way to cope with the stress and that’s a wonderful start.  By meditating each and every day, however, you are finding ways to train your brain so that when stressful things occur, you actually can change the way you react to it and the outcome of the stress can be quite different.

I have recently heard that kindergarten children are being taught how to meditate now and I think that’s absolutely fantastic.  But more than anything else meditation is being used as a personal growth device these days—for instilling a more positive attitude into our lives.

Learning meditation was one of the best things I did for myself when going through breast cancer.  It helped me cope during those times when I wasn’t coping well, it helped me through all of the medical tests and chemotherapy.  It’s a very powerful thing to do for yourself.  Just Google the words “meditation benefits” and you’ll get all the information on this subject you’re ever likely to need!

Update 2/4/2013   Because of the fact that so many of my subscribers live in areas that do not offer meditation classes, I have put together my own meditation course for you.  Here is more information about it.  You can also join my new Facebook page on meditation (search for “Change Your Life Meditation”).

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).  When you’re in a desperate situation, you need an ally.  You can depend on me to help you through this.

 

About Cancer and Emotions: Regret Lowers Your Immunity

 

About Cancer and Emotions Regret Lowers Your Immunity
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and graur razvan ionut

About Cancer and Emotions: Regret Lowers Your Immunity

The Huffington Post today added to our knowledge base about cancer and emotions and how interrelated they are.

According to a study done by Montreal’s Concordia University, the distressing feelings that come with experiencing regret can have a negative impact on your immune system.

Not too surprising!  For myself, prior to my breast cancer diagnosis, I was all too aware that I was under a super-abundance of stress and not handling it well at all.  Negative emotions like worry, fear, unremitting anger, an inability to forgive someone – quite simply, they are all toxic.

Experienced for long enough they can depress your immune system, the very thing you need to keep disease at bay or overcome it.

What to do about it?  Well, quite simply you have to do what works for you.  According to livescience.com, if you are able to get in touch with your emotions (name them), you can tame them, according to new research that covers the benefits of meditation and may help to discover why meditation works.

“Brain scans show that putting negative emotions into words calms the brain’s emotion center. That could explain meditation’s purported emotional benefits, because people who meditate often label their negative emotions in an effort to ‘let them go.’  Psychologists have long believed that people who talk about their feelings have more control over them, but they don’t know why it works.”

So you must do what works for you, whether it be talking with your psychiatrist, your best friend, or spending some time in reflective meditation.  Don’t know how to meditate?  Want some help?  I’ve created a downloadable how-to-meditate course specifically for cancer patients.

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.

8 Crucial Things to Reduce Chemotherapy Side Effects

8 Crucial Things to Reduce Chemotherapy Side Effects
Image Source: freedigitalphotos.net / creativedoxfoto

8 Crucial Things to Reduce Chemotherapy Side Effects

Anyone going through chemotherapy will know that there is a diverse range of side effects, ranging from mild to severe, and some are quite disruptive to your quality of life, hence today’s article.

I went through breast cancer in 2004 and although I initially chose not to have chemotherapy, a few things factored into my decision and led me to believe it would be beneficial for me so I went through 6 months of various chemotherapy drugs.  I have to say that the anti-nausea pills that are prescribed these days do a remarkably good job. I never once vomited during the entire 6 months of my chemotherapy regimen – that really surprised me!  I managed to stay incredibly well during the entire process and I’d like to share my list of the things that helped me the most.

Quite possibly you may have different results but if even only one thing on the list helps you, I’ll be happy with that result!

Here’s my list of the 8 crucial things that helped me reduce chemotherapy side effects:

1.  Meditation & Positive Thinking – the first thing I had to do was to quit thinking about the chemotherapy in a negative light – like it was something to be scared of.  I worked hard on this and managed to come up with a meditation that I would do each time I sat down for the treatment (if you’d like to sign up for my newsletters, I’ll share the exact meditation I did with you).  I envisioned the drugs entering my system as being a healing golden or white light (use a color that works for you personally) that moved through my entire body and eradicated any little weakling of a cancer cell (also important to think of the cancer cells as weak and easily overcome by the chemotherapy).  This was a very calming thing to do and helped with anxiety.

2. Juicing of Organic Fruit & Vegetables – I juiced in the morning before my chemotherapy appointments (and every morning afterward too) and took the juice with me in a stainless steel thermos.  I sipped it once I’d finished my meditation.  My favorite was a combination of carrot, beet (a potent anti-cancer veggie), apple and ginger.  Fresh ginger helps a lot with nausea and adds a spicy zest to the juice.  You don’t need too much, just about a 1″ knob of it.  I juiced every morning – for more information on the best things to juice, go to my page Diet and Cancer

3.  Supplementation – Certain supplements can actually increase the effectiveness of your chemotherapy, reduce the toxicity of it and help you to sail through chemotherapy without too much trouble. Contact me if you’d like a list of them.

4. Yoga and Walking – it is so important to keep moving!  If you’re tired, just slow down and do what you can.  Movement therapy helps you to detox, it helps your state of mind, it even helps constipation.

5.  Acupuncture   Believe it or not, acupuncture can help to reduce the side effects and toxicity of the chemotherapy. It can also help to reduce the chances of suffering with chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). If you begin your course of acupuncture at around the same time as you commence chemotherapy, it has the absolute best protective effect for your nerves.

6. The Power of Prayer – don’t underestimate this!  Tell your friends when you’re going for each dose of chemotherapy and have them spend 5 minutes actively saying a prayer for you to coincide with your appointment time.  You will be amazed at how uplifted you feel.  Powerful stuff.  I did this prior to surgery too.

7.  Laughter – I had a best friend who’d take along some kind of gag gift or joke book or something silly – she’d get the whole place chuckling.  Laughter is good medicine!

8. Massage or Reiki – get some bodywork regularly.  It makes a huge difference to how you feel when going through chemotherapy.

The combination of these 8 things got me through 6 months of chemotherapy with a minimum of side effects and problems.  I hope this helps you!

If you’d like to receive my best tips on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences, sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, and/or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey.

How Crucial is Meditation When You’re Going Through Breast Cancer?

 

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.com and dan
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.com and dan

How Crucial Is Meditation When You’re Going Through Breast Cancer?

I believe meditation to be one of the very best and most important things you can do for yourself when you’re going through breast cancer.

I also feel it’s important to help reduce your risk of cancer.

It can also be one of the hardest things to learn.  It takes patience and often, classes you might not have time for.  I would strongly advise making time for meditation though – its benefits are far-reaching.  It can often mean the difference between being cool, calm and collected and being a raving maniac (and who wants that?).  It can help you to feel more in control of your thoughts, feelings and fears, it can assist you through all of the associated cancer treatments, it really is that important.

Dr Bernie Siegel’s Thoughts on Meditation

I’ve borrowed this excerpt from “Love, Medicine & Miracles” by Dr Bernie Siegel about meditation:  “I know of no other single activity that by itself can produce such a great improvement in the quality of life.”  He goes on to list the physical benefits: lowering or normalization of blood pressure, pulse rate and levels of stress hormones in the blood; less excitable brain-wave patterns; increase in pain threshold; an improvement in white blood cell response and hormone response to physical stress. 

In fact, meditation offers over 100 benefits to the meditator – just Google the words “meditation benefits” and you’ll see many articles on the subject.

Get Some Control Back

Everything that happens to a cancer patient can make you feel so out of control, like your life really isn’t yours (it seems to belong to your doctors!), and all the tests and treatment can have a very draining effect.  Meditation is one of the best things I did for myself that helped me through it all, and it has assisted many others.  I really believe it will help you too.

To get you started, I’ve created a downloadable how-to-meditate course specifically for cancer patients.  It is my honor to help you through this.

Not sure?  Check out my Testimonials page to see what others thought about my information.

 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.

Do You Believe Overwhelming Stress and Breast Cancer are Linked?

do you believe overwhelming stress and breast cancer are linked
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and m bartosch

Is there a link between stress and breast cancer?

While I’m not an expert, I definitely do believe that there’s a link between stress and breast cancer.

In the cancer support group which I co-led, 90% of the members agreed that unrelenting stress led up to their cancer diagnosis and that was certainly the case for me as well.  When I am contacted for breast cancer coaching, it’s always one of the first questions I ask – What do you feel led up to your diagnosis of breast cancer?  99% of my people agree that prolonged periods of stress were experienced in the lead-up to their cancer diagnosis.

There is a reason for that – stress undermines the immune system.

April is National Stress Awareness Month, so this is as good a time as any to talk about it.  The Huffington Post had a good article about this today with some good (and quick) slides demonstrating 7 Ways to De-Stress.  I loved this article because it was to the point, there were pictures (and we always seem to learn better with visual aids!) and you won’t get stressed about how long it takes to read it!

I know this is a short post, but read the Huffington Post article and start to get the stress out of your life.  I believe that’s absolutely crucial.  You might also like my recent article about meditation.  I found learning meditation to be absolutely crucial to my recovery – meditation has so many benefits (literally hundreds!), I can’t recommend it highly enough.

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).  When you’re in a desperate situation, you need an ally.  You can depend on me to help you through this.