How to Cope with the Anxiety of a Breast Cancer Diagnosis

For those who have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and are suffering from anxiety – fear – hopelessness – whatever you’re feeling, I created this video, How to Cope with the Anxiety of a Breast Cancer Diagnosis, for you.

It’s just a little over 3 minutes long – please listen right through to the end because I share some important information throughout the video. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave your comment either on this website or underneath the YouTube video, and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.

GET MY BEST TIPS on healthy ways to beat breast cancer and prevent recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters. 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.

The Fear of Dying – Changing the Mindset

https://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,  I have a how-to course that will teach you what works best, along with some great guided meditations that will help you. You can access it here.

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 Kickstart The Healing Process

Image source: rgbstock.com / Jana Koll

Image source: rgbstock.com / Jana Koll

HOW TO KICKSTART THE HEALING PROCESS

Normally quite proficient at healing itself, the human body is extremely adept at knowing exactly what to do.  It has plenty of self-healing mechanisms in place, most of which occur without our conscious awareness.  Healing generally take place quite naturally.

There are times, however, when our minds and ideas can interfere with the process of healing, and if you find yourself in this situation, or suspect you might be, I hope you will find some tips within this article to be helpful.

We have long known of the brain’s capacity to heal the body, we have all heard the stories about people who healed themselves without the use of modern medicine and, conversely, we all know or have heard of people whose brains seem to be their own worst enemies.  Somewhere in between these two extremes is where most of us dwell.

There comes a time in just about everyone’s life when an illness, a frailty, a condition of some sort hits us and just doesn’t seem to want to go away.  People who would normally heal up quickly and go on about their business instead end up struggling with it, being sicker far longer than expected, or suffer recurrences of the illness.  It is the subject of much research, many books, and much consternation.

I don’t claim to have all the answers, far from it.  I can but offer some gentle guidance, some ideas about why healing doesn’t happen, and some things to help get the healing process underway.  Over the years I have observed quite a lot about healing – and not healing.  I’ve made it my life’s work, read countless books and research about healing, experienced healing – and not healing – within my own body and those of friends, family members and my coaching clients.  There is much to know about healing and this article will scarcely scratch the surface but it might get you pointed in the right direction.

A Bad Attitude Can Stop Healing

Of course, this isn’t always the case, there are many aspects of not healing that do not involve a bad attitude.  But when all of those things have been accounted for and worked with and healing still has not occurred, please consider this.

There are certain attitudes and thoughts that can stop the healing process.  I would invite you to begin to notice your thoughts and feelings.  Are you worrying incessantly over something?  Holding a grudge?  Mad at someone you can’t forgive?  Do you find yourself complaining a lot?  Do you actually believe that you can heal, or are you expecting the doctors, some new wonder drug, or someone else to heal you?  Perhaps you have an idea that you are not worthy of healing.  All of this can create an inner resistance which can be interfering with your healing process.

Recognizing that resistance can be difficult, it requires you to sit still and ponder.  It can be a painful process.  You must pay close attention to your thoughts and feelings, and some of those thoughts can be so automatic you might not even realize you are thinking them until you start to pay attention and poke around amongst them.

In the book “Power vs Force” by Dr David R Hawkins we are told “In every studied case of recovery from hopeless and untreatable disease, there has been a major shift in consciousness, so that the attractor patterns that resulted in the pathologic process no longer dominated.”  What he means by attractor patterns is well-described in the law of attraction – that which you put out you also attract back to yourself.   Dr Hawkins makes the point that every studied case of recovery from hopeless and untreatable disease seemed to require a major shift in consciousness.

Wayne Dyer also discusses attractor patterns in his book “The Power of Intention”.  Dr Dyer says that we are told that our Source (whether you consider that to be God, Krishna, the Universe – whatever your beliefs are) “is never focused on what’s wrong, what’s missing, or what’s sickly.  True healing takes you back to the Source.  Anything short of this connection is a temporary fix.  When you clean up the connecting link to your Source, attractor patterns of energy are drawn to you.  If you don’t believe this is possible, then you’ve created resistance to your intention to heal and be healed.  If you believe that it is possible, but not for you, then you have more resistance. If you believe you’re being punished by the absence of health, that’s also resistance.”

The Quality Of Your Thoughts Play A Role In Your Ability To Heal

Your inner thoughts about your ability to heal – and many other aspects of your life – play a huge role in your physical health, and therefore your mental health. We are a body/mind integration.  Obviously I am not minimizing the role that a healthy balanced diet, exercise, supplementation, etc plays in your ability to heal yourself.  But your mind probably has the biggest role to play and  is the aspect most often neglected.

People will go scurrying off in search of some new miracle supplement, superfood, or exercise craze ten times faster than they will sit down and analyze their thoughts and emotional health.  It’s not easy and we tend to shy away from the thing that makes us uncomfortable.  But I encourage you to do just that because it will probably make the biggest difference with your health and ability to heal.

Here are my best tips gathered over 25 years of personal research in healing.

1.  Eradicate Fear.  You must let go of any fear that permeates your mind.  When you are ill, fear is often promulgated by the health care industry (think of those oncologists telling us what percentage of chance we can expect of having a recurrence if their advice is not followed to the letter).  Our Source has no fear within it, only love, peace and perfection.  A mind held by too much fear tells us that something is amiss within that mind, and it is creating resistance to healing.  Examine any fear, look it straight in the eyes and acknowledge it, thank it for the lesson, and then let it go.  There are many therapies like Emotional Freedom Technique and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that will help you do this.  Go and see a qualified health professional like a psychiatrist if you need to.  Talk to your close friends about the fear.  See your pastor, do whatever you need to do, but tackle that fear.

2.  Deal With Negative Emotions.  In the above paragraph, I used the word “fear”.  But other negative states of mind can stop healing as well, such as grief, anger, being in a state of unforgiveness toward someone who has hurt you, any feeling or emotion that feels negative to you.  Tackle them, one at a time.  Get rid of them, banish them from your life.  They are holding you back, sucking your life’s energy, keeping you from being whole, healthy and happy.  Do whatever you need to do, get the assistance you need, so that you can let these feelings go and begin to heal.

3.  Heal Negative Thoughts and Words.  Pay close attention to your thoughts and words.  If you catch yourself feeling negative, thinking negative things and saying negative things, stop yourself and counter them with something more positive.  If you are asked by a friend to share or discuss something about which you can only feel negative, simply thank them for their concern, and tell them you are no longer talking about that, you are having a break from it and change the subject.  Highly recommended because what you pay attention to and talk about is given energy and grows, so let that be something good.  I love this quote by Will.I.Am “I’m ignoring my problems and paying attention to my dreams.”  Smart man.  Healing your inner thoughts and words is well worth the effort because in so doing, you are removing resistance and doubt, and you are letting the cells of your body hear another story.  Have faith that healing can take place.  Expect it, intend it.  Know it like you have known nothing else in your life that you CAN AND ARE HEALING.  The cells of your body hear your thoughts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and do their bidding.  Send only healing messages, put together a healing affirmation or two, memorize the words and repeat them to yourself a thousand times per day if you need to.  Know that miracles are always possible.  Become a magnet for miracles!

4.  Ask For Help.  Ask for assistance from your Source with your healing process.  Hand your burden over to your Source, ask for guidance, ask for the right people to show up in your life to assist you on your healing path.  One of my favorite quotations from Wayne Dyer is this: “Put your mind and body in a peaceful place and allow the Universe to work in the best way it knows how.”  Then get out of the way and allow it to happen, without fear, without resistance.

5.  Raise Your Vibration, or your positive energy.  I know that sounds weird to some but we are energy bodies, made up of energy vibrating at different frequencies.  In illness our vibration is quite low, so it is imperative to learn what things you can do to increase it.  I share some really good tips on the best ways to raise your vibration in my article Offering Hope To Those With Metastatic Cancers – Raise Your Vibration.

I have a feeling that this article will be one to which I am continually adding new information, so pay it a visit once in awhile.  In the meantime, if I can assist you, please contact me.

References:

Power vs Force by Dr David R Hawkins

Healers on Healing, edited by Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield

The Power of Intention by Dr Wayne W Dyer

Why People Don’t Heal And How They Can by Carolyn Myss

One last quote:
“Something we were withholding made us weak
Until we found it was ourselves.” – Robert Frost

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 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 (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.

The Power Of The Mind Heals – Give It 100

Photo courtesy of Lusi / rgbstock.com

Photo courtesy of Lusi / rgbstock.com

The Power Of The Mind Heals – Give It 100

As a breast cancer coach I speak nearly daily with women who worry about whether or not they will survive this disease.  Understandable worries.  We speak of many things, such as nutrition, exercise, super foods, etc., and all of these things are important.  But of equal importance is the power of the mind to heal.

Faith, Belief, Hope

I had those same worries ten years ago when I was going through breast cancer.  Back then the Internet wasn’t such a valuable resource, nothing like it is now.  I had heard that we can harness the power of the mind to heal ourselves, and I had read about it in Ian Gawler’s books “You Can Conquer Cancer” and “The Creative Power of Imagery”.  But reading about something and putting it into practice are two very different things.  It requires a lot of faith and belief in what you are doing.  Not to mention hope…

It can be very scary, especially when you decide to go your own way, and against your doctor’s recommendations (I said yes to chemotherapy – eventually – but no to radiation and Tamoxifen, and I am daily in contact with many others doing the same).  But I decided I had nothing to lose and so I went in search of meditation teachers who could show me how to use the power of the mind to heal myself.

What I learned was that our powerful brain allows us to transcend our present reality, providing the power to open us up so that we may create new possibilities for ourselves.
 
Upworthy Video Inspires

I was thinking about this just this morning when I came across the most inspiring video on www.upworthy.com.  The headline read “They Said She Was Paralyzed, And She Couldn’t Afford Her Recovery, Then A Dancer Changed It All“.  Click the link to watch the video.

The dancer in the headline, Karen, didn’t know how to dance but challenged herself to learn it in a year and filmed 10 seconds per day of her progression.  Cynthia, the paralyzed woman, found Karen’s videos and decided that since she couldn’t afford the treatment to get better, she would simply challenge herself each day to keep going, to do a little more and then a little more, and soon she was walking!

I noticed at one point in the film she was also using meditation – it appears at about the 1:07 mark in the video.

I just wanted to share this with you today because it illustrates how powerful we are once we set our minds to doing something.  It can be something small like learning how to draw, or something huge like healing cancer.

But we can do it.  The power of the mind is truly awesome and we only use a small percentage of our big, powerful brains.

Would you like to challenge yourself?  There is a Give It 100 movement you can join – find out more about that here.

If that doesn’t appeal, I have a downloadable course called Change Your Life Meditation Course which explains how the power of the mind works and how you can create some healing for yourself.  I created it for people who live in small towns and don’t have access to meditation groups but anyone can benefit from it.

Thanks to Upworthy.com for the inspiring video, and to Give It 100 for encouraging people to try new things!

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 and e-book on the right, and/or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com).  It is my honor and my goal to help you through this so that you emerge from breast cancer feeling better than before, thriving!

The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional.  You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem and please be sure to consult your health care professional when making decisions about your health.

Study Reports Oncologists Grieve Too

https://marnieclark.com/Oncologists-Grieve-Too-Study-ReportsStudy Reports Oncologists Grieve Too

I know this post is not strictly about breast cancer, but since most of us will have at least one encounter with an oncologist – and sometimes many encounters – I thought it might help to share a little about what they go through, professionally and personally, when they lose a patient.  Indeed, oncologists probably suffer more patient losses than any other field of medicine, such is the nature of cancer.

Also, we are more than likely on this journey to encounter the death of a close personal friend or family member to cancer, so I have listed some books at the end of this article which may assist you with dealing with loss.

Last year the JAMA Internal Medicine website released the results of a study: Nature and Impact of Grief Over Patient Loss on Oncologists’ Personal and Professional Lives

I believe that most of us tend to think that oncologists are somewhat unfeeling, that they go from patient to patient, making recommendations and doing their best to help them regain health, and that they have somehow found a way not to be affected by it all.  Perhaps understanding the issues of grief and burnout can help us to be more compassionate with the way some oncologists and other health professionals behave.

I found this article to be vastly interesting and quite touching and it helped me to remember that oncologists are feeling people too.  The article mentioned that more than half of oncologists and a third of trainees experience burnout and that the impact of patient loss on their lives was “a unique affective experience that had a smoke-like qualityLike smoke, this grief was intangible and invisible. Nonetheless, it was pervasive, sticking to the physicians’ clothes when they went home after work and slipping under the doors between patient rooms.

Very eloquently stated, I don’t believe I’ve ever read such language in a research study.

One troubling thing I read, however, was that apparently many oncologists frequently failed to deal appropriately with grief after their patients died.  One oncologist noted: “I’m up to the point where I probably lose one or two patients a week minimum … it’s a physical sensation of being ground away … it takes me a long time to recover from that.”

Grief Management Necessary For Residents, Oncologists
It was proposed that education on how to manage grief, beginning during residency, would be one way to ease the negative impact of losing patients.  “Ongoing study and development of optimized coping strategies for oncologists” is needed, they argued.

I know that for myself personally, having worked with people affected by cancer over the years – my mother, a close personal friend, and several of my subscribers – I had little to no experience of death or dying.  It took me a long time to work through my grief surrounding their deaths, so I can only imagine what oncologists go through, losing so many people that they have cared for and cared about.

I would like to recommend several resources which helped me greatly:

1.  “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying” by Sogyal Rinpoche

2. “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying” by Bronnie Ware

3.  “On Death and Dying” by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

These 3 books helped me to understand so much about the process of death, about grief, about living well and dying well.

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 and e-book on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com).  It is my honor and my goal to help you through this so that you emerge from breast cancer feeling better than before, thriving!

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