Emotional Healing after Cancer
Going through cancer treatment is not just physical, but emotional as well. The myriad of emotions you feel from the day you receive your diagnosis all the way through your treatment and beyond can be overwhelming.
The connection between emotions and disease has been known for thousands of years in cultures all around the world. In the Bible, Proverbs 17:22-23 says: “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) acknowledges the “7 Emotions” that are thought to have a direct correspondence to disease states. Never underestimate the power of emotions!
So what can you do with all these emotions?
You are a human being and these emotions are “ok” to feel with what you are going through. On the other side of your cancer treatments, you can choose to incorporate some of these ideas to move past the fear, doubt, worry, and anger that you might feel from having cancer.
The late Candace Pert, author of Molecules of Emotion and one of the pioneers of psychoneuroimmunology, states:
…the chemicals that are running our body and our brain are the same chemicals that are involved in emotion.”
There is a physical side to your emotions. When a thought triggers an emotion, neuropeptides transmit those feelings through neuropathways and extracellular fluid. Eventually, these peptides will connect with cellular receptors throughout the body where they will have an impact on the functioning of body systems at all levels. A fun documentary that gives you a visual of this is “What the BLEEP Do We Know!?”.
The number one thing that you will want to focus on is stress. This whole ordeal has been stressful! Clearing emotions and managing stress go hand in hand. Before you can truly clear emotions, you must learn how to manage stress in order to get cortisol levels down. Remember, there is a direct and proven correlation between chronically high cortisol levels (i.e., chronic stress) and cancer.
8 Tips to Restore Emotional Balance.
- Reflect on what are your top stressors in your life. Write these down. Once you can “see” them, decide which one you want to work on first. If it’s “fear thoughts” that stress you out consider some of the suggestions below. If it’s finances, relationships, physical discomfort, or anything else, pick your #1 “stressor” and write down one action step you can take to resolve the stress.
- Consider EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). This is a tried and true at-home “tapping” technique that you can do multiple times per day. You can easily find out how to do this by searching YouTube for a video.
- Exercise is proven to lower depression far better than medication. No matter how little you do, it helps! You may have to start with walking, but never underestimate the power of a 30-minute walk!
- Acupuncture is a powerful technique for healing the body and mind. Many acupuncturists are also Chinese Medicine doctors with a wealth of knowledge on using herbs to heal the body and the mind.
- What you eat affects the mind. Chemotherapy and radiation cause tremendous damage to your “physical” body. Start on a gentle detox to support the body to remove toxins that may be causing inflammation in your gut, which in turn affects the brain. Here is an article with some tips on detoxing.
- Journaling, prayer, and meditation give you a chance to get into a “parasympathetic” nervous system mode. When your body is in parasympathetic mode, it can rest, digest and heal.
- Deep breathing will also move you from sympathetic (fight or flee), to the parasympathetic nervous system mode. Look up “box breathing” on YouTube for some ideas.
- Don’t try and restore your emotions all by yourself! It’s not the time to be a warrior, it’s time to allow others to help you. Study after study has shown that those who have the support of a caring group of loved ones have a better chance of coming out of a cancer diagnosis than those who “go it alone.” It’s ok to seek out a qualified counselor as well!
Give yourself some time and grace. When my husband went through cancer treatments (for two years) it took us going to counseling as a couple, using techniques and tools for stress, and time, to help him deal with all the emotions that a cancer diagnosis and treatment can bring.
Alongside your healing journey,
About the Author: Chris McKee
Chris McKee is a Certified Nutritionist and Certified Diet Counselor with over 30 years of experience in whole-food cooking, healthy lifestyle coaching, individual nutritional counseling and speaking to 1,000’s of people about the role of good nutrition in preventing disease.
Chris is also a Certified Nutragenomix practitioner and this allows her to look deep into your genetic profile and personalize your nutrition program based on your unique genetic fingerprint.
She runs on-line courses including her 10 Day Clean Eating Challenge, 21 Days Prepping for the Keto Diet as well as her Hope 4 Cancer Recovery program.
Chris and her husband Ed love to travel, hence the name “The Nomadic Nutritionist”. She is a grandmother of four and a great-grandma of two! She loves to cook, explore new food finds, hike and fish.
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