Fighting Breast Cancer: 10 Tips for Managing Stress and Cultivating Resilience

October 7, 2017

1. Name it…and 2.. Shake it Off - Identifying and labeling specific thoughts, beliefs, and emotions helps to decrease negative effects on our overall health and well-being.Once you are aware of distressing thoughts or emotions…let them go!Thoughts and emotions are temporary and separate from us; they do not have to define our experiences.

 

3. Laugh! - Finding humor in the mundane - and the horrible – is a gift.Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the “feel good chemicals” in the brain and has numerous benefits for mental and physical health.Laughing is contagious, it helps bring people together, and it is really fun!!Balance laughter with time and energy spent processing emotional reactions.Remember “laughter is the best medicine”!

 

4. Unleash your creative juices! - Channeling your energy into creative activities can aid in exploring, identifying, and processing your reactions to life circumstances.Stepping back to admire your creation brings about a sense of accomplishment and achievement, in any form - whether it is free writing, poetry, visual art, baked goods, jewelry, etc.

 

5. Devise a plan…and Work it! - Health-related distress can cause a sense of helplessness/powerlessness.Outlining plans to work on small, manageable goals allows us to take back power and achieve a sense of control when feeling otherwise out-of-control.

 

6. Indulge Your Fancies! Take pleasure in daily activities whenever possible.Give yourself a break – emotionally and physically – when that seems challenging.Engage in activities that are pleasurable to you- treat yourself to a brownie sundae or a mani/pedi…a massage…a facial…buy a new pair of shoes!

 

7. Engage Your Support System! - Relying on others for help can sometimes add to stress.However, friends and family members want to help and sometimes do not know how to do so.Ask for what you need specifically, no matter what it is…a hug, a meal, help with responsibilities…even if you simply need some space.Let go of guilt or self-judgment about needing support and accepting it.

 

8. Voice Expressions of Hope, Gratitude, and Self-Compassion! - Talking about, writing about, expressing even one item a day related to a sense of hope, a piece of gratitude, a positive and encouraging belief about the self can decrease stress and enhance opportunity for joy.

 

9. Breathe!Oftentimes, feelings of fear, sadness, frustration, anger, hopelessness, helplessness, exhaustion lead us to hold our breath.Emotional pain can increase physical pain and discomfort.Engaging in deep breathing, relaxation, meditation exercises can help in efforts to achieve balance of mind/body and to manage stress more effectively.

 

10. Fight…Like A Girl!!! - Enough Said!!!

 

Join me on November 5, 2017 at 7:30pm EST for an interactive presentation on effectively managing stress and building resilience throughout treatment, recovery, and beyond. 

This presentation will feature a conversation with a breast cancer survivor and will include practical information for cancer fighters, survivors, and the supporters in their corner!

LIKE Dr.Lyz’s page on Facebook and Tune in LIVE on Facebook on Sunday, November 5 at 7:30pm EST or View the video at your convenience.

 

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Select photos by Genevieve M. deBoer.