We’re all familiar with Plato and his quotes so I’d like to share one – For the part can never be well unless the whole is well. The body, mind and spirit are intertwined like a rope. They all work together to provide strength and flexibility. In this case… optimal health and well-being.
We are whole beings and we’re vulnerable to stress whether it’s emotional, physical, environmental or psychological. Even the pure act of fearing a disease can cause stress on the body. So just imagine the stress experienced if someone receives a diagnosis of cancer. Fear and worry don’t serve us so we should just let it go, right? That’s easier said than done.
Research has continued to reveal the relationship of stress as it relates to health and disease. It has been shown to influence headaches, high blood pressure, stomach ulcers, insomnia and more. There are many statistics out there, but most research supports that between 50 – 80% of all disease is stress-related. It’s finding that harmony of body, mind, purpose in addition to lifestyle (and don’t forget self-care).
So let’s look at the physical reaction of stress – the classic “fight or flight” response. An unexpected, startling incident occurs and our heart rate elevates, pupils dilate, sugar is released into the bloodstream…just to name a few things. This continued buildup of stress and tension that we often have in modern society is not released and simply bottled up. This can lead to health concerns. Scientific evidence is now showing that chronic stress can lower our immune system and make us more vulnerable to sicknesses, in general, including cancer. Just as this chain of events is present, a domino effect can happen in the other direction. If there is a diagnosis, stress becomes part of our body, mind and spirit and interferes with recovery. Our bodies are designed to heal and cultivate equilibrium. We need to give it what it needs and this includes releasing stress and negative emotions.
Let’s look at our emotional stressors. How many times have you talked yourself into fearing something or believing that things are worse than they really are? Our minds want to run the show and we often let that happen especially when our health or the health of a loved one is involved. When I teach mindfulness, I always go back to the analogy of sailing a boat. It’s not the direction of the wind that determines our journey…it’s how we angle our boat and set our sails. It’s our attitude.
The literature suggests that emotions play a positive role as it relates to cancer remission. Just think of a time when you had a negative attitude. Your body probably took a hit. That’s where the phrase “worried sick” came from. If someone is diagnosed with cancer or another disease or label, it can negatively impact recovery if they allow it to happen. Think of the opposite impact. An attitude of hope, positivity and determination can lead to positive outcomes and calm and peace within. We are our beliefs, our inner workings.
What can you do to find and nurture positivity? Here are 7 tips…one for each day of the week or rather do them all every day!
1. An attitude of grace and gratitude – every night as you go to bed, write down three things that you are grateful for.
2. Take time to find the beauty in nature.
3. Give thanks to your body and forgive it if you feel it has let you down.
4. Release blame and guilt. Our emotions pull us down so elevate yourself.
5. Breathe! Take time for yourself to simply take deep breaths and check in to see how your body feels and invite the breath into tension, stress and/or pain.
6. Tell someone that you love them and tell yourself too.
7. Let go of what isn’t serving you!
Think happy, joyful and positive thoughts and smile often!