Whether it is stress that causes cancer, or cancer that causes stress, remains up for debate, dear sisters. What matters the most is that periods of prolonged stress takes a toll on our bodies. Research also clearly states that finding ways to reduce stress is going to help you heal after cancer and also prevent cancer.
Dr. Susan Silberstein, founder of the Center for Advancement in Cancer Education and Educational Director, wrote the excellent e-book: “Breast Cancer: Is it What You’re Eating or What’s Eating You?”
In the book, Dr. Silberstein discusses the significant role stress plays in breast cancer occurrences. In my own work with women with breast cancer, I have often noticed many have suffered a major loss in the last several years prior to their diagnosis. This loss contributes to the stress in their lives, whether it is from the death of someone close to them, or a job loss, a divorce, a miscarriage or infertility, and so on.
While we can’t always prevent these types of losses from occurring in our lives, there are things we can do to help us deal with the loss rather than burying the pain or disappointment in our bodies and souls. It is natural to grieve our losses, large and small, and that is the healthiest thing to do. Giving yourself time to grieve, journaling about your feelings, and talking with a counselor or someone at your church also helps. I have talked with many women who have benefited from a grief support group.
Recommendations for easing stress:
-Keep the lines of communication open with another caring person who listens to you in a non-judgmental way.
-Seek emotional support so that you don’t feel isolated. This could include counseling, a support group, or books that validate your feelings of loss, and help you cope.
-Learn a stress reduction technique such as breathing and prayer to use when you are feeling stressed.
-Avoid excessive intake of caffeine and other stimulants.
-Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and healthy carbohydrates, such as whole grain breads.
-Exercise regularly to release physical tension.
Deep Breathing and Stress Reduction
A certain type of deep breathing can relax you, and also help put you to sleep. You begin by putting one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. As you breathe in deeply through your nose, your stomach should stick out a bit. Feel the air moving into your lungs and chest area before breathing out slowly through your nose.
My sister-in-law’s doctor told her to breath in for 4 seconds, hold for 7, and then exhale for 8 seconds. This really slows down your rate of breathing and helps calm you so you can think more clearly.
Learning relaxation skills is vital to your health and well-being, my friends.
To learn more about the Center for the Advancement for Cancer Education, you can click here.
Suzanne Bonner, Author
Thriving in God’s Love:
Seven Powerful Steps to Heal Body, Soul, and Spirit After Breast Cancer
“But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God. I will always trust in God’s unfailing love.” Psalm 52:8 (NLT)