ILLNESS OF ANY SORT IS LIFE ALTERING. FINDING A LUMP IN YOUR BREAST TRIGGERS A WHOLE REACTION.THE POSSIBILITY OF CANCER CREATES A MYRIAD OF MENTAL, EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL RESPONSES. AFTER A DIAGNOSIS IS MADE THE INITIAL FOCUS AND ATTENTION IS ON GETTING TREATMENT. EMOTIONAL AND MENTAL ISSUES ARE OFTEN PUT ASIDE TO MANAGE THE IMMEDIATE PHYSICAL NEEDS. ONCE THE TREATMENTIS UNDERWAY PEOPLE FIND THEY NEED TO DEAL WITH THESE OTHER IMPORTANT ASPECTS, TOO.
As A SPECIALIST IN MIND-BODY HEALTH, IN MIND-BODY HEALTH,
I see many people in my practice who have had major diagnoses. They find ongoing support and counselling,both during and after their treatment programmes extremely beneficial.A common theme in my practice amongst cancer patients seems to be some significant event or series of events 18 months to 3 years preceding their diagnosis. Loss is one of the most profound, challenging and devastating experiences to undergo. This can take many forms, the loss of a person through death or separation; material loss; job and money; loss of health – physical, mental,emotional and indeed spiritual health.With cancer in general, and particularly with breast cancer, the losses seem to continue and are significant; often your very badges of femininity are relinquished.
Even during the upheaval, when it seems your freedom of choice has been removed, there are some steps you can take towards creating self empowerment.
The emotional impact is real and is just as important, if not more so, than the physical to address. Any negative feelings impact on your body. Because your negative feelings are recorded in your physiology it is important to release these and to deal with the issues that preceded the diagnosis as well. There are many ways to do this, from counselling (the‘talking’ therapies) to deeper work (like breathwork). It is vital to allow the feelings to come up and to get help.
There is much talk about ‘positive thought’ but ‘positive thought’ arises from ‘positive feeling’. Notice how you are feeling and take steps to feel, even incrementally,better. Listen to a piece of music, go out into nature, meditate. Ultimately, be present in whatever it is you are doing.
All possibilities and options exist in what Dr Deepak Chopra calls the ‘QuantumSoup’. In the Quantum soup wellness is floating around together with illness.
Similarly, searching Google for instance,there are seemingly endless possibilities. For example, when you type in the word ‘illness’, it will come up with millions of sites on ‘illness’. But if you want ‘health’ typing in the word ‘illness’ will not bring you what you need. You need to type in what you want ,not what you don’t want. By paying attention to wellness that is what comes up on your screen. Everything is energy; you have the power to focus your attention, to strengthen that upon which you focus. What you desire is obtained by focusing on that desire, not by focusing on the opposite or by focusing on its absence. Health is obtained by focussing on health not by focussing on illness.Focus on the solution not the problem.
Meditation is a wonderful skill to have and has wide ranging benefits. Physically, it strengthens the immune system. It also creates mental alertness and emotional calm and brings an inner peace and stillness.
Guided visualisation, where you can hold a vision of health and well-being,is another immensely powerful tool. It can be used very effectively while you are having treatment and afterwards to enhance health. There are many guided visualisation CD’s on health available.What you hold in your vision and put focus and belief into, is what you bring about.I recommend to my clients that they meditate twice a day for 30 minutes (but even 15 minutes is useful!) and use a guided visualisation at bedtime.
You are in every instant making a choice about how you are and how you are feeling. Make that choice consciously,make a choice – don’t live by default.Remember you are forging a new path- a path you want, a path that serves you better. You gain awareness by meditating.You strengthen that path by focusing on what you desire. You give it definition with your feelings.
[ Dr Ranjani Ratnam is a medical practitioner from Melbourne, Australia,specialising in Mind-Body Health.]
Love & joy
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