Tig Notaro’s recent cancer diagnosis shows how to battle cancer in a healthy way.
1. Just breathe. Breathing techniques are very effective for dealing with pain. This is where you take a slow, deep breath in through your nose, while counting to three. Then, hold the breath for up to three counts, if you can. After that, you let your breath out for a count of three. Next, keep your lungs empty of air for up to three counts, again, if you can. When you first begin this exercise, just do it for 2-3 minutes at a time and work your way up to as much time as you are comfortable with. You can also set a timer to go off two to four times per day to remind you to practice breathing. This will get you into the habit of relaxing, so that you release the tension as it builds up.
2. Create a mental image. You can also try bringing to mind a time in your life where you felt peaceful, hopeful, or secure. It could be many years ago or in the recent past. It could even be in an imaginary place and you can, in your mind's eye, imagine yourself there. Feel the positive sensations in your body. This should only be done if you can feel safe, positive feelings. There is a technique called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) that can be used to envision a safe place and help you feel positive and comfortable with the help of a trained therapist.
3. Pick up a new hobby. Developing a new hobby creates a sense of joy in the world as you meet new people and learn about things you never knew before. Enjoying "beginner's mind" gives you a feeling of youth and wonder that the routine of daily living sometimes saps. Take up a sport, a game or a craft that you are physically capable of engaging in without undo stress.
4. Affirm the positive things in your life. You may also read inspirational or uplifting poetry and affirmations that you meditate on daily to relieve your burden. Write affirmations that are personal to you. An example of a good affirmation is, "I am strong, resilient and love surrounds me." Once you find a good affirmation, find a quiet place. Sit and repeat your affirmation with intention as you meditate on the powerful words. Mediation has been shown to increase activity in the areas of the brain associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress.
Putting your mind and body in constant touch with the best thoughts and activities will make your life more pleasurable. First, you put yourself in charge by lessening anxiety with neurofeedback. Then, through the use of imagery, affirmations, hobbies and breathing, you might find that your cancer has less of a chance of survival than you do.