Emotions do play a very important and tangible role in your healing process. There are certain emotions like feeling hopeless or helpless that have been shown to depress the immune response. Emotional stress can also disrupt hormonal balance in the body which can result in the increased production of abnormal cells. The combination of an increased number of abnormal cells coupled with a weakened immune response is a situation that we want to avoid at all costs. Conversely, feeling passionate about something or having a strong will to live has been repeatedly shown to energize patients on their healing journey and help them get through some of the more difficult moments. In this article I am going to outline strategies and concrete ideas to help you make a shift toward bringing more healing, loving, energizing emotions in your healing journey.

Letting Go

Feeling trapped and helpless are detrimental negative emotions so let’s look at a few situations where you may be feeling stuck and how you can let go and free yourself.

Your Treatment Plan:

The most important thing to feel positive about is your recommended treatment plan. If you feel stuck with a doctor you don’t feel is taking your needs into consideration or who is proposing a plan that you are not comfortable with and he or she is not willing to discuss other options then it is time to get a second opinion. Remember, at the end of the day it is you that has to have the last word and feel confident about your healing process. Recent studies have confirmed the enormous impact the placebo effect has on the outcome of treatments. Believing that your treatments are going to help you is therefore essential part of the healing process.

If you feel stuck with your plan, write out a list of different options. Options like finding another doctor, supplementing your plan with complementary healing tools, delaying your treatment to give you time to look into and research your plan, as well as other treatment options. Once you have a list of options (even if some of them don’t feel feasible – write them down). Then you can review the list, turn inward and make a heartfelt choice. Only then can you move forward, feeling more confident,involved and empowered on your own healing journey.

If you want to supplement your medical treatments and participate more actively in your healing journey please read the other articles in this series entitled Why chemo and radiation therapy aren’t enough to completely heal from cancer, 10 ways to stop feeding cancer cells and start cleansing your body and Fueling the immune system for faster, deeper healing from cancer.

Close Relationships:

During your healing journey you want to make sure that you are surrounded by positive energy, love and support. Anything and anyone in your daily life that does not meet these criteria should be asked to support you in a loving way or to step back and give you the room you need to create a positive healing environment. This is your time to stand up and speak your truth, from the heart, and really ask for what you need. This is often difficult, especially for women who are used to being helpful and accommodating, but it is essential to optimizing your immune function. Everyone wants to help but sometimes they don’t know how or they reach out in a way that is not nourishing for you. Loving yourself and creating internal harmony comes first right now and as hard as it may be to express your needs, people will understand and respect your wishes.

Feeling Passionate, Inspired and Loved

Pursuing a Passion:

Doing anything that you are passionate about gives you energy and shifts your emotions in a positive direction. It could be as simple as taking time to read a book that you love, take a walk in nature or it could be helping someone in a way that feels meaningful for you – like participating in a forum and sharing your experiences.

Many cancer Thrivers’ (people in remission who feel better off for having lived their cancer journey) stories have a common theme – passion. On their healing journey Thrivers often discover something that they were passionate about and that they wanted to share with the rest of the world. Maybe it is a healing tool or product or process – something that helped and touched them deeply on their path to health. So be on the lookout for the people, tools or products that are or could have a dramatic impact on you and your healing. Be open to ways of potentially sharing this passion with the world.

A cancer Thriver and good friend of mine has made it her life’s mission to promote the benefits of yoga and meditation to cancer patients and to the medical community. She is now doing her doctoral thesis to prove the effects of yoga and meditation for breast cancer patients during treatment. Her life has become energized with the passion of sharing the tools that helped her through some difficult times on her journey.

Heartfelt Inspiration:

Feeling inspired is another great way to energize your immune system. Read a book or some stories online about someone that inspires you. Watch a movie about someone you admire, buy some CDs by spiritual leaders or healers like Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer or Deepak Chopra. This type of support can help you feel motivated, empowered and it may also give you guidance in terms of healing and wellness. Another great way to feel inspired is to read quotes or poems or blogs by people you respect and admire.

Feeling Loved:

Remember the energizing effect of falling in love for the first time? What if you could fall in love with yourself? What better time to be your own best friend, to support, embrace and love yourself completely and unconditionally. You are the only one that can be there at all times to give yourself unconditional love throughout your recovery.

Loving yourself means that you do all you can to take care of yourself. This may mean getting a massage, listening to your favorite music, taking a relaxing bath – whatever feels nourishing for you. It also includes eating foods that nourish you and making sure you are well hydrated. It means developing a habit of listening to and responding to the messages your body is constantly sending you. Like giving yourself permission to get extra rest when you are tired, or taking the day off of household duties when you feel stressed or overwhelmed.

Asking for what you need from others and learning to accept help is also part of loving yourself. Often people really want to help but they don’t know what to do. Sometimes they will do things that actually interfere with you getting rest or caring for yourself. So try to think of what would be truly helpful and then ask for it. Like asking someone to look after your children for the day or to make you a meal or to take your dog for a walk. You may be surprised to see how good people feel about being able to help you in a meaningful way. You may also find that asking for help serves others’ needs as well.

Loving yourself is not only about taking care of yourself but it is also acknowledging and appreciating who you are at a fundamental level – a loving and caring human being. You don’t have to love or embrace all your bad habits – those aren’t who you are. They are simply learned behavior patterns. Try not to focus on the habits that you don’t like, instead shift your attention to nurturing yourself and being grateful for your good qualities.

One thing you can do is to ask yourself ‘how can I nurture myself everyday?’. Pick one thing per day that you do just for you. Think of your favorite activities, having quiet cup of tea, reading a book you love, going to a yoga class, complimenting yourself, giving yourself encouragement. Start a list and write down at least one thing you do to love yourself everyday. Remember, loving yourself is one of the best ways that you can positively influence your healing journey.

Laughter and Joy:

Often when we are sick and feeling tired or discouraged it is easy to feel down or depressed so it is important to consciously bring more laughter and joy into your life everyday. These emotions have a positive, healing impact on the body and help you to feel better about yourself and your future. Rent a funny movie, subscribe to a service where they send you a funny video everyday, be with people who make your laugh, or ask your friends and family members to bring jokes when they come and visit. Have fun going through the exercise of determining what makes you laugh and bringing more of it into your life.

In conclusion, your attitude and emotions do affect your healing journey. Being aware and consciously working towards bringing more joy, laughter and love into your life during this period, and always, is not only good in terms of empowering and healing but it is also uplifting!

Please visit Jackie's web site http://www.CancerShift.com and listen to a free Immune Booster and guided relaxation session or visit http://www.Peacefullife.ca for other guided meditations.

This is the 4th article in a 4 part series. Please look for the other articles:

Part 1: Why Chemo and Radiation aren't enough to heal completely from cancer
Part 2: 10 Ways to Stop Feeding Cancer Cells and Start Cleansing your Body
Part 3: Fueling the immune system for faster, deeper healing from cancer
Part 4: The emotional side of the cancer healing equation

Author's Bio: 

Jackie is a Cancer SHIFT coach and creator of the Cancer SHIFT program. She specializes in, and is passionate about, helping empower people with cancer to shift from 'fighting' and struggling with cancer to facilitating deep healing. She helps women who feel stuck in some part of their life, get unblocked, speak their truth and stimulate their own healing process. She is a Meditation Teacher, certified Yoga Teacher and True Purpose Life Coach. She has also pursued studies in Transcendental Meditation, Ayurvedic Medicine, Creative Meditation and Visualization, Reiki, Spiritual Psychotherapy and Psycho-oncology.