Stress and anxiety are common company of a cancer diagnosis. If left unchecked, your body’s reaction to these feelings can lead to impaired immune function and an assortment of troubling symptoms. Thankfully, there are tools and techniques that can help you combat fear and anxiety — and regain a sense of control.
Breast cancer survivor, advocate and co-founder of The Dragonfly Angel Society, Dana Stewart, shares her tips for reducing anxiety, in a recent issue of Cure magazine. While she admits they don’t always work, she likes having a “tool belt of ideas to go to.”
- Color — Try using an adult coloring book or simply color on empty paper. This can help you clear your mind.
- Journaling — Write whatever you want. Even if it’s just words such as “fear,” “accept,” “scared,” or thoughts like “Today the cancer fears are taking over my mind. I had a few aches and I feel the overwhelming need to feel around for any lumps and bumps.” Putting words down on paper can allow you to picture the thoughts and fears leaving your mind and getting out in the open.
- Mindfulness — Practicing mindfulness can be challenging, so it often becomes a learning process. Sitting with your fears and anxiety might seem overwhelming at first, but after some time and practice, it can become less daunting.
While these tips work best for Stewart, it’s important to find what works for you. The key is to experiment with different ideas and methods. Once you figure out what calms you, write those tactics down and refer to that list in times of stress.