Learn to Master your Emotions
Emotions are powerful. They affect the way you think and act. But you don’t have to be at the mercy of your emotions.
One key to controlling your emotions is learning to control your thoughts. Negative thoughts cost you a lot of energy. So you need to refuse to dwell on negative, depressing things. Rather focus on positive things that make you feel secure. Break out from constantly thinking about your condition. Think about what you’re good at and what you can still do in spite of your illness.
If you have to set your goals at a new level, do accept your limitations, and don’t compare yourself with what you’ve been in the past, or with others.
It’s quite normal to feel angry at times, frustrated over your new limited situation, angry at the complications life brings. This anger is justified, but letting it out might cause further health problems such as cardiac ones. So you’ll benefit by slowing down your anger.
Studies have shown that you can influence your biochemistry and thus your mood by physical exercise. This changes hormone levels and oxygen availability, both of which are important in your fight against cancer.
It’s sad to see so many ill people stuck in front of a TV set, staring at it for hours. A soft chair or even a bed is an excellent place to exercise one’s brain! It’s emotionally refreshing to exercise your mental faculties by reading a book, writing a poem, drawing or learning to draw, painting, learning to play a musical instrument, or anything else that’s productive or stimulates your brain. Once you can lose yourself in the activity, you forget for a while what gets you down. The more often you can get into this positive mode, the better for your health and recuperation.
You can also seek and find solace in nature. Go for walks as much as you can, preferably in sunshine, and breathe in the beautiful clean air, and get yourself moving. On a rainy day you can search out library books or Internet websites with interesting subjects related to landscapes, plant life, animal life, and so on. But nothing can replace the benefit you derive from being in the great outdoors, getting your feet into the green grass or into the wet sand on the beach.
At home you can relax in a bubble bath (please make it herbal, avoid chemicals). Light candles in the bathroom (neutral unscented ones), and enjoy the scents of natural aroma therapy added to the bath water, or on a towel, or steaming up from a steam lamp. Enjoy!
If you’ve never been able before to spend time for yourself, because you were too busy with the job or the kids, this is your big chance! Don’t worry, you won’t become selfish or self-indulgent, - you’re only giving your body some needed help to heal.
And whatever you need to do, at home or elsewhere, even the dishwashing, - put your heart into it, - that way you get satisfaction, which in turn helps towards positive emotions.
Then, although you may be very sick, you may even serve as an inspiration to others!
Physical exercise I will do:
Ways I will exercise my brain:
I will relax doing this:
This is the attitude I will cultivate:
“You say you’re ‘depressed’ – all I see is resilience. You are allowed to feel messed up and inside out. It doesn’t mean you’re defective – it just means you’re human.” – David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas
Also look at these 3 helpful links, - and then come back to his webpage!
NERVES AND ANXIETIES
Dr. Claire Weekes has written various books to help people in a cognitive way to cope with their nerves and anxieties.
Eg. “Self Help for Your Nerves”, “Peace from nervous Suffering”, “Simple, Effective Treatment of Agoraphobia!, “More Help for Your Nerves”.
I have read her book “More Help for Your Nerves Through Understanding Nervous Fatigue” (1977 by Dr. Claire Weekes). What follows is my own summary of the contents.
ANGIE’S SUMMARY of Dr. Claire Weekes’ book
Chapter I: NERVOUS FATIGUE
-There are 4 kinds of fatigue: 1) muscular, 2) emotional, 3) mental, 4) fatigue of the spirit.
-Only when you are afraid of the effects of fatigue and allow this to interfere with your life, you have passed from being nervously fatigued to being nervously ill.
-Nervous illness: the simplest and most common kind is the anxiety state, a) particularly afraid of the symptoms, although the original stress is gone, passed, b) problems that need to be resolved.
-1) MUSCULAR FATIGUE
-Prolonged tension in muscles upsets the tone (=balance between relaxation and contraction) and also allows the chemicals of fatigue to accumulate; so acheing begins, and feeling of weakness.
-Blurred vision comes from muscles in the lens of the eye. Temporary, unimportant.
-All-over headaches. Tension is the cause.
-Tension is created by: a) uncomfortable sitting, standing, lying; b) having one’s eyes on another job before finishing the one in hand.
-2) EMOTIONAL FATIGUE
-When nerves are subjected to stress, especially to strong emotions such as fear for a long time, they can be aroused to record-emotion with increasing intensity and often with unusual swiftness. Triggerhappy: fire off at the slightest provocation = “sensitisation”. Rarely recognising the situation as sensitisation, one can become bewildered and afraid of it and it puts oneself into a fear – adrenalin – fear cycle. He resensitises himself. Our enemy is: lack of understanding.
-When afraid of symptoms: One avoids places where one thinks stress will bring the symptoms (agoraphobia).
-Sensitisation, in a person with no fear of it, would heal itself.
-Sequence: Stress (sudden or gradual), then Sensitisation, then Bewilderment and fear, followed by Emotional fatigue and complications, Appearing finally as nervous illness.
-Sensitisation is the prime cause of emotional fatigue. It depletes emotional energy. Having all emotions exaggerated is bewildering, you think you go mad. Exaggeration examples: sad becomes tragic, gloomy becomes eerie, impatient becomes agitation, noise becomes amplified until it seems intolerable, joy is felt hysterically. Consequence: you feel emotionally fatigued, drained. Example: running away, wondering how long you’ll survive.
-Guilt. The explanation of sensitisation is better than tranquillisers. Also, sometimes confessing guilt can complicate, not comfort. (see chapter 3).
-Amplified noise: is a pleasant experience exaggerated.
-Joy felt hysterically: deliriously happy one minute, and down the next.
-Shock of waking: can make the heart race – sensitisation as stomch-gripper.
-Imagination never to be able to sleep properly again. Feeling as if personality has disintegrated. Feeling of imbalance. – Understand, please, that this is temporary. Understanding this releases tension.
-The exhaustion following prolonged, exaggerated emotional reaction is especially bewildering, because a) it can seem so incapacitatingly severe, so little related to physical effort, so little relieved by resting, and b) it is so difficult to describe and so rarely understood by those who have never felt it.
-The body adapts to stress. But if that fails, because the glands become depleted, we pass to the stage of exhaustion. – This is helped only by release from stress!
-Apathy and depression warn of depletion.
-Remove stress to heal! Understand how to do this.
-3) MENTAL FATIGUE
-For example don’t overdo practicing a musical instrument etc. (capacity).
-Symptoms: Thinking is an effort; Speech is hesitant; Confused; Concentrating and remembering is difficult; Talking is strenuous, so one avoids the neighbours. When mentally fatigued, thoughts do not flit but stick, you gnaw at a worry etc. Many obsessions and phobias begin in this simple way. Often it is a silly thought in a tired mind.
Flashes of normal thinking = glimpsing.
-A phobia is an irrational, persistent fear. Doing something frustrating can make one feel extremely agitated, panicky, a phobia develops.
-Muzzy head, feels dull, heavy, thick; muzziness = brain fog plus tension (in German: Schufterei + Spannung). Inward-thinking, stress, tension-cycle. Fatigue = sensitisation-cycle.
-Sudden glare shocks. – Recognise the former greyness of the world of constant anxious introspection as no more than persistent mental fatigue.
-4) FATIGUE OF THE SPIRIT
-Every action, thought, is an effort, he begins to wonder whether the struggle is worth is. Feeling a lack of strength to face another day, weeks, months. Fighting fatigue increases fatigue! Find fresh hope and courage! If there is understanding and a plan for recovery, hope and courage do grow again.
CHAPTER II: RECOVERY
Recipe for recovery: 1) Facing, 2) Accepting, 3) Floating, 4) Letting time pass.
-1) Recovery lies in the places and experiences feared!!! Don’t shy away! Learn to pass through it until it no longer matters. Not: “Perhaps it won’t happen”, but “If it does happen, it doesn’t matter, you can cope with it”. Without the stress of mattering, the nervous symptoms may disappear. Tranquillisation merely postpones the time when symptoms must be faced to be cured. Therefore: Face fear, accept, float, let time pass.
-2) Acceptance = letting the body loosen as much as possible, and then going toward, not withdrawing from, the feared symptoms or experiences. Letting go, going with, bending with the wind. This way the adrenalin-production is reduced.
Withdrawal (instead of acceptance) though leads to more intense symptoms.
-When acceptance is first practised, the body may still be registering the tense, frightened mood of the preceding weeks, months, years, and may continue to do this, even after the mood of acceptance is established.- It takes time.
-Go into the storm, accept it willingly, don’t withdraw from it. Then you will rise above the situation.
-The cure lies in losing fear. – Go into it with acceptance.
-True acceptance means facing and relaxing, being submittingly prepared to go slowly with as little self-induced agitation as possible.
-Peace lies on the other side of panic. Throw away the gun and let the tiger come if he wants to.
-The flash of panic is no more than an electric discharge. While it may feel devastating, it is only an electrical discharge along sensory nerves. So many people allow an electric discharge along sensory nerves, an electric flash, to spoil their lives by withdrawing from it in fear!
-3) Floating. You should float, not fight, because forcing means more tension, until the brain goes numb.
-Floating instead of forcing: let your body go as slack as possible (and actually feel as if it was sagging), then take a deep breath and exhale slowly while imagining yourself floating forward without resisting (cloud, water). That makes you release enough tension to loosen muscles, – then you can move forward.
-Example: getting up in the morning: make the effort as gently as you can. Go with it. No tense effort. Submit to it all, let it all happen. Don’t fight your way through any of it. Stop struggling, try to let your body float up, out of bed. Even float your clothes on. Note: As little pushing as possible.
-Floating = relaxing with action. Face it, relax, float on through. Doing nothing at all is only temporarily beneficial. Float, don’t pick.
-Where fighting is exhausting, floating (by removing the tension of forcing) makes repeated effort less daunting.
-If supertensed, just imagine yourself loosening. It works. (But don’t float past real problems.)
-4) Letting time pass.
-Impatience makes tension.
-Sensitisation is a chemical process and needs time for chemical readjustment.
-Don’t be bluffed into thinking you will never recover.
-A set-back? You have obviously come out of it before! You know that these symptoms don’t really matter. Be prepared for set-backs. It is “necessary” for recovery.
-When you are being accused of “not wanting to get better”: the criticism is not true! Grow into recovery. It takes time.
When beginning to recover, you are vulnerable to memory and vulnerable to the tricks any remaining fatigue may play on you.
Don’t mistake just any fatigue as nervous illness.
Nothing can be forced in nervous illness.
The only way to lose consciousness of self is to accept it as ordinary thinking. Think about yourself and your illness as much as your habit demands, and realise that it is only a habit fostered by mental fatigue.
The key is not forgetting, but no-longer-mattering, and for this time has to pass. As time passes, reactions will gradually become normal. You regain your balance.
Chapter III: SOME BEWILDERMENT CLEARED AWAY
-Feeling like passing out while washing dishes. – Note: Your memory brought the tension. Accept it and just do it. Or: try and pass out! Peace comes because we are accepting while the body is rattling.
-Super-panic: hanging on to a lamppost for support. Feeling faint and dizzy, can’t breathe properly, feel sure to collapse. Feeling “I’m not there”, feeling helpless. – Note: Identify acceptance, putting-up-with. Try and feel acceptance right in the middle of you. Now walk down the street and hope you WILL panic so that you can practise accepting. – Then you pass from being terrified to disliking it, and then to no longer mattering. Panic can still flash and no longer matter. This is the beginning of recovery. Don’t withdraw from the symptoms of terror. For permanent cure, you must learn to cope with your symptoms by learning to become unafraid of them.
-Trembling legs and weakness while talking: - Note: It’s because anxiety releases extra adrenalin. These legs may seem as if they give way, but they don’t.
-Mind goes blank, even when feeling much better. – Reason: result of living so much within yourself. It is unimportant. Never be impressed by it. Wait, it will always pass. Don’t allow second-fear.
-Unwanted thoughts. – Note: They are just thoughts. Don’t fear them, and then they no longer matter, it gets better.
-Punishing yourself. – Note: It’s not real. The ill person really means: “Judging from my severe and swift reactions to my vaguest anxious thought, it seems as if I’m purposely punishing myself. I can think of no other explanation.” – See, if it was real, he wouldn’t ask for help to stop it.
-Need a table (tranquilliser)? – Note: If in doubt, leave it out. The need is psychological, for confidence. It is better to go through panic often enough without tranquilliser in order to know that you can do it. You can master it. The tablet is only for softening the blow. Once in a while but never heavily or constantly.
-How much should I do (work etc.)? – The hurdle is: to decide how much of your fatigue is normal, and how much is due to lingering illness. They are confused whether to treat fatigue with respect or to work on in spite of it. - Note: Action and achievement are more important than inaction for fear of overdoing it. With action and willing acceptance of any fatigue that may follow, one gradually becomes confident. Working physically does not harm the nerves. It is the tension from anxiety that sensitises and brings fatigue. This applies to working hard mentally, too.
Understand and expect to be apprehensive, to have difficulty remembering and concentrating (from fear and lack of confidence). If you must re-read, do it, but WILLINGLY. a) Accept apprehension, loss of confidence, even a muzzy head. b) Work willingly and quietly determined WITH THEM ALL PRESENT.
-Morning: -It is better to wake right up, move about, perhaps read, than to lie in that perflexed, troubled “raw” state.
-Early hours waking: The anxiety to return to sleep can make one more awake. Sleep whenever you feel like it. At the stage of severe sensitisation it is essential to get as much sleep as possible.
-Travelling fast in a bus or train: -Go with the movement, don’t tense against it. Loosen, let go.
-An “on-and-off-affair”: Felt lousy in the morning; get into some work, feel normal; becoming aware of it, - shock – feeling bad again: - On through any return of symptoms! Recovery lies AHEAD, how ever painful in the moment. – Breathe in deeply and out slowly, without withdrawing in panic from panic.
-Bed: Keep off that bed in the daytime! (brooding on the illness).
-Strangeness: Accept it, until it no longer matters. Always on and through, always onward.
-Work? Physical work exhausts less than does anxious interrogation. How much work – that doesn’t matter, just do it willingly. Rest at intervals, again willingly, without feeling guilty. We have power to adapt. Give it a chance, don’t run away too soon.
The original cause may be unimportant. Usually it is being afraid of physical nervous symptoms.
-Negative inner voice: Watch it doing it; watch it without letting it overpower you, then you will gradually feel yourself becoming detached from its babbling.
-Fainting: Few do. You feel faint, because in any feared situation you give yourself little shocks by suggesting “What if I have to sit near the front?” etc. Don’t add second fear. Let body go loose, be prepared to accept whatever feelings it brings without adding the extra shock of “Oh my goodness, what is going to happen now!” – Know that you can face and go through panic how ever fiercely it may come. Even the fiercest flash has its limits.
-Indecisive: True acceptance means accepting an even negative decision once it is made. Swinging from “perhaps I should have” to “perhaps I should not” is tiring and confusing and does nothing for confidence. Doing something despite feeling “lousy” is a great confidence booster. Wait on no mood. Remember to try to always act WILLINGLY. Willingly face the day, willingly take what comes, and especially willingly accept the symptoms you dislike so much. (That is, only if your symptoms ARE caused by “nerves”.)
-Lost time: Go quietly forward until the feeling of normality builds the bridge gradually. This will help you to link yourself with the old “you”. Benefit: you have learned a great deal: to be more compassionate, how to understand and possibly help others, and how to appreciate simple things.
-Setback: A setback (or failure) humbles you, it counts only if you let it. Acceptance means to go forward, DO the things dreaded and doing them with utter acceptance, of whatever nervous symptoms, sensations, experiences may come while doing them. (Deep breath, let go, march forward). You had made the progress. Use the setback for further defusing of the bomb. Fatigue can play strange tricks. There is that strange ability to do things well one day, and yet, the next day, be unable to even contemplate doing them. The mistake would be to judge ourselves without realising that our incompetence is fatigue. Fatigue also underlies much depression. Go forward in depression with willing acceptance. It will work a miracle. You want so badly to lose your symptoms, you keep yourself in an almost constant state of anxiety about it, ane because of the stress anxiety brings, the symptoms persist. Try to be less anxious about the symptoms.
Warning: In the beginning when you first practise this method, you deliberately put yourself in the frontline of the battle. It has to be like this, because instead of putting a disliked feeling aside (and this sometimes works for a while), you face it, may even go looking for it. Being ready to practise coping with what is feared, often means concentrating on it. By continuing, it will become less and less important until it will hardly ruffle you.
Don’t baulk at doing things when you “don’t feel like it”. Don’t wait until you feel better. Go into the eye of the hurricane, but willingly and with acceptance.
-Feeling of “nobody can convince me that I won’t go beserk, collapse, if I find myself in a situation I can’t handle and when I’m a long way from home. How would I cope if I felt I couldn’t stand another minute of it and there was no way to escape?” – Note, the cure has to come from inside you. Panic can build up only if you let it build itself up. Take a deep breath, let it out slowly, let your body slumb, and then be willing to let the panic flash – to prevent its building-up. Start doing what you fear, let the panic sweep through you as willingly as you can manage, STAY willing, then the panic cannot mount. Don’t add fear of the panic. – No crisis can be so great that you collapse. The courage to go out and face any crisis, whatever it might be, is enough to dampen it.
Recovery lies in the places and experiences you avoid!
The most upsetting symptoms of sensitised nerves is the intensity of the body’s reaction to the slightest anxious thought, and the consequent self-bombardement by fear of this reaction, even to the extent of you thinking that you’re going mad.
Try to talk only with people about it who understand you.
-All is caused by sensitisation and fatigue and memory playing their tricks. Work as willingly as you can WITH the feelings there, then you will gradually be rid of them.
-Depression is a chemical disturbance. Try not to be depressed because you are depressed. Then your batteries will gradually be recharged, the chemical imbalance will be remedied,, and depression will lift. Do things without continually watching to see if you are enjoying them. You should mix with people, however painful, gradually it will improve.
-Shock: To the sensitised person anything, a thought or an experience that brings the slightest anxiety or surprise, can feel like a physical shock. Even the thought of full recovery may feel daunting: the vitality demanded by recovery seems beyond his reach, (laughing briskly, freely, talking unselfconsciously). How can you break that barrier? Let the moment of shock pass. Pass through, relax through that fear and despair, pass through that front door into the bright light. Always onward! One day the shocks no longer matter. Then the barrier is gone. – Practise relaxed acceptance. Then you gain control. Shocks disappear when they eventually no longer shock. – Your memory can make you apprehensive. Loosen and accept.
-Coping with a neighbour: When he stops to talk and you feel like you’ll collapse? You can’t always have an excuse. Float, just float, float, float. Don’t fight. Just smile. Listen willingly, and it will begin stopping,, that agitated searching for a way to escape. Just think “float”.
-Visiting: surrepetitiously clench one hand as tightly as you can, hold it tight for half a minute. Unclench then, it relaxes. It relaxes also the stomach muscles.
-Fear of depression exhausts, depression is often an expression of emotional exhaustion.
-Timing: Continue slowly, calmly. Tranquillise yourself by closing your eyes, just listen to noises.
-Depletion: Early symptoms: difficult in concentrating, in deciding, in remembering, lessened interest, muzzy head, irritability. Brief flashes of interest, but too much effort. Acting on an idea is difficult. Before depletion there must be much stress, not physical work. Only stress or disease can deplete the glands. – Help: Arrange your life sensibly within your capacity, forget about depletion. How much – that is not important, but HOW you do something. Fatigue goes away if we are not anxious about it. – Take turns: mental work / manual work. Talk to a suitable confidant who realises the unimportance of the frightening thoughts. (Or use tape recordings.)
-Vivid imaginations: Don’t dampen it, but let it not matter! Invite these thoughts. Then they will rarely come.
Occupation helps with depression.
Welcome set-backs, don’t shrink from them.
-Feeling “rooted to the ground”? – Just float.
-If a dripping tap, ticking clock, talkative neighbour can’t be stopped: try relaxing toward it and actually listen to it. This works.
-It’s only a thought in a tired mind making an exaggerated impression on a sensitised body.
-You are cured when you can live in peace with the memory of what you have been through, and if, when times of stress bring back your old symptoms, you can accept these and not let them upset you too much, not let them disrupt your life, then you can say, you’re cured. – It doesn’t mean to have a constantly peaceful body. Some stress is good. – Recovery = peace, because symptoms don’t any longer matter.
-Constipation: Take enough time on the toilet, drink enough fluid, eat enough food. (High fiber).
-Unnecessary worry: this is usually a physical state rather than reality. Go outside, the feeling of space above can lift the pressing ceiling of worry-tension.
Being normal simply means being less self-critical, less self-aware, and more at ease with people. Go forward without too much introspection. The character strengthens as difficulties are overcome. Recovery is a new experience. You recognise normality when you gradually feel less tense, more at ease.
Few people can understand nervous illness until they have experienced it.
-“I wish IT would all go away.” (Tired of it). – Well, there is no IT. There is only your habit of thinking, grooved by mental fatigue. What you try to forget one minute, habit and fatigue will present again the next. Although you can switch attention if something important demands it, when the demand passes, you quickly remember the battling and are caught once more in the old habit. – You can’t hope to just forget these strange thoughts in your present state of self-awareness. Relax toward them, think them willingly. Then tension will ease, the “grooves” will melt, and the habit will gradually lift. Habits take time to break. But when thoughts no longer matter, what harm if they do sometimes return.
-Can we forgive ourselves? We are different now from that person who transgressed, we would not make the same mistake today.
–Learn how to cope with the symptoms that stress may present, at any time, any place.
-Mental tension is only a severe spasm of muscular tension.
-Inward-thinking: accept it all. Work with it there, willingly.
-Sensitised nerves take time to heal. They might still be ready to respond too quickly and too intensely to the slightest shock, even a sudden turn that may have brought a feeling of “floatiness” in the head.
-Don’t try to get back to how you once were. Always forward.
-To recover, you have to accept that the human body is like a machine that works marvellously for us; however, it can be strained by too heavy a load, too much impetuous ardour, not enough balance, not enough time for contemplation or rest. Accept that EVEN YOU have a limit.
-Depression is a form of exhaustion. When nervously exhausted or depleted, our feelings miss the daily recharging. Don’t set a time-limit when you need to be better. Accept that.
-Eat enough nourishing food, and leave the rest to time.
-You have to accept that you bashed your nervous system and that it will extract its revenge for a while. You ARE your nervous system, you know, and when it records your emotions in an exaggerated way and quickly, you feel as if your foundation has been shaken. That’s hard to understand, hard to cope with. You are flabbergasted by what you have done to yourself. It is difficult to live with a body that can respond so sensitively to just anything. You feel “this is crazy! I must be going mad.” But you are not. Your nerves are just overdoing their job, too eager to oblige.
So you’ve found a programme you’re happy with. It’s designed to get you well. And you’ve started out with great enthusiasm. You’re juicing, eating raw, taking your natural medicines no matter their taste. Doing your showers, exercises, whatever. And then you hit the wall. “I can’t go on like that! No way! I’ve had enough! I want my normal life back!” After all, your unhealthy and deeply ingrained lifestyle and thought patterns are perhaps diametrically opposed to all these healthy measures.
“This is just not me! I can’t do it!”
So what will you do? How can you stop giving up?
Marathon runners know that IF or better WHEN you can get through that point (which they call “the wall”), then you will be successful. - So how can you stick to your chosen programme?
Motivation is the key. Just think: do you really want the “normal” life back? A life of illness, overweight, tasty food with little or no nutrition, low quality of life, stress, bad sleep, bad digestion, pain, and exhaustion while you enjoy yourself?
Of course everybody around you will eat and live normally. You’ll need to keep fresh in your mind what the consequences of this unhealthy lifestyle are. And how greatly you will benefit from sticking to your new programme.
Here is what you can do to keep your motivation high:
- Surround yourself with motivating material. Copy important bits from books, websites, or what you’ve learned from DVDs into a scrapbook, and read this regularly. Formulate your goals and your positive thoughts and write them down. You can put this on your bedside table, or tape paper notes on the wall where you’re going to see them often. Read the right books and magazines and gather more points for your scrapbook. Search the Internet for more videos, online or on DVD, these keep you going, and there are always exciting new points to learn.
- Make a time-saving to-do list, set goals, write them down in specific terms. This is not for theory, this is for ACTION! Print out a daily schedule (prepare green drink, take detox tea, soak mung beans, etc.) that you can keep; and list what you need to do regularly (e.g. grow more wheatgrass, buy organic soil, order more apricot kernels, go for a walk on the beach, etc.) so you won’t forget; and what can be added on from time to time (such as a detox routine). Goals, small and big (eat out at a raw food restaurant, go to a health spa, attending a seminar; or even teaching others what you are doing and why, this is especially motivating, and it gets you in touch with the community).
- Diet: organise your recipes, menus, shopping lists ahead of time.
At the same time, remain realistic. Don’t create your own stress. Simply stick with the diet, and when you miss other food then remember that life consists of a lot more than food. Connect with those among family and friends who are supportive of your chosen programme. And pamper yourself a bit to cultivate wellness emotionally and mentally, do it with non-food ideas (art, music, etc.). And find a balance between micromanaging your life on the one hand - and a lazy carefree attitude on the other. Know WHY you’re doing what you’re doing.
- Write into my “motivating scrapbook” every day, and read it often.
- Order more motivating material or copy it from websites and/or books.
- Make a daily schedule of treatments and activities.
- Set my goals, put them into writing.
- Organise my menus and recipes.
Laughing is awfully healthy! When you laugh it’s like a workout, 1 minute of laughing equals about 10 minutes of jogging, because laughing keeps about 80 muscles busy when it juggles the internal organs.
Laughing is good for the mind, the emotions, your happiness, the complexion, the immune system, the circulatory system, your energy levels, it also reduces stress as well as pain, it relaxes muscles throughout the body, it eases digestion and soothes stomach aches, it enhances oxygen intake, it stimulates heart and lungs, balances blood pressure, and it protects the heart by directly changing distressing emotions. It’s even good against the common cold. Psychologically speaking it balances your entire perspective. Mental functions are improved, such as alertness, creativity, memory. Laughing has not only physical and mental but also social benefits. And your general sense of well-being is improved. Plus, it’s fun, it’s free, and it’s user-friendly.
But you don’t feel like laughing?
Here are a few hints that might help:
- Get out of your introvert view, out of your head, and away from what troubles you. Become more spontaneous.
- Let go of being defensive, drop your doubts, forget criticism.
- Release what holds you back.
- See the reality instead of the distorted view caused by your fear. It may not be that bad after all!
- Let your emotions come to the surface, air them, express them, it’s ok to show what’s inside.
- Risk some loss of control.
- Look for humour and laughter, whether “live” with playful people, or in a movie, especially comedies.
- Humour is experiencing congruity. Much in life is incongruous, so there are lots of opportunities to laugh about things.
- Try to observe the world through the eyes of exaggeration and a broad silly perspective.
- Somebody once said: "Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquillity." So look back and remember with a smile or a laugh.
- Smile at something beautiful. Then smile at a person. It’s contagious.
- Carry something with you that makes you feel funny or smile.
- Make a list of the good things in your life. It gets you closer to laughing.
- Think of what was funny lately. See the funny side of things.
- Try a little giggle.
- Look for funny or emotional stories to read, such as in “Chicken Soup” books or in James Herriot’s books.
- Play with a kitten or a puppy.
- Watch Mr. Bean DVDs and try a belly laughter.
- Share with others about yourself when something was really embarrassing and you took yourself too seriously.
- Go out with friends and take photos of funny moments, and then keep those photos handy.
- Imitate children a bit, they laugh, they play, they take things lightly.
- Be creative, turn something negative around. Concentrate on the fun, not on the success.
- View the world from a different, humorous perspective.
- Accept yourself, respect yourself, and laugh out aloud.
The “Cancer Treatment Centers of America” (www.cancercenter.com) use Laughter Therapy as a natural medicine for therapy and healing, and to improve patients’ quality of life.
Laugh every day. Even when you don’t feel happy, you can still laugh and feel better.
Exercises to do in company: (go and meet people, it forces you to smile, which makes you feel better!)
- Grab a hold of a fold of fat on your belly and shake it up and down. If you can’t find any, grab someone else’s.
- Facial exercises 15 min. per day (to liberate yourself and others):
1) Screw your face muscles up as much as you can, then relax.
2) Move all to the left as much as you can, then relax.
3) Move all to the right …, relax.
4) Move all up …, relax.
5) Move all down …, relax.
6) Open your mouth wide, as far as you can, then relax.
7) Open your mouth wide, tongue out as far as you can, then relax.
And always remember: it’s not what happens to you, it’s how you react to it!
Life can be heaven or hell, it’s up to you what you make of it!
Loneliness is not the same as being alone. When you can’t confide in anybody, when you can’t share your innermost feelings, you become lonely. It’s like hunger, when the body needs nourishment, hunger is the signal, - when the body has psychological needs, a feeling of loneliness is the sign.
It’s quite natural to become lonely at times. The point is NOT never to feel lonely, but that you don’t let it conquer you! Because loneliness is detrimental, it can produce physical symptoms, feelings of melancholy, bewilderment, insecurity, depression, loss of self-respect, it can even break the heart.
So what can be done?
Acknowledge the problem, and put forth a real effort to change the situation, or change your attitude towards it. Don’t blame yourself, but do something about it. Which details make you feel lonely? Eating alone? Coming into an empty house or flat? Then make it nicer for yourself. A friend once told me “Make a feature of it”, - he was talking about something in the garden that unfortunately couldn’t be changed. “Make a feature of it”, with other words, if something can’t be got rid of, then make it as attractive as you can. Or to say it with Maurice Chevalier’s words: “Enjoy it! If a hurricane comes your way, enjoy the breeze, - if you’re stuck in the jungle, enjoy the trees!”
Do something interesting that costs strength. Perhaps wallpaper your sitting room, pursue a hobby, learn a language or an instrument, start drawing and painting, or start a fitness programme. See the positive side: Now you can develop your talents, decide freely, have new friends, do good to others. Make the effort, lead a productive life. Allow yourself the self-respect you need in order to cope with loneliness. Have a goal in life and work for it.
Talk with somebody who cares about you. Maybe go to a sympathetic counsellor. Ask their help, and avoid rash decisions. Avoid self-pity, avoid being self-centered.
Doing something for others in an unselfish way helps with loneliness. There are others who are lonely too or have other needs. Why not make a list of individuals who need cheering up, or whom you could help. Visit them and scatter among them some sunshine or a ray of hope. Be ready to invest time and genuine fellow feeling. Do things together with them, or with your friends. Call them up on the phone, or send an email or a card or a letter. Cheer up depressed ones, and it will cheer you up. Learn to really listen, and keep busy in upbuilding somebody else. Get to know others by questions and conversations, exchange thoughts and experiences. Don’t expect perfection of them, nor of yourself. You can do that by yourself or in an organised way with a group of others, why not even start a group, maybe one to support people with cancer or something similar. Maybe form an art group or a group where people knit and crochet together. You could also help in practical ways. Give, but give from the goodness of your heart and not just to get something in return or to fill a need. Invite friends for a meal, bake biscuits for some and make smoothies for others. Sew and knit for people who appreciate these things. Or be ready to fix something in their house or on their car, if you have the skill.
Soon your life will be so busy and meaningful, you’ll have forgotten what loneliness is.
No doubt the cancer (or other serious illness you’re suffering from) has affected you emotionally, and after the first shock is over and you’ve busily been trying to get yourself into a routine of treatments and back into at least some of the other parts of your life, you find yourself going through a metamorphosis, much like that of a caterpillar into a butterfly! You pass through various disturbing stages, until you pause and find you’ve grown! You’ve dealt with a good number of issues. Now you’re more focused, you have matured, you may look at life differently, and your view of people will have changed somewhat. True friendships will have grown closer. Your spiritual dimension may have taken on more meaning. And you’re at peace with yourself.
It’s not been easy, but all the efforts were worth it!