Category Archives: Happiness and Breast Cancer

Creative Visualization for Breast Cancer

“Thoughts become things – so choose the good ones”

Mike Dooley

Creative visualization can be a powerful tool to help you relax, reduce stress, and focus on your desired outcome after a breast cancer diagnosis.  Many years ago, long before my breast cancer diagnosis, I purchased a book called “Creative Visualization” by Shakti Gawain.  Shakti has written many similar books on using your mind, your creativity, your thoughts, to create what you want.  I really like this particular book because she provides specific affirmations and visualizations for various aspects of life including health, relationships and prosperity.  It is also relatively short and very easy to read.

book

I used creative visualization immediately after my diagnosis, prior to my surgery, and before receiving chemotherapy.  Creative visualization is a form of meditation, using specific images and affirmations throughout the process.  In the book, Shakti shows you how to “unblock” and open up energy channels, as well as clearing your mind of self sabotaging thoughts.   Focusing in detail on what you want to achieve and giving it all your energy, from really deep within, is the essence of creative visualization.

If you choose to practice this, you may want to “visualize” your tumors shrinking, the cancer being removed from your body; your body healthy and strong.  You could also focus on being healthy and cancer free in the future while playing your favorite sport again, going on a vacation, or laughing with family and friends.  Or pick a date in the future, like a holiday, birthday, wedding, etc. and visualize yourself in that place in time happy and healthy.

Please do not underestimate the power of your own thoughts.  Learn how to control your thoughts, visualize what you desire and use the unlimited energy from within to help you prepare for a most positive outcome.

A “Secret” To Happiness

About seven or eight years ago, my sister-in law gave my husband and I a dvd called “The Secret.”  Many of you may already be familiar with this, whether you have also seen the video, or read the book, or any of the follow ups.  “The Secret” affected me very strongly – it is a video I have watched over and over, and I especially like to watch it at the beginning of each year.

“The Secret” is, in a nutshell, the law of attraction.  The theory that like attracts like, what you put out into the world is what you get back, etc.  It is more than simply positive thinking.  It teaches you how to shift your energy (what I believe the universe and we all are made of) to attract more good thoughts, people, and experiences into your life.  Some of the strategies include creative visualization, gratitude, vision boards, and consciously shifting your thoughts when you are feeling bad.

Staying as positive as possible is so important to breast cancer recovery and survival.  Your thoughts and emotions have so much control over your physical body, it is critical to try to learn how to control them.  A cancer diagnosis is certainly devastating to anyone who receives it, and negative emotions are an automatic reaction, and yes, sometimes crying makes you feel better.  If it does, then do it, but then move on.  Start trying to shift your energy – watch a funny movie, meditate, bake cookies, play with your dog or cat, take a walk in the park, whatever works for you to ease the sadness.  Your body may be more capable of fighting this disease when your mind and spirit are more at ease.

If you have never seen “The Secret”, I encourage you to buy the book or dvd. I know you will derive some benefit from it, if not more.  If you have seen it, watch it again.  It is a great reminder of how much control our thoughts and state of mind have over the rest of our lives.

Gratitude and Breast Cancer

Gratitude is a key component to obtaining and maintaining a positive mental attitude and state of happiness. Many breast cancer patients experience various levels of anxiety, depression, lack of control and low self-esteem, and may feel very little or nothing to be grateful for. But I feel there is always something that earns our daily gratitude, and that everyone can find it, if they dig deep enough.

First and foremost, if you are reading this blog, you are blessed to still be on this earth – be grateful for that! Like meditation, gratitude can be “practiced” everyday. You may even want to combine the two, and at the beginning or end of your meditation, incorporate feelings of gratitude towards those people, circumstances, objects, situations, etc. in your world.

Some people have a gratitude journal, writing down everything they are thankful for. I encourage you to start your own gratitude list, adding to it as often as possible. Read it every day, really focusing on each item and feeling deep gratitude. Feeling gratitude helps you focus on the positive, pushing the negative out of your mind and tension out of your body.

Another book you may find helpful is The Magic by Rhonda Byrne, author of The Secret.  In The Magic, Ms. Byrne puts forth a 30–day plan for practicing gratitude.  Try it – what have you got to lose? the-magic-book-cover

A couple of things that I think we as cancer survivors can be grateful for:
– All of the wonderful researchers and doctors working hard to create better screening programs, less invasive surgery techniques, gentler follow up treatments, and hopefully, a cure.
– All of the people who are donating money to help the researchers and doctors.

Personally, I am grateful for all the love and support from my family and friends, especially my husband. I am thankful for my home and my pets. I am thankful that I have a job that provides me the opportunity to help others. I’m thankful that you are reading this blog!

Meditation for Healing and Happiness

If your breast cancer diagnosis has you feeling overwhelmed, angry, depressed, or anxious, I encourage you to try meditation. For me, the benefits of meditation for staying calm, focused and healthy, mirror the benefits of fitness walking for weight control – it’s free, you can do it every day for however short or long you wish, and the results are worth it.

Meditation helps you relax, helps relieve stress, and leaves you feeling calm and refreshed. Meditation is about letting your mind go, not thinking about anything, but focusing on your breath and becoming as relaxed as possible.

Benefits-of-meditation-2

Here are some tips for meditation:
1. Try to meditate every day for 10-15 minutes. Practicing the same time every day, such as in the morning with your cup of coffee or tea, or right when you get into bed at night, will help meditation become a part of your daily routine.
2. Get into a comfortable position, either sitting or lying down, and close your eyes to remove visual distractions.
3. If you like, put on some soothing music – like massage music, or even sounds of nature. Let the music play softly in the background to help you further relax.
4. Take long, slow, deep breaths. Focus on breathing in and out, and try to push all other thoughts out of your mind (I know, this is the hardest part!).
5. Picture the inhale as a healing breath, drawing postive energy into your body. Picture all of the toxins, disease, and negative energy leaving your body with the exhale.

If you do this every day (or even every other day) for a week or two, I am sure you will feel the benefits.