mind: stress less, live more

stress less – live more

Every new thing I learned on my journey towards good health pointed to the same truth: the body actually obeys the mind. It is a massively controversial concept because it implies that we can make ourselves ill just by the way we think!

How can that be true? Why would anyone WANT to get cancer?

Obviously nobody would wish an illness like cancer on themselves – at least, not knowingly. And there lies a very important point.

It was very exciting to find an article on that very subject by a cancer specialist Dr Douglas Brodie MD , who reckons that there is a relationship between cancer and personality types, and he says it has existed for centuries. Going back in history to the second century AD, Galen, a Greek physician famous for his astute observations of patients and for his accurate descriptions of diseases, noted that women with breast cancer frequently had a tendency to be melancholic.

Dr Brodie found that many of his patients had a long-standing tendency to suppress “toxic emotions,” particularly anger, usually starting in childhood. Throughout their childhood, they have typically been taught “not to be selfish,” and as adults they take this to heart as a major lifetime objective, often putting others before themselves as a matter of course. They also tend to “suffer in silence,” and bear their own burdens without complaint, as well as the burdens of others.

Of course there is one very harmful outcome of bottling up all this toxic emotion – stress.

How one reacts to stress appears to be a major factor in the development of cancer, says Dr Brodie. He said that almost all of his cancer patients had experienced a highly stressful event usually around two years prior to the onset of detectable disease. This might be the loss of a loved one, loss of a business, job, home, or some other major disaster. That made sense to me, because four years before my cancer diagnosis my life had been turned upside down when my son died in that accident. And when my lovely dad died not long after that I was bereft. He had always been my biggest supporter, often standing up for me when he felt my mum was being too hard on me.

if you have cancer you must ditch the stress

If you fall ill it is critical to detach yourself from situations where you are vulnerable to other people’s negative influence. It is time to make yourself your Number One priority.

This is not being selfish.

It is essential to get that “feeling good” feeling back into your life because this is how the body manufactures serotonin, and as I have already said, when your body is being fed with this, your health improves in leaps and bounds. You need to praise yourself more and criticise yourself less, spend more time with those who cheer you up, and less time with people who bring you down.

There is every likelihood that stress is a major factor in the development of cancer, but many cancer sufferers unwittingly put extra strain on themselves by the way they handle life.

Do you ever stop to “smell the roses” or is your life a constant race to get things done? Do you ever allow yourself to truly enjoy what you are doing without feeling guilty? Or do you always feel frazzled and anxious?

What happens to us when we’re under a lot of stress? Our heart races, our breathing gets faster, our blood circulation and metabolism speed up. Our muscles tense, getting us ready to fight or flee. But we don’t do either.

And the stress builds up.

how stress causes dis-ease

When we are worried, we release hormones, ready for our “fight or flight” response but if we don’t do anything, they ferment and create acid in the body. Cancer sufferers are invariably more “stressed”.

Stress makes us breath quicker. Long, slow breathing makes us alkaline while rapid breathing makes us acid. So, staying calm does us good in more ways than one. Research shows that people who meditate reduce their stress level and have a lower incidence of cancer.

Over 80% of our worries are about things which are not important, or that we have absolutely no control over. We must help ourselves before we can help others.

It’s a big help if you disentangle yourself from the problems of other people, however hard that may be. At the end of the day you can only ever sort your own life out. The best you can do is to help others do the same, certainly not to fix their problems for them. Many people don’t realise that their worries are their own responsibility and gladly thrust them on to others; this is never a permanent solution.

Here are some stress-busting ideas

  • At work, delegate tasks to others: trust them to get it done
  • Prioritise tasks: don’t try to do everything “right now “
  • Recognise what you can do, and what you cannot do
  • Go for a walk if you feel stressed – exercise burns off the those “fight or flight” hormones created by stress
  • Learn to say “NO” to things that you do not enjoy
  • Do something totally different; new memories create serotonin
  • Take deep breaths – send more life-giving oxygen round your body
  • Have a good laugh as often as you can – more serotonin!
  • You can’t change the world, but you can change yourself

Always try to get a good night’s sleep in a quiet, dark room. Our body makes the powerful detoxifying hormone Melatonin only when it is completely dark, so a decent sleep gives the body a head start on its healing journey. 


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