Coping with Cancer Anxiety
Anxiety (worry) is a natural feeling when you or a loved one is affected with a myeloma diagnosis. You will often feel a lack of control and be overwhelmed. Our bodies have what is called a flight or fight response, and when we perceive a threat to our personal well-being, or our life, this is triggered, and we choose to engage the threat or flee from it. Chronic anxiety can lead to fatigue and depression over time, so it is important to find stress-relieving techniques that work for you. Here is a list of some of the top techniques that research has found to be best in helping reduce anxiety.
- Exercise: Regular participation in exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects. During exercise endorphins are released, which is a natural mood enhancer. A great way to stay motivated with your exercise is to join our Muscles for Myeloma September 2020 Challenge.
- Massage: Studies show that getting a massage decreases stress and anxiety. The manipulation of the muscles, encourages them to relax and stretch to relieve any tightness or tension, reducing physical stress. Swedish massage is great at also decreasing mental stress.
- Aromatherapy: Essential oils that are known to calm the soul are lavender, lemon, sweet basil, jasmine and chamomile. Lavender aromatherapy has been studied and shown to reduce stress and anxiety for patients, it is also known to be uplifting, as well as soothing and helpful for reducing stress, anxiety, depression and insomnia.
- Breathing: Closing your eyes and taking slow, deep breaths is instantly calming. Deep breathing exercises can have a profound effect on your state of mind and stress management.
- Laugh Therapy: Put on a funny movie. Read a comic book. Just laugh. Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
- Stay Hydrated: Even mild dehydration can affect your mood. Stay hydrated by making sure to drink the recommend intake each day.
- Journaling: Write it down. Just putting your thoughts down on paper can help keep things in perspective and relieve your anxiety.
- Support Groups: Join a support group or find yourself a Myeloma Coach and stay in touch with them. Our Myeloma Coaches are wonderful and are there to help you. Having that support will help calm your anxiety.
- Medication: There is nothing shameful about getting help for your anxiety. When all else fails, talk to your doctor about prescribing an anti anxiety medication.