This is a guest post contributed by Ryan Rivera of CalmClinic.com. We hope these tips can help patients and their loved ones when facing cancer.
Living with cancer is difficult enough. Allowing that cancer diagnosis to also cause significant stress and anxiety is an extra burden. Patients deserve the best quality of life possible – especially while they’re facing cancer. When anxiety starts to hold them back, that ability is inhibited. Cancer already has enough control of their lives. Anxiety shouldn’t take over the rest of it.
It’s easy for someone without cancer to try to encourage the idea of anxiety recovery, but in practice, it is very difficult. Being faced with mortality and pain on a daily basis is consistently frightening and something that others are lucky enough not to deal with themselves. It’s nearly impossible to tell someone they need to be able to control their anxiety and depression when faced with such challenges. Nevertheless, it is an important part of ensuring that every day is as productive and enjoyable as possible.
Here are some tips on how to fight anxiety while battling cancer:
For some reason, therapy has taken on a negative connotation, but it’s the only way to treat anxiety that has been tested in major research labs throughout the world and been consistently proven to work. There is simply no denying that therapy is a valuable option. If patients have the ability to see a therapist or counselor to discuss the issues that are causing anxiety, it’s crucial they take advantage of it.
It’s also important to set and try to reach goals. Cancer – and all serious illnesses – causes patients to focus on the present. That’s a classic anxiety mistake. Too much focus on the present means they’re not accomplishing as much in the future, and accomplishment is an important part of happier living. It doesn’t matter what these goals are. What matters is that throughout treatment, patients continue to have goals to work toward.
Another important strategy is simply pretending to be more positive than patients actually feel. Everyone gets into negativity habits. Breaking those habits comes from pretending the habit isn’t there. It may feel completely unnatural, but the more patients pretend to be positive, the more that positivity will rub off on their actual life outlook.
Support Groups/Social Goals
Sometimes, a common reason for anxiety during cancer treatments is not the fear of death. It’s the fear of being alone. That’s why the more time patients spend with others, the better they’ll feel. They should join support groups or do their best to gather together with friends and family whenever possible. It can be hard to feel comfortable when treatments are the elephant in the room, but if patients open about their feelings, they’ll find ways to break through that tension and genuinely feel the support from everyone around them.
It’s important to be aware of the anxiety symptoms. Oftentimes, those dealing with life-threatening illnesses try to fight their anxiety, or justify them as uncontrollable. Patients need to learn to become more in tune with how they feel. When they feel themselves getting anxious, they have to learn to accept it and find ways to calm their mind and body.
Overcoming Anxiety to Overcome the Stress of a Diagnosis
Living with cancer is extremely difficult. Patients should never let anxiety control their ability to enjoy life outside of treatments. Regardless of the type of cancer, they deserve to live as happily as possible. When they start to struggle with anxiety, their quality of life suffers as a result.
My best advice: Don’t be afraid to seek help for anxiety and fears, and remember that you have the right to enjoy every moment you can. Cancer can never take that away from you.
About the Author: Ryan Rivera has seen the way cancer can affect the lives of others. He has a website with more anxiety information – www.calmclinic.com.