Taking Care of My Mental Health

As the years go by, boosting my mental health remains one of my priorities for survivorship. As I navigate my life with my illness, other mind-body practices can reduce my cancer discomfort and increase positive effects on my anxiety, depression, fears, and sleep.

Using driving as therapy

Since last year, I have been driving to my appointments and doing errands. I never thought that driving for a short distance could be a promising therapy for my mental health.

Driving gave me a sense of routine and purpose. What a fantastic way to divert my mind from different emotions brought on by my medical condition. It is time to appreciate doing something for myself and others.

Aromatherapy and massage therapy

My husband and I enjoy quality time together, adding essential oils to enhance our couple's massage therapy. Full body massage and aromatherapy massage have been our choice. Both the mind and the body get the combined benefits like complete relaxation, pain management, and improved mood.

Breathing through the aroma of essential oils has directly influenced our emotions. We try to schedule the therapy quarterly, so our health insurance can cover the costs.

My music therapy

I find listening to music can be comforting and relaxing. Music therapy has a peaceful way of reducing my fear, anxiety, anger, and other emotional responses caused by having lung cancer.

Furthermore, moving to music and singing improves my emotional and physical well-being. The beat and rhythm of the music changed my focus to serenity. I agree that music therapy cannot cure, treat, or prevent any cancer.

To breathe and exhale

A relaxed breathing pattern has helped me manage my stress-related conditions from lung cancer. Besides, the breathing control from yoga, Tai chi, or Qigong promotes calmness and control stress hormones.

Consciously taking a deep breath, exhaling slowly, and then repeating has adjusted my nervous system. Hence, there will be less anxiety, insomnia, stress, sleep problems, and depression.

My prayer meditation

My meditation is through my prayers. I have a phone app where I record all my prayers for myself and others. I am asking God to come into the space with me every moment.

When God hears my prayers, I praise and thank Him. In addition, I meditate on God’s words and promises. These meditation activities minimize stress and anxiety.

Dealing with my fears

Certain events in my cancer treatment can trigger my fears. One is the spread of lung cancer to other parts of the body; mine moved to the brain at diagnosis. I am thankful my TKI has put it under control for more than five years.

Another concern that creates fear in me is cancer progression, meaning my lung cancer tumor growth or my TKI will stop working. My fears keep coming after CT scans and MRIs.

Taking care of mental health

Finding activities that will take my mind off all sorts of negative emotions helps. Being open about my fears and anxiety to my family, friends, other cancer survivors, and my provider has benefits. All my cancer struggles turn into hope that my God is always with me and in control.

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