Those of us living with a diagnosis of cancer experience various forms of mental and physical stress regularly. Unfortunately, chronic stress can contribute to lowered immunity, insomnia, and low mood. The ability to manage our stress in a positive way is the hallmark of resilience and is linked to greater longevity, lower rates of depression and a more positive outlook on life. In the face of adversity, some of us may be more naturally resilient than others but thankfully resilience is a skill that can be learned over time.
Here are three different strategies that can help increase your resilience to stress:
- Mindfulness practices: Regular practice of mindfulness techniques such as meditation, visualization or breathing exercises help us remain grounded and increase our ability to maintain a non-judgemental awareness of the present moment. In this way, these practices buffer many different types of distress such as anxiety, worry, fear, anger, and rumination. The more we practice mindfulness techniques, the better we become at remaining calm and composed during stressful situations. Consider registering for our free online yoga and mindfulness programs to learn more. A simple way to practice mindfulness is to start a gratitude journal.
- Social support: Our friends and family can play an important role in helping us build up our resilience when it comes to major life challenges, such as navigating a cancer diagnosis. For example, our social support network can provide empathy, helping us manage our negative emotions. Consider reaching out to family or close friends the next time you find yourself in stressful circumstances.
- Laughter: Finding humour in everyday situations or simply watching a funny video or TV show can help relieve your stress response in the short term. Making a regular habit of laughing can help provide pain relief and result in improvements in your immunity in the long term.
Author: Dr. Sukriti Bhardwaj, ND