After a breast cancer diagnosis, a range of negative emotions may overcome you, including self-pity and hopelessness. You may ask yourself, “Why me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” Go ahead and acknowledge the shock, anger, and fear that accompany breast cancer. Sometimes sadness creeps up on you, and one of the most effective ways to deal with it is to identify it, and then decide how to handle it.
When you recognize the problem, you can short-circuit habitual distress and replace it with more positive feelings. While it may be difficult to stay positive, trying to keep your spirits up can help you get through treatment by reducing stress.
When you’re feeling down and need a pick-me-up, here are some things you can do to develop a more positive attitude.
10. Encourage Yourself Visually
Sometimes, what you see is simply what you get, so start a project to create tools of visual encouragement like a dream wall. Sort through photos, scrapbooks, drawers, and boxes to find your favorite memories that you can use to make your own wall of inspiration. Savor each memory as you handle the objects and affirm wanting to feel that way again. If you see pictures in magazines that depict what you want to do in the future, put those on your dream wall as well. Let your wall inspire you.
9. Break Life Down Into Small Steps
Look at life as a series of small steps that can get you where you want to go. Determine what it is you want to do and follow the necessary steps to get there. Maybe you planned to publish a coffee-table book, which seems like a broken dream after a breast cancer diagnosis. While it’s a big undertaking, don’t dismiss the effort and energy you’ve already put into that dream. Start by taking some of the great photographs you wanted to include in the book, and just enjoy the camera again, one snap at a time.
8. Nurture Another Living Thing
Even when you can’t take care of your whole family or manage the universe like you used to do, others still need you. There are still things you can do while your loved ones may be helping out around the house. Find a plant or a small pet that you can nurture. Taking care of a furry friend or maintaining healthy, beautiful plants can boost your mood and help you feel empowered. A better mood equates to a happier you, and it helps you create a healthier environment overall.
7. Talk Yourself Up
Henry Ford once said, “Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.” When you find your inner voice getting all judgy and negative, let her speak and then tell her to go back to sleep. For every negative thought about your self-worth, self-esteem, and abilities that enters your mind, remind yourself of who you are and where you want to go in life. Talk yourself up as many times a day as necessary. Go on, you’re the only one who’s listening.
6. Choose a Cuddle Buddy
Sometimes a good hug or cuddle buddy can go a long way. Embrace your loved ones around you, whether it’s your pet, your child, or your significant other. The health benefits of hugging have been well-documented. Let your loved ones try to hug away your unease and impart their strength to you.
5. Write in Your Journal
Expressing yourself is like therapy, so try writing in a journal. Get the hurt feelings on paper, and see if it makes you feel better. Or you can write down a funny joke that you read or heard and giggle freely. If you don’t feel like writing, make some sketches, paint a picture, or play your guitar. Creating something that is uniquely yours can help you work through the darker times.
4. Take a Mini-Vacation
A mini-vacation — whether it’s sitting on a dock at the lake or going somewhere to read a few pages in a book — can lift your mood. It provides the change of scenery that helps you balance your life with the outside world. You do still belong in it, and walking through it, savoring special places or sights, and reframing your day can give you a new perspective to everything.
3. Go Out and Smell the Flowers
Get out of the house and enjoy nature. Smelling the flowers and taking in some fresh air can do wonders for your mood. You can simply go out for a walk, as just walking around the block increases your heart rate. Even mild exercise helps reduce anxiety and stress, and it helps you feel better about yourself.
2. Spend Time With Your Family
Those closest to you want to help out in any way they can, as they are just as scared, sad, and worried as you are. Lean on each other, and help yourself by allowing them to help you. Try to get everybody involved in doing something fun together. Maybe you all can go for a hike, or do something fun at home. An evening in the backyard making s’mores and telling stories works like a tonic to restore smiles to their faces. When they smile, you smile.
1. Volunteer to Help Others
One surefire way to beat the blues is to volunteer to help others in need. From serving meals to homeless people to handing out gifts to children during the holidays, nothing beats the feeling of seeing others uplifted. Forgetting your own troubles for a little while is an excellent mood booster.
Breast cancer is your diagnosis, but it does not have to define every way in which you live. Give yourself permission to grieve some, then empower yourself by preparing ways to cope when hopelessness and fear threaten to overshadow your existence. Live in each moment, try to experience with all of your senses what those moments hold, and should the moment fail you, use the tools you have to lift your mood as best you can.
The Breast Cancer Site is a place where supporters and survivors come together to help fight breast cancer. In addition to sharing personal stories of hope, shopping for the cause, and signing petitions, visitors can take just a moment each day to click on a pink button to provide free mammograms for women in need. Visit The Breast Cancer Site and click today - it's free!