Monthly Archives: December 2015

Pleasant Activities

Hello everyone,

As you know, it’s important to have joy and happiness in your life in order to reduce stress and be a happy and healthy person. Feel free to read the list of activities below and incorporate some into your life if you wish to increase your joy and happiness.

Pleasant Activities

  1. Taking a warm bath
  2. Going for a walk in the park
  3. Listening to music
  4. Watching youtube clips
  5. Stretching
  6. Looking at trees
  7. Feeling the sunshine on your face
  8. Laughing
  9. Talking to friends
  10. Reading the magazine or news paper
  11. Looking at pictures that bring back happy memories
  12. Going home from work
  13. Eating a special treat
  14. Practicing yoga
  15. Dancing
  16. Repairing things
  17. Building things
  18. Planting seeds and watching them grow
  19. Doodling
  20. Singing
  21. Practicing a religion (going to church, temple, meditation)
  22. Engage your senses (smell flowers, watch the sunset, feel soft fabric)
  23. Making a list of things you like about yourself
  24. Going to the beach
  25. Painting
  26. Writing poetry
  27. Knitting
  28. Volunteering at an animal shelter
  29. Day dreaming
  30. Cooking
  31. Having a morning coffee
  32. Reading a good book
  33. Photography
  34. Walking around the mall
  35. Writing a letter
  36. Dancing to music at home
  37. Acting
  38. Doing a drop in comedy class
  39. Cleaning
  40. Remembering pleasant activities you’ve done in the past
  41. Doing a crossword puzzle
  42. Dressing up and looking nice
  43. Doing a puzzle
  44. Lighting candles
  45. Talking on the phone
  46. Going to a museum
  47. Playing cards
  48. Solving riddles
  49. Playing computer games
  50. Having lunch with a friend

 

Therapy to Prevent Cancer?

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Therapy to Prevent Cancer?

By: Angela Englander December 20, 2015

I’m sure you’ve heard that stress is hard on the body, maybe you have been told to treat yourself better or that self-care is important. Has anyone told you that certain personality traits and thought patterns could be putting you at a higher risk for cancer? This article explores the personality traits and choices that put some people at a much higher risk for developing cancer while other people do not have as high of a risk. Through exploring psychoneuroimmunology and epigenetics new insight into the disease process and healing from the inside out can be gained. After completing the short self-reporting questions, read through the suggestions below and remember to e-mail angela@waystowellbeing.ca if you have any questions!

Although people are in no way, shape, or form to blame for developing cancer or any other disease. There could be some ways to reduce the risk of developing cancer. I was very surprised to stumble upon so many seemingly positive and pro-social personality traits and choices that could put someone at a higher risk. To determine if your personality and choices could be putting you at a higher risk for cancer, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I go out of my way to make other people happy?
  • Do I regularly put the needs of other people ahead of my own needs?
  • Do I push myself to achieve things even when I am exhausted?
  • Do I feel like relaxing and taking time to myself is a waste of valuable time?
  • I have a lot to worry about?
  • Am I keeping a secret that I would be ashamed if people found out about?
  • Did I experience being sexually or physically abused (especially before the age of 18)?
  • I have a deep hatred for myself?
  • I am unworthy of love?
  • I have a hard time to express my anger and hurt feelings?
  • I have a hard time asking people for a favour or saying no to a request?
  • I regularly volunteer and give to others?
  • I don’t know what I want or I don’t know my purpose?
  • I feel confused about who I am?
  • I put the needs of my friends, children, partner, and parents before my own needs?

The more questions you said yes to, the higher your potential risk for developing cancer at some point. I am not saying doing any of the above things is a bad thing, balance is the key factor here. The great news is that there are many ways to challenge and change choices and patterns of interactions that will decrease your stress and lower your risk for developing cancer. The following strategies may be key ingredients to your healthy and happy life:

Learning to let go

Letting go is a really hard thing to do. Setting ourselves free from the negative and critical things we have been told about ourselves. Learning to love ourselves and accept ourselves as we are. There are a number of reasons we hold on to the past so tightly, sometimes it is the only connection we have to our parents, sometimes it helps us to understand who we are and define ourselves, other times it helps us to feel grounded in an otherwise chaotic world.

Take a deep breath, feel the warm air entering your body, filling your lungs and diaphragm with health and vitality. As you slowly breathe out picture yourself releasing the stress and tension from your system. As you take another deep breath in, visualize bringing vitality and positive energy into your system. Feel the positive energy going from your lung into your core. As you exhale realize you are taking a step towards the self-care and healing you deserve. Feel free to take a couple more deep and healing breaths, you deserve them.

Being Present in your Body

Being present in your body can be a very hard thing to do, this skill is especially hard for people that have experienced violations to their boundaries because indeed their body was not safe in those experiences. This is a healing day, you can be safe in your body now and learn how to be present and aware of your body, you can learn the skills you need to be safe now.

If you have not experienced violations, have successfully gained safety in therapy, or are feeling like you want to be present in your body and gain an awareness of your body’s needs. This exercise is called the body scan. This mindfulness based exercise works by building the brain maps for various areas of your body and helping bring a conscious awareness to the signals your body is sending you.

This exercise is suitable for people with all types of bodies and ability levels, if any body parts are experiencing pain, numbing, or no sensation at all simply close your eyes and visualize that part of your body healing. Begin by focusing on your toes, perhaps you can feel them on the ground, feel whether you are wearing socks or are barefoot. Visualize your feet as a healthy and vital part of your body system. Think of how feet impact your life. Next move up to your legs. If possible gently squeeze your shins or thighs with your hand. Can you feel the pressure or the warmth or coolness of your legs? Visualize the energy pathways in your legs, what colour are they? Slowly move your focus to your hips. As you move closer to your hips and core some people who have experienced sexual violation may feel themselves getting nervous, remind yourself that you are safe in this moment in time and continue. Feel your hips and bottom against the surface you are sitting on. Close your eyes and visualize your hips, do you see a colour or feel a particular temperature? Can you tense and release your muscles? Slowly move your attention to your abdomen. Is it quiet or do you hear a rumbling? Is there any tightness or tension in this part of your body? Put your hand on your abdomen and take a deep breath, can you feel your abdomen expanding as it fills with air? Realize the amazing capabilities your abdomen may have to help you absorb nutrients or expand to allow more air into your system. Move your attention up to your shoulders. Gently move your shoulders from side to side, do you feel any tension or tightness? Cross your arms across your chest and give yourself a hug. You have done well during this body scan exercise. If you would like you can take a minute to focus on your head and neck and face. Paying attention to various feature and organs you have and their purpose in your life.

Finding yourself

Lastly we will take a moment to focus on gaining identity and finding yourself. People who give too much and struggle to say no often also have a hard time describing themselves and understanding who they are. They may feel confused and unsure of who they are and what they really want. Feel free to grab a piece of paper and answer a couple simple questions to help you figure out who you are. At the top of the page write your name. Write out your favourite food, your favourite ice cream flavour, or the last thing you ate. Next write out your favourite show, movie, or the last thing you watched on a television. Have you read any good books or magazines recently? Write down something you learned or enjoyed or found amusing while you were reading. Although these may seem like simple things to write, they begin to draw your attention to facts about yourself which helps your brain to both accept yourself and conceptualize who you are and what you enjoy. Developing an identity and sense of self is much like building a muscle, it takes focus, perseverance, and consciously paying attention.

I hope you have enjoyed this article and are a step closer to healing and preventing cancer and other diseases. You deserve to be happy and healthy. If you feel like you need more support in changing patterns that are increasing your potential risk of cancer and other diseases please reach out to me, your doctor, your therapist, or other healing professionals in your community. Have a great day and as always, good luck on your healing journey.

References: Attitudes and Cancer. (2014). Retrieved December 20, 2015, from http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/emotionalsideeffects/attitudes-and-cancer

Bond, L. (2015). The Cancer Personality. Retrieved December 20, 2015, from http://www.laura-bond.com/2011/09/the-cancer-personality/

Mate, G. (2015). When the Body Says No – Dr. Gabor Maté. Retrieved December 20, 2015, from http://drgabormate.com/book/when-the-body-says-no/

Wellisch, D. & Yager, J. (2008). Is there a cancer-prone personality? Cancer Journal for Clinicians 33 (3) 145-153

 

Hormones and Depression

How the body works

Hormonal imbalances 

Hormone imbalance has been known to contribute to a variety of problems from pains to cramps to mood swings to anxiety and depression as well as a number of other problems. These hormone imbalances are especially troubling for women who have more of a natural hormone fluctuation than men. Some symptoms of low estrogen for example include foggy thinking, hot flashes, depression, memory lapses, forgetfulness, sleeping problems, and problems with bone density. Some symptoms of high estrogen include anxiety and irritability, cramps, and increased triglyceride levels. Some of these symptoms are very similar to hormone imbalances from thyroid dysfunction. Hyperthyroidism can cause hand tremors, nervousness, hot flashes, sweating, joint pain, insomnia, and poor concentration. Hypothyroidism on the other hand can cause exhaustion, constipation, weight gain, feeling cold, depression, and puffy eyes. As you can see the symptoms of estrogen imbalance and thyroid hormone imbalance are very similar as are the symptoms of some other hormonal imbalances. When the endocrine system is struggling there are a number of ways we can help it regain balance including getting enough sleep at night, eating a healthy and balanced diet, and listening to the signals your body is sending you!

References: http://www.integrativepsychiatry.net/hormone_balance.html

 

Chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, and other toxins

Chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, and other toxins

Studies have shown that depression may be associated with toxins from pesticides, herbicides, and other toxins. These chemicals can potentially interfere with neuronal processes in the brain and lead to toxic build-ups in the tissue. To prevent these chemical effects some people choose to use more natural and body friendly approaches to cleaning, insect control, and house cleaning. Some examples of natural solutions include:

Using vinegar as a weed killerweeds and vinegar

Using salt to get rid of slugssalt and slugs

Using essential oils to

make deodorizers andWhat-Are-Essential-Oils

bathroom sprays

References: Koifman, S. (2013). Pesticides, depression and suicide: A systemic review of the epidemiological evidence. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 216(4) 445

http://www.tipjunkie.com/post/homemade-cleaners/

Exercise – My Ability to Cope with Trauma

Exercise: My Ability to Cope with Trauma

_______ I like to be with people

_______ I am open to new experiences

_______ I do what I say I will do

_______ I am an agreeable person

_______ I believe my power lies within me

_______ I am confident in my own ability to cope with situations

_______ I try to find meaning in what happened to me

_______ I try to break down bad situations into manageable parts I can handle

_______ I am motivated to solve the problems that occur in my life

_______ I am generally an optimistic person – I can see more positive than negative

_______ I take control in situations whenever possible, or I try to take control

_______ I like a good challenge and I rise to the occasion

_______ I am committed to overcoming the bad things I have experienced

_______ I have a good social support network and there are people I can talk to

_______ I understand my life’s circumstances are what I can and cannot do about them

_______ I have a sense of humor

_______ I have a sense of hope

_______ I like to try new things or look at things in new ways

_______ I am open to how other people feel

_______ I am an action-oriented person, I would rather do something than have it done for me

_______ I try to make plans and structure my own life

 

 

 

What do you notice about yourself when reading the statements you checked?

 

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

 

How many items did you check? ___________________________________________________

 

Did you notice a pattern between those you did check and those you didn’t check?

 

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

 

Tell me a bit more about your strengths and skills that have helped you get to this point:

 

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

 

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

 

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Trauma Related Beliefs

Trauma Related Beliefs

Check the beliefs that apply to you and then write about a situation in which that belief was created. Try to be specific when describing the situation, are any of these situations trauma related?

_____ I believe I am a victim and that my troubles are someone else’s fault

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that I can’t do things because I am physically or emotionally incapable of doing them. (“I can’t” generally means “I won’t or “I don’t want to”)

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that my actions don’t impact others. My actions don’t harm them or cause them emotional pain

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe I am unwilling or unable to put myself in others’ place

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe I am unwilling to do something that is disagreeable to me

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe I have no money, time, etc., to spare when other people ask me to do things

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that I develop aches and pains in order to avoid doing things that I don’t want to do

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe I often don’t have enough energy to do things – particularly when I don’t want to do them

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that I don’t have to live up to obligations – It’s ok to say “I forgot” or just ignore responsibilities

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that I frequently expect others to do what I want them to do, even if they don’t understand my reasoning

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe I am entitled to use others’ property as if it were my own, and to borrow things without permission

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that my “wants” are really my “rights”

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that others betray my trust regularly and therefore cannot be trusted at all

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that things will happen because I think they will

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that I can make decisions without finding out the facts

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that I am right and that my point of view is right, even when evidence says that it’s wrong.

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that even when I am proven wrong I must cling to my original position

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that thinking ahead and planning ahead are unnecessary or not useful

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that I am always supposed to win and that failure is not an option

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that fear is a weakness, so I deny that I am afraid even when I am

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that expressions of anger, like direct threats, intimidation, sarcasm, or passive-aggressiveness, are good ways to get what I want from people

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that if something doesn’t turn out the way I expect it to I will be criticized and found to be a failure

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that I will be let down by others

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that I will win in any struggle because I have power

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that debating is enjoyable in and of itself

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________