Experiencing something as stressful as cancer can cause persistent negative thoughts. Diversions may alleviate your worries temporarily, but they can resurface during vulnerable or idle moments. You may feel overwhelmed, angry, lonely, anxious, helpless, or even self-destructive. As a result, you may find it challenging to eat, sleep, or enjoy the things you usually do. These thoughts, if perpetuated, may even lead to clinical depression.
To maintain a healthy mind, here are ten strategies that may help in handling negative thoughts.
1. Know what triggers your negative thoughts
Identifying the possible source of distress is key to self-awareness and positive change. Understanding the vicious cycle of negative thoughts may help you detach yourself before the feeling affects your behavior. Once you are aware of what triggers the negative feeling, you can then stop it from escalating.
You must also learn to avoid catastrophizing or making negative predictions prematurely. Sometimes, certain situations come with no answers, and acceptance becomes imperative to prevent worsened emotional distress.
2. Stay in the present
Nothing good will result from dwelling on your treatments or the fact you have a disease. Living in the moment is a powerful skill you can practice with breathing and meditation. By becoming more self-aware and mindful of your thoughts, actions, feelings, and experiences in the present moment, you will find yourself becoming more resilient and less reactive and agitated.
3. Do not lose sight of the positive things in life
At the end of every day, note the things you are grateful for. They need not be grand gestures or big events. They can be small blessings such as great weather, a heart-to-heart talk with your best friend, spending the day with your pet, or simply enjoying your favorite meal.
Keeping a gratitude journal or diary can help you remember the positive things in your life and find solace. This life-appreciation exercise enables you to open your mind and transform your negative views into more positive ones.
4. Schedule when you should entertain your worries
You have every right to worry and express your fears about the situation. However, it is never a good idea to spend all day caught up in your worries and anxieties.
As such, it is best to give yourself a schedule. Allocate 20 to 30 minutes every day, maybe before dinnertime, to indulge yourself in worries and fears. Throughout the day, when your troubles begin creeping in, remind yourself to postpone it to that specific time slot. This, in turn, can become your allocated space to explore your insecurities without making the entirety of your day a negative one.
5. Internalize a comforting phrase
During trying times, try to substitute negative thoughts with something that uplifts your mood and spirit. Go through inspirational or self-help books to find an empowering statement or prayer. Repeat this to yourself when negativity clouds your thoughts. As you consciously breathe in each positive word, you exhale your woes and anxieties.
6. Take inspiration from cancer survivors
During periods of distress, it may be useful to acknowledge that you are not alone. Many others had walked the same difficult path before emerging more resilient and positive.
Let the stories of cancer survivors encourage and strengthen you during your most challenging moments. Remind yourself regularly that you can not only survive, but also flourish.
7. Keep in touch with friends and family
Friends and family can be a valuable support system and source of good advice. In fact, they can also aid in lifting any depression that may settle in while you are undergoing cancer treatment.
When you are feeling dispirited, socializing with other people may feel like the least inviting prospect imaginable. However, keep in mind that they only want to provide company, lend an ear, or be a shoulder to lean on. Having someone you love to chat with you can help during the darkest of moments.
In addition, remember that no one is forcing you to communicate. Your friends and family will understand how emotionally draining cancer can be. Thus, you may reach out to others once you feel emotionally ready.
8. Stay informed about the process
Uncertainty or remaining clueless can make the fear of cancer treatment far worse. Therefore, it is essential to ask your healthcare team several questions about your disease and treatment. This will also help calm your anxieties before undergoing any new treatment. For example, grasping a better understanding of your diagnosis and treatment will give you a clearer picture of what to expect. The more information you gather, the fewer questions you will have.
9. Give yourself more time to rest
Constant worrying of the future can prevent your mind and body from getting the rest it needs. It is critical to get as much sleep as possible while going through treatment, mainly since proper sleep will help in keeping any negative emotions at bay.
One of the primary causes of anxiety and depressive symptoms is sleep deprivation. In fact, feeling unrested or tired can lead to poor decisions and negatively impact your mood.
10. Ask for help from counselors or other professionals
When negative thoughts and feelings begin overwhelming you, do not hesitate to seek help. There is nothing shameful or embarrassing about asking for help when you need it. If your train of thought continues heading towards a more negative route, or when it starts affecting your work, school, home routines, and relationships — do consider getting help from a counselor. He or she can support you during the phase of self-discovery, and change self-deprecating thoughts into life-affirming ones.
Find Hope Amidst Cancer
Cancer is a formidable enemy, and it can sometimes make the brightest personalities appear dark. However, despite an estimated 1,735,350 Americans being diagnosed with cancer each year, there is still a glimmering hope for many patients thanks to new treatments and a positive outlook. If you are seeking alternative therapies for cancer, contact New Hope Unlimited by dialing 480-757-6573. We have nearly 20 years of experience in treating more than 200 types of chronic degenerative diseases and immune disorders.