6 Ways to Calm Cancer or Covid Fear
Many cancer survivors experience fear and terror over and over again, beginning with when they are first diagnosed. Neuroscience teaches that under a real (or perceived) threat of danger, our bodies go into fight, flight, or freeze mode in order to survive.
In addition to pre-existing and recurring fear, we’re in an especially frightening time and an unfamiliar world right now. It’s important to take time to care for ourselves, especially when cancer, covid or both are driving our fear.
Here are six ways to soothe and care for yourself:
- Recognize the system. Fight, flight or freeze is a normal biological reaction. It is a perfectly understandable and adaptive initial phase of coping. Be as kind and compassionate to yourself as possible. Give yourself credit for making it through each day. You are doing the best you can!
- Reach out. When you feel the fear taking over again and your breath getting shallow, call a friend who can handle it, talk to a trusted family member, therapist or support group. Let yourself cry. Let someone comfort and connect with you.
- Get connected. Find ways to feel connected to your body. Run, walk, swim, put on music and dance, do yoga. Feel and move your body. Enjoy your circulation, your ability to stretch and your physical sensations. Even a few minutes of one of these activities can make a huge difference.
- Stay grounded. Sense your belonging to the earth. Feel the safety of gravity keeping you attached to the floor or ground. Feel the parts of your body that are touching the ground, the soil, natural bodies of water, your chair or the floor.
- Just breathe. Observe your breathing without judging it. Enjoy the pulse of life within you as you expand and contract in each moment and with each breath.
- Get it out. Write about your feelings. Express all of it in a journal, telling your unvarnished and uncensored truth.