Author, nurse, wife, mom, cancer survivor
Furthermore, stress and anxiety tend to contribute to poor emotional health which can weaken your immune system, thereby making you more susceptible to colds, and infections and in more extreme cases, cancer.
Recent studies performed by UCLA scientists reveal how stress makes people more susceptible to illness. One scientist, Rita Effros, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and a member of the Jonsson Cancer Center, Molecular Biology Institute and UCLA AIDS Institute. says, “When the body is under stress, it boosts production of cortisol to support a “fight or flight" response. If the hormone remains elevated in the bloodstream for long periods of time, though, it wears down the immune system.”
1) Lead a balanced life – minimize obsessions
2) Be resilient
3) Eat well and exercise regularly
4) Meditate to calm your mind and body
5) Express yourself through writing or another art form
As a nurse, writer and journaling advocate, I have found that both writing and meditating do a world of wonders to minimize my own stress and have helped me through many turbulent times in my own life, including three high-risk pregnancies, death of loved ones and more recently, two bouts with cancer.
When we are dealing with stress, writing is an effective way to ground us and help us gain clarity about what we are going through. This benefits our emotional health. Writing can quiet the agitated mind. It empowers us and improves our communication skills. It’s also a safe place to vent bottled-up emotions. Writing brings you face to face with your own truth and reality which can help you work through your problems.
Dr. James Pennebaker, author of WRITING TO HEAL, has spent more than 25 years studying the link between writing and health. He found that writing about strong feelings improves both our mental and physical health. Not only is it important to write about the sad moments, but it’s important to also write about the happy moments in our lives too.
Here are some tips to keep in mind about journaling:
1) Choose a notebook or journal which resonates with you
2) Choose a pen which is comfortable in your hand
3) Find a place where you will be uninterrupted whether it in your office, in the bookstore, mall or a park
4) Date your entries
5) Write for at least 15-20 minutes each day
6) Start by writing, “I feel ..” and continue the sentence
7) Write quickly and keep the hand moving. Write through the negative thoughts and honor wherever your mind goes. The thoughts do not have to be connected. There does not have to be a beginning, middle and end
8) Brag, exaggerate, be happy or sad
9) Be as honest as possible. Allow gut reactions and intuitions to come forth
10) After writing, take a break; go for a walk or run
Diana, thank you for sharing with us. I must add that Diana's proceeds from her book are donated to Mayo Clinic. Kudos to you, Diana!
One person who commented last Monday on the review of Diana's book or today on her post will receive a copy of Diana's book, HEALING WITH WORDS. Be sure to leave your email in your comment so I can contact you if you win.
Reminder--if you haven't had your mammogram this year, schedule it today! Early detection is key.