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A Constant Negative Mindset is Detrimental to Your Health

It seems obvious that a negative mental mindset would cause depression. When you’re often thinking negatively it’s hard to feel like things are going well in life. Most people don’t like to hang out with people who are almost always moody, and those who do stick around can get sucked into that negative mental mindset as well. So thinking negatively all the time is bad for relationships too. Not having good relationships perpetuates this cycle of depression, and it can become something that’s really hard to escape. If you don’t learn to manage this mindset it could literally kill you. Depression can lead to suicide, but the habit of negative thinking also leads to other potentially deadly consequences. It increases your blood pressure and raises your risk of heart disease and stroke. Because negativity also makes it harder to manage weight, it can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes. A negative thinking habit suppresses the immune system, and studies have linked negative thinking to the development and lower survival rates of cancer. Below are three keys to help you master how to remain calm:

1) Learn That It's Okay to Not to be Okay.

Don’t Bottle Up Your Feelings

This may sound counter-intuitive to managing a healthy positive mindset, but it’s actually OKAY to be HONEST with ourselves and our emotions. Denying our feelings doesn’t solve anything. So don’t just bottle up your emotions. I don’t think our culture just has problems with toxic masculinity. While many boys are told not to cry and are urged to “man up,” women apologize for crying and falling apart in front of others, and we’re called unmentionable names when we throw the occasional public rant. Society has literally been telling us to do the opposite of what’s healthy. It’s no wonder there’s a rise in cancer and other health problems. While it’s not good to ALWAYS rant or fall apart, if we don’t identify bad emotions then we won’t know how to deal with them. Internal conflict can literally eat away at us from the inside out. It can cause ulcers and stress on our organs. 

Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself. Allow Yourself to Fail

It’s okay to fail. It’s not learning from failure that’s worse than failure itself. So if you slip and throw a tantrum, remember that you can always reset and recharge. Take a moment to see if you can learn from what made you fly off the handle. If someone is being unforgiving toward you because you weren’t managing yourself perfectly in their eyes then the issue could be them rather than you. They may be acting out of jealousy, not even be aware of how their behavior and attitude toward you is affecting you, or not be masters at handling their own emotions. Keep working on you, and leave them to work on themselves. If they can’t respect the boundary of leaving your control of emotions up to you then it’s time to cut ties – – especially if you’re fighting cancer and in the midst of treatments.

It’s Okay to Ask for Help

Sometimes depression is out of our hands. We do everything right. We own our emotions. We don’t let our emotions control us. We eat all the right foods at all the right times. We exercise. We journal. We work on our relationships. Yet we still wake up feeling depressed. Sometimes depression is not due to something we failed to do. Sometimes it’s due to a chemical or hormonal imbalance. That can be especially true if you had hormone positive breast cancer. You’re taking a drug to lower your hormone levels, and that can send your mood into a nose dive. Don’t be ashamed. Speak up with concerns. Bring issues forth to your oncologist so he or she can prescribe you with something to help you manage your mood and have a better quality of life. You can also seek out a support group. There are many breast cancer support groups where other survivors are feeling the same way you’re feeling. It’s not so much about commiserating as it is about knowing there’s not something wrong with you. It’s actually a pretty common problem to find ourselves having trouble managing our emotions when we’re dealing with cancer treatments. 

2) Understand What a Maximum Mental Mindset Actually Is

A Maximum Mental Mindset Does NOT Mean You’re Always Happy

Being emotionally and spiritually healthy does NOT mean that you’re never angry, frustrated, or sad. Having a maximum mental mindset means you’ve learned to MANAGE your emotions. Being emotionally and mentally healthy means you’ve learned to control your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors rather than allowing your thoughts, feelings and behaviors to control you. It’s identifying the emotions and instructing those emotions to go away or be curbed into more productive outcomes. 

 

Don’t Force Happiness. Learn Genuine Happiness. 

Being truly happy frees us to be more motivated to work toward goals and positive outcomes. True happiness makes us more likely to seek out resources to meet our goals. When we’re truly happy we’re more likely stay focused on maximum health and a fulfilling life.

 

Be Aware of What You Can Control & Get Help When You Need It

Take a piece of paper. Fold it in half. On one side, write down what’s out of your control. On the other side, write down what you can control. Take action on what you can control and let the rest go. You’re also free to take this a step further, and pray for God to give you the strength to let go of the things out of your control. Pray to Him and give him that control so you can rest in His peace. (For more scripture related advice on managing emotions join PWCG)

 

Keep Track of What Triggers Your Anger, Frustration, and Sadness

Keep a diary, and keep it on hand so you can learn to take control of your emotions. When you feel an emotion trying to take over write it down. Name it. Write down the situation that put you in that mood. Write down the day and time that you felt that way. Then write down what you can and can’t do to manage the situation. This has several benefits. It gets you in the habit of stopping and identifying your emotions. It also may help you recognize situations you can either avoid or better prepare for to help curb or even harness the emotion in the future.

 

Learn to Express Your Feelings Effectively

Think before acting. Write down what’s bothering you. Vent your feelings by writing them down on paper. If you’d regret saying these feelings out loud you can throw the paper away once you gain control over how you’re reacting to the situation.  If you still need to address someone for their part in a situation then you can organize your feelings in writing before confronting them. You don’t want to make the person you’re talking to feel like you’re putting them in a corner, so be mindful and try to use “I feel” statements rather than “you” statements. 

 

Don’t Unleash the Beast. Learn to Tame Her.

You control your emotions. Don’t let your emotions control you. Think of it like training a dog. YOU take control. You don’t let the dog drag you across the side walk in pursuit of a cat or squirrel. You train the dog before this is likely to happen by refusing to move forward until they acknowledge your presence and your commands. If they don’t sit, they don’t go anywhere. If they don’t heel, they go back to sitting.Take a yoga class or speak to a therapist or psychologist that can help you discover techniques to take charge of your stress. Take in a deep breath and then slowly let it out. This gives you a chance to think before you react, and it physically calms you down. Meditate on positive thoughts to help you replace negative emotions with positive thinking. Venting out frustration in a constructive exercise such as jogging or kickboxing helps you relieve stress and let go of negative emotions. It also has the added benefit of  being good for your general health. 

3) Learn to Flip Your Prespective

Success Does Not Equal Happiness. Happiness Equals Success

Happiness is not a destination. It’s a state of mind. True success means to bloom wherever you’re planted. Instead of letting circumstances bury you under a pile of negative emotions harness situations to let them develop you into a stronger person. Be planted, not buried.You may or may not arrive at certain destinations. However, the growth you make from your set backs will make you more likely to meet your goals, and if you don’t meet your goals because of circumstances then at least you became a stronger person because of the set backs rather than allowing the set backs ruin you.  

Be in the Present. It’s a Gift.

“Present” means “here and now”. We never enjoy the other “present,” or “gift” if we’re never in the present time.  If we’re stuck in the past we’re too bogged down with regrets and failures to see the blessings right in front of us. If we’re too preoccupied with the future we won’t see the blessings around us. Remember that feeling you probably had as a child on your birthday? You couldn’t wait to see the surprises you could unwrap. If you live your live in the present you can have that feeling all the time. Those that learn to live in the present see the present. Each day becomes a gift rather than just another day. 

Look for Buried Treasures

My heart goes back to childhood and going to the Outer Banks with my family. On almost every trip I’d find a sand dollar to take home. They used to be easy to find. I’d be delighted to find one in nature today rather than easily purchase one in a gift shop. Many blessings are obvious. It’s easy to be happy when things are going well. When you have your health, when you have a close and loving family, when your job is going well and you don’t have to worry where the money will come from to pay the bills, those are all obvious blessings. Yet, when you find a new and genuine friend who “gets it,” who is going through cancer like you have, you have a bond like you may have never known before. When you and your family see what it’s like to not have full health, you appreciate each and every day because you’re very much aware that you’re not guaranteed the next day.  Some days are easier than others. Some days we don’t have to dig to find the joy in life. On other days we have to dig a LOT, but we should NEVER stop digging to find the joy and purpose that life can bring. We should ALWAYS try to turn our challenges into opportunities. What can we learn? How will our situation equip us to help others appreciate life more? These are the hidden blessings in life: turning frustrations over and into opportunities. 

Learn to Keep Negative Situations in Perspective

So you got a breast cancer diagnosis. Does that mean you’re going to die from breast cancer? It’s possible. Does that mean you’re going to die tomorrow? You’re most likely not going to die tomorrow, but none of us are guaranteed the next day. Imagine yourself on your death bed. Which is more devastating? 1) You realize you didn’t truly live because you were so caught up in worry and the details of each day that you failed to truly enjoy the gift life can be? OR 2) You lived each day to the fullest, living in the present as much as possible, and dying feels like you’re mostly just packing up for new adventures in a place you’ve never been? Is cancer treatment easy? I don’t think I’ve met a person yet who’d tell you that it is. Yet almost everyone I’ve met who has endured treatment is simply happy to have another chance to get life right – – to live in the present as fully as possible, and love life because it truly is precious. Each one has learned what really matters. 

Look for Connections

Connections give us purpose,, and our circumstances often help us find the most meaningful connections. Don’t force connections. Simply seek out your tribe. Hang out with people where natural connections arise. Attitudes are contagious. So spend time around positive people. Negative people drag others down with them and they repel. Positive people inspire others to rise up, and they attract. If you find that positive thinkers tend to steer clear of you maybe they’re trying to stay away from a negative mindset they see in you. If you feel this is possible then work on your mindset. You’d be amazed by how much you can attract positive thinkers toward you by being outwardly positive yourself. If there’s a negative person you’re dealing with refuse to allow their toxic behavior to affect you. When they start acting negative leave their presence or change the subject. Don’t let them witness getting the better of you. If there’s a way to cut ties with them don’t feel bad about cutting off their toxicity – – even if this is a family member. You show them how you want to be treated. Forgive as much as you want to be forgiven, but let them know that they determine how much time you spend with them by whether or not they respect your wish to remove toxicity. 

 

Learning to managed our emotions is just once piece of the puzzle in living a healthier lifestyle. I have more tips and ideas you can follow to help you optimize your breast cancer treatment, reduce treatment side effects, and live an abundant life. You can follow me here, and wait for a post to come up on a new tip, or you join my community and access my full premium content library. I look forward to my experience as a fellow breast cancer survivor being something that can help you and encourage you.  

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