I believe that every single event in life happens in an opportunity to choose love over fear – Oprah
There are only really 2 emotions when it comes down to it; Love and fear. All our other feelings of anger, hatred, joy, contentment are just the manifestation of one or the other.
In the world we live in, with the lives we lead, it can be hard to choose love, and a lot of us survive mainly on fear. Whilst fear certainly has its place, and for our ancestors was critical in keeping them alive, our fear is very different these days. We aren’t running from lions anymore, we are fearful we won’t get a good enough job or fearful of the presentation we have to do tomorrow. Our world is fueled by fear, and our media and news outlets make it hard for us to escape from. Without us realising, it has become the norm for a lot of us.
When confronted with a potential threat or bodies kick into ‘fight or flight’ mode to deal with whatever awaits us, and prepares us to either fight or run. This shows up physically as an increased heart rate and adrenaline, over active muscle response and shuts down our gut to conserve energy until the situation is over. Our bodies don’t know the difference between the lion or the presentation we are anxiously waiting to give, it just knows we are scared, and will respond in exactly the same way for both, but our bodies were never designed to handle this daily fear.
There’s no shortness of evidence to show that being in a constant state of fear is not good for our health. If our parasympathetic nervous system is engaged too often it can seriously compromise our immune system. Fear, or emotions caused by fear, can therefore have a detrimental effect on our health, and is the root cause of most diseases, whether directly or indirectly.
Cancer is just one of these many things we are taught to fear. In my whole 32 years, I have known cancer to be the scariest thing that could ever happen to me, so much so that when I found out I had it, I sobbed the words ‘I don’t want to die!!’, even though I really had no connection to that emotion. I didn’t feel like I was dying, but I knew that was what was going to happen to me, because that’s all I have known of cancer. So, incomes irrational fear!
Psychologically there are a number of reason why we fear these situations, including cancer, all of which you will see have no real basis;
- The more pain and suffering we expect to feel, through the way things are portrayed to us, the scarier it is.
- The less control we feel we have over a situation, the more we fear it.
- If we believe something has been ‘done to us’ or inflicted on us, for example the ‘scary monster’ that is cancer, we fear it more.
- The greater mental availability we have of a situation, the more we fear it. So the very mention of the word brings on the fear.
In reality the fear we feel when faced with any situation, not just cancer, isn’t usually our fear at all. It is fear that has been taught to us and ingrained in us from childhood. The problem with disease is not the disease itself, but the phobia we have of it. If we can begin to change the perception we have, and understand disease more, we would certainly be able to reduce the fear people feel, and in turn we will no doubt see more people thriving.
The cancer we are shown through the media is often that of sad stories of sickness and death, as a way to pull on peoples heart strings, and scare people into checking themselves for signs and symptoms. We are told, the earlier we catch it, the easier it is to treat. Not such a positive story if its caught too late! Queue dramatic music over videos of pensive looking people!
When diagnosed we’re thrust into surgery and toxic treatment plans, and our lack of knowledge, and fear of the situation, means we don’t take a minute to digest what is actually happening to us and what our options are. Our fight or flight kicks in and we get on board with the ‘war’, out of fear that not doing will have serious consequences.
We often don’t ask the questions we should be asking about the treatment, or even the cancer, because we don’t know there are questions to be asked, and because why would we want to know more about the thing that is trying to kill us?! Ignorance is bliss, right? Well actually ignorance doesn’t deal with the fear at all.
Our doctors are also making exactly the same fear based decisions we are, fear of not treating someone effectively or quickly enough, and the fear that the patients cancer will get worse on their watch. The below statement taken from an article written in 1955 says it all, and is even more relevant today as it was then.
“Fear of Cancer and unnecessary operations” Dr. George Crile, Jr.
“Those responsible for telling thepublic about cancer have chosen the weapon of fear, believing that only through fear can the public be educated. Newspapers and magazines have magnified andspread this fear, knowing that the public is always interested in the melodramatic and the frightening. This has fostered a disease, fear of cancer, a contagious disease that spreads from mouth to ear. It is possible that today, in terms of the total number of people affected, fear of cancer is causing more suffering than cancer itself. This fear leads both doctors and patients to do unreasonable and therefore dangerous things.”
The more we are educated about any situation the less we fear it. Having curiosity about my disease dispelled the fear very quickly. Once I began to learn about what was going on inside me, the treatment, and how it all really works, it opened up a whole new world of healing for me that no doctor had ever shared with me. I was able to start understanding how and why cancer exists, how different treatments work, including many alternative therapies that can support, and was able to completely change my lifestyle to improve my health instantly. But most importantly it put me in control of my situation and I was no longer at the mercy of cancer or my oncologist.
Often the information we receive can be so overwhelming we naturally believe it is too complicated for us mere mortals to understand so we don’t try, we just put all our faith in those professionals (who are also just mere mortals that learnt more about this one thing than we did!) Whether this is just the talk of a misdiagnose-ee, i’m not sure, but having been let down so dramatically by this system, is definitely the reason that I’m cautious in putting all my faith in the system, and insist on exploring alternatives. Looking outside the NHS prescribed treatments and support groups, exposes an unbelievable amount of positive stories of people healing from cancer and all manner of ailments in different ways. It opens your mind up to the possibilities outside of the statistics, and at the very least gives you choice, options…hope!
TIPS FOR DEALING WITH FEAR
- Meditation & Breathing exercises – Even if you don’t have time to mediate, just a few minutes of diaphramic breathing will help calm your mind. Breath deep into your belly for as long as you can, hold, and then make the exhale a little longer.
- Visualisation – Visualing a happy place that you can go to in moments of fear, or one step better, start by taking some time to visualise a positive outcome to the situation you are fearing.
- Affirmations – So many of us are in a habit of negative thinking, but if you consistently choose positive thoughts, it is possible to change those patterns. The old negative thoughts will start to disappear.
- Feel the fear – Don’t try and hide from it and suppress it. Rememeber that your fear is probably not even your fear at all. Once you start to face it and listen to yourself and what YOU actually fear, you should be able to start making those feelings less scary.
- Get it out – Write them down, talk about them, whatever feels best for you. But get them out. As you start to process your thoughts on paper or to another person ythey will seem less daunting.
- Educate yourself – Learn all about the thing you fear! Immerse yourself in it, do your own research, and find some reliable resources that you trust and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Even though that sounds like a scary concept to start with, it helps! Find YOUR path and empower yourself!
- Take action – Fear can make us feel helpless but we are all much bigger than our diagnosis! Trust you instincts and do what feels right. Take control rather than being a spectator in your own healing.
- Find your own tribe – Its important to surround yourself with positive people who are supportive of what you are doing and will give you confidence, rather than put doubt in your mind. It is your life, choose the people you want around you.
- EFT – Tapping can be really helpful with deep routed fear, or post traumatic stress, but also just for changing your relationship with your fear.
- Be kind to yourself – Fill you life with things you love and enjoy no matter how simple or mundane they may seem, being in a positive happy state will help counteract the fear.
Only when our fears stay locked within us do they have power, as you start to let them go, break them down, and create distance from them will have less of a hold over us. Too many of us believe ‘its just the way it is’ but in truth non of us where born this way. We were born these little bundles of love and joy, and over the course of life have learnt these, not so helpful, ways of thinking. But is possible for us to change the patterns of our thoughts, and consciously choose feelings of love, joy and happiness if we allow ourselves to.
Never let fear decide your fate…choose love