I learned so much about myself in the years following my cancer diagnosis. I researched. I read a lot. I regained strength as an athlete. But there is an aspect to cancer prevention that so many people out there miss. I like to call it the nurturing of the soul.
Ok, I know this sounds a little hippy dippy, but come on, there is a teensy bit of hippy dippy in you…I know it!
As the years passed after my diagnosis and my health grew stronger, I began to reconnect with myself in another way. I felt a small burning fire within me, one that seemed to say: “Hey, you are doing all right… you are good… you can do this”! And I thought: what? Who said that?
This little fire began to glow brighter bit by bit. The more I gained confidence, the more accessible creativity was. And the more I fed my creativity and signed up for dance classes, guitar lessons, and distance races, the brighter the glow. The deeper I dove and tackled old body image issues and self-doubting shadows, the hotter the flames. There are actual moments in my life when I feel the fire burning so bright that I feel like I might combust right there in the middle of the street!
Call it what you will: faith, self-love, creative energy, compassion, gratitude, or spiritual connection. It all has the same cancer-preventing serum: lightness of heart, connection of soul, love of life… they all create physical reactions within the body.
Why does practicing self-love prevent cancer?
Studies have found that positive emotions create harmonious heart rhythms. This means that emotional tranquility contributes to balanced and efficient physiological patterns in the cardiovascular and nervous systems.
Loving feelings are said to undo negative stress responses by calming the cardiovascular system and switching us out of our fight or flight nervous system response and into our parasympathetic dominance, where the calm healing takes place.
Positive emotional practices can enhance cognitive function by encouraging big picture thinking, and expanding our perception of what’s in our peripheral vision. When we focus on the big picture, the small things bother us less, reducing excess, unnecessary stressors.
Every single minute you spend in appreciation, love, and connectedness is one more minute spent preventing cancer. Pretty sweet!