Need a boost in mood during treatments? If you're like me, you desire to keep feeling the holiday season's magic all year long. How do you think merry thoughts when your world has turned upside down. With a hectic treatment schedule, painful body aches, and emotions running wild, the holidays don't feel quite as festive as they once did. But, you, my friend, deserve the break more than anyone. Not only do you deserve it, but it's necessary for your health. There are certain things we can do to supercharge those magical feelings all year round. These magical feelings can permeate all through your being, offering you oh so many health benefits. It's those feelings that you need the most right now. Recognize the signal of powerful healing happening within your body as you allow the enchantment you experience during the holidays to linger on ordinary days or, better yet, on difficult days like treatment day. This list will help you hold on to those healing, magical feelings your body deserves well past the holidays.
Idea #1- Recognize Others
In this Covid filled world, healthcare workers are finally getting the recognition they deserve. You can be a part of that too. Did you know that by recognizing your treatment staff, you could be positively touching the lives of other patients through the ripple effect? Imagine how amazing it would feel to pass those good feelings on to others. More importantly, in 2006, Jorge Moll leading a research team, confirmed that charitable activity towards others triggered a "warm glow" feeling in the giver's brain. That's not all! Studies have shown that it's not just a feeling. There are actual health benefits to charitable acts and feelings like gratitude. Stony Brook University Professor and author of the book Why Good Things Happen to Good People, explains that there are increased health benefits to people with chronic illnesses from giving, whereas receiving does not have the same health impacts.1 So the next time you're at the treatment center, think about being charitable even when you're not feeling it. And when you feel that warm glow, take time to bask in it. It's a gift you can give for free to you, your body, your treatment staff, and to the other patients.
Idea #2- Listen to Music
Plato once said, "Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything." What Plato knew then still rings true today. Neurocognition expert Dr. Ronny Enk and his research team verified that music lowered stress hormones and increased immunoglobin A levels, an immune-supportive antibody. Dr. Enk's 300 participant study focused on upbeat dance music and showed measurable positive results of increased disease-fighting antibodies in the participants who listened to upbeat music. It proved that music isn't just a pleasantry but can positively influence our biology.
Further studies have shown that music can decrease anxiety, raise the level of natural killer cells within your body, promote physical germ-barriers, and reduce pain. Remember, while you are in treatment, your primary focus should be on your body, not work or other issues that take you away from concentrating on your health. So, next treatment, bring your favorite tunes and let them sink in, really sink in, and work magic.2
Idea #3- Use your Words- Chanting, Mantras, and Meditations
Research and empirical studies have verified that neuroplasticity is a real thing. Just what is neuroplasticity? The adult brain can birth new brain cells; it can change, grow, and prune back neural imprints. A study published in Nature Communications presented the findings that human brainwave regulation influenced gene expression. Epigenetic research continues to evolve, but its primary mission is to find out just how much influence we have over gene expression outside of heredity factors.
So what can you do with this information? Repetition is the key. Chant a mantra or meditate on the part of the body you want to heal. Doing this will build up your brain's positive neural pathways. These activities have a compounding benefit for your body and overall health. While practicing them, they lower anxiety and blood pressure, and longer-term, you get an afterburn like a good work out where the effects continue to influence your internal systems. Where lower stress, lower blood pressure, and a more relaxed demeanor are the norms. In turn, positive thoughts continue to procedure better overall health and can even have an antiaging effect on the body. During my radiation rounds, I would recite the Ho'oponopono prayer. I left what would otherwise be a traumatic event more energized. Thinking back to my treatments, I remembered starting one particular session with a lot of anxiety. I was visibly upset, and after the 20-minute session of meditation and therapy, I felt better than when I had arrived. It was proof to me that meditation, mantras, and chats work.
During your next treatment, try meditating on the following statement:
"My body is so powerful and strong that it can heal itself. Thank you, God, for this wondrous and strong body. "
Leave all the negativity and fear behind and truly feel the words throughout your entire being.
Idea #4- Laugh A Lot
Did you know that humor therapy was a thing? According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter can lead to the soothing of tension, decreased heart rates, blood pressure, and an increase in oxygen intake can stimulate your organs. Laughing releases endorphins in the body, leading to a more relaxed feeling. Those are just the short-term benefits. The long-term benefits get even better! Pain relief, improved immune system functioning, and lower levels of depression are just some of the long-term benefits of a good laugh. Much like our thoughts, the positive feelings release neuropeptides that can also help fight against serious illness.
Given that laughter can improve your mood and help you deal with more complicated situations, make sure you are ready with your favorite comedy your next treatment day. While you might not feel like laughing or even smiling, sit back, relax, let your mind forget where it's at, and the endorphins work their healing magic. Like the saying "fake it till you make it," turn on the comedy and let it play until you find yourself emerged in its magical, funny way of healing us.
Idea #5- Indulge and Breath
During treatment, self-care shouldn't be a fad word; it's a priority. You can indulge by doing any of the things already mentioned here or try something else you equally enjoy. Give yourself permission to relax and focus your energy where you need it most, you! Nothing is more important than what you face during treatment, so make sure you allow yourself some reprieve without guilt. And when treatment is getting unmanageable, just breathe. Just focus your attention and gratitude towards your breath. Focused breathing has the power to heal. When you focus your attention on your breathing, you are increasing the oxygen levels in your blood. Oxygenated blood can improve your sleep, increase your energy levels, improve heart functioning, and even lead to faster wound healing. The idea that just focusing on something so small could positively influence your health bears such hope.
So how do you feel magic throughout the year? Choose your indulgences and really let yourself enjoy them. The more you practice them, the more they will follow you and your new neuropathways. You will find yourself enjoying that special feeling all year long, not just during the holidays. The magic it can bring to your body is worth the effort of trying. In no time, you are sure to feel that Christmas magic any time you want.