Category Archives: Stress Management

5 Ways to Boost Your Spirits When Cancer Gets You Down

Get Moving
Get Moving

There’s nothing rosy about having cancer. But new cancer treatments, cancer vaccines, integrated immunotherapy, cytokine cell therapy and gene-targeted cancer therapies have increased cancer survival rates dramatically and appear to hold the keys that may lead to future cancer cures. Alternative cancer treatments offer new hope even when traditional treatments fail.

With real potential for long-term cancer remission, there is value in maintaining a positive and hopeful attitude. The connection between mind and body is not fully understood, but we do know that a positive attitude can promote healing and reduce the negative effects of stress on the immune system and general physical and mental health.

Finding ways to relieve cancer stress and maintain a positive attitude may make a difference in your ability to fight cancer successfully. When cancer gets you down, use these suggestions to boost your spirits:

  1. Move your body. To release negative emotions, do the chicken dance with your kids or tune in the soundtrack to Stomp and stomp around or drum on pots and pans.
  2. Focus your attention. Engage in a thought-provoking conversation, learn a language or take up a new hobby. New challenges force the mind to focus on the task at hand.
  3. Have a good sob. Tears have a cleansing effect on the psyche. Rent a tearjerker and cry until you’re spent.
  4. Notice the world around you. Look out the window, go for a drive or walk and tune into the world’s funny quirks and compelling beauty.
  5. Tap into your creative side. Exercising your imagination is energizing and releases joy.

Beauty Programs Boost Self-Esteem of Cancer Patients

Beautiful young woman looking in the mirror.
Beautiful young woman looking in the mirror.

One of the challenges cancer patients face is maintaining a positive outlook on life. How we view the world is strongly connected to how we view ourselves. If you feel good about yourself, that positive feeling colors everything in your life. You feel comfortable in your own skin and confident that you can meet the day’s challenges with success.

There’s a strong connection between self-esteem and physical appearance. When cancer and cancer treatments strip you of energy, appetite and even your hair, it’s hard to feel beautiful which can send your self-esteem plummeting. You know how low you feel when you have a bad hair day. Well, every day is a bad hair day for cancer patients — and loss of hair is just part of the problem. Cancer and cancer treatments can turn skin sallow and pale or make it blotchy and more prone to blemishes. Fatigue can leave dark circles under the eyes, and pain can make the face look pinched.  When chemotherapy causes hair and eyebrows to fall out, the face can look blank and undefined.

To counter the loss of beauty and boost the self-esteem of cancer patients, Look Good Feel Better was founded to support and encourage cancer patients to rediscover their natural beauty. Sponsored by the Personal Care Products Foundation in collaboration with the American Cancer Society, Professional Beauty Association and National Cosmetology Association, the program sponsors beauty makeovers and esteem-building workshops through local cancer organizations. It also offers an online library of beauty tips for women and men designed to show cancer patients how to minimize the effects of cancer on their appearance.

Cancer and Stress

Exercising to Reduce Stress
Exercising to Reduce Stress

Whether you or a loved one has just been diagnosed with cancer or have been living with it for years, the importance of practicing healthy lifestyle choices is important now more than ever.

The Issels Treatment® has a proven track record of more than 50 years of long-term tumor remissions of standard therapy-resistant cancers. Whatever medical treatment you may be undergoing, learning ways to positively deal with stress related to the disease can vastly improve your quality of life.


Mild to moderate exercise (we’re not talking marathons) reduces blood pressure and keeps your heart healthy. The heart is a muscle after all. Walking or swimming for 20 to 30 minutes at least four times a week provides weight-bearing resistance and increases your heart rate. One easy way to stick with your exercise routine? Find a buddy to walk or jog with you.

Eat a Healthy Diet

It’s true. Eating the suggested six servings of fruits and vegetables a day can do wonders for your body. So you don’t feel completely cut off from your favorite foods, allow yourself to have a treat every once in a while. A glass of wine or a cup or frozen yogurt are good choices.

The Mind-Body Connection

Many holistic cancer treatments champion the mind-body connection. Doing activities that stimulate both have a two-for-one effect. Yoga or stretching exercises help regulate breathing while allowing you to focus on positive thoughts. Some experts recommend becoming involved in artistic expression – dancing, painting, writing, singing and the list goes on.

The bottom line, small changes can be the difference between living with joy or staying in fear of cancer.

Positive Attitude May Benefit Cancer Patients

A positive attitude can help your health.
A positive attitude can help your health.

A positive attitude can help people with chronic disease and may aid cancer patients. Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College found that people with heart disease, hypertension and asthma could positively affect their health by maintaining a positive attitude.To give your attitude a positive boost:

  • Listen to upbeat music. Elevate your mood by listening to music with a happy, energetic beat. If you’re feeling stressed, music with a soothing rhythm can have a similarly positive effect on your attitude.
  • Count your blessings. Concentrate on the people, things and events in your life for which you are grateful. Negative thoughts fade when you concentrate on happy ones.
  • Express your love and thanks. Tell family and friends that you love them. Thank people who have made a difference in your life. Mend fences that need mending. Say all those things you’ve always meant to tell your loved ones. It is amazing how comforting words can be — for you and those you love.
  • Create a happiness stash. Laughter is the best medicine. Collect things that make you smile or laugh: funny movies, humorous books, great photos, websites of your favorite comedians, hilarious YouTube videos, etc. When your spirit needs a boost, visit your stash.
  • Immerse yourself in at nature. Go outdoors if you can, sit by a window or watch a nature video. Tree leaves blowing in the wind, birds flitting about a bird feeder, bees buzzing between flowers, puffy clouds scudding across the sky — the sights, sounds, beauty and majesty of nature are a balm for the soul.

Massage Therapy May Help Cancer Patients Manage Stress

Massage Therapy May Help to Relieve Stress.
Massage therapy may be a treatment program to discuss with your Issels physician.

Cancer patients may realize “profound” benefits from massage therapy. In a new study reported on Fox News, brain cancer patients experienced significant stress relief after receiving massage treatments. As the report noted, brain cancer can affect patients’ physical and cognitive functioning. Cancer tumors’ interference with brain function can also lead to challenging secondary mental disorders. Brain cancer patients suffer a high rate of depression often caused by the stress of traditional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation treatments, as well as by the progress of their disease.In the study, brain cancer patients who received massage therapy twice a week for four weeks experienced a remarkable decrease in stress levels. Patients who at the beginning of the study suffered from severe stress scored below diagnostic stress detection by the end of their 4-week treatment.

“This is more significant than I would have expected,” Dr. Keri Peterson of the American Massage Therapy Association told Fox News.

Prior to the study, the majority of participants expressed concerns common to most cancer patients, including sadness, worry, nervousness, pain, tiredness, trouble sleeping, fear, depression, eating, constipation, nausea, dry skin and tingling sensations. At the end of the 4-week treatment protocol, concern about common cancer stressors was significantly reduced, by as much as 60% for some issues.

As a group, brain cancer patients enjoyed improved feelings of emotional, physical and social well-being. Post-treatment testing revealed that benefits began to fade when massage therapy was discontinued, although patients’ stress levels remained lower than they were initially. Continued massage therapy is an option you may want to discuss with your Issels treatment specialists.