Everybody knows that stress leads to disease, but rarely do we talk about the happy “flip side” of this— learning how to calm stress responses kicks in the “relaxation response” that leads to health, more energy and less risk of disease. Studies over the last ten years have demonstrated this winning formula without a shadow of a doubt. Here are four stress-busting activities you can do EVERY DAY to calm stress, activate the immune system and prevent breast cancer by working with your body’s innate power to heal!
The 4 Easiest Ways to Beat the “Fight or Flight” Response and Breast Cancer
#1 Meditation. Telomeres are tiny pieces of DNA that appear at the end of every cell chromosome. Their job is to protect genetic information. Each time a cell divides, the telomeres of the original cell become a bit smaller. A 2015 Canadian study found that telomeres were longer in breast cancer survivors who meditated or who engaged in some other form of mindfulness practice (compared to survivors who did not have a mindfulness practice). Longer telomeres equal more health, so this means less of a risk of breast cancer or breast cancer reoccurrence.
Meditation is hard for a lot of people to do, but you don’t need to spend hours a day sitting on a cushion to reap the benefits of meditation. According to Harvard University, 15 minutes of meditation a day can set you on the path towards health. They emphasize that, above all else, consistency is vital if you want to see results.
#2 Move Your Body! Movement helps your body in so many ways, including calming stress responses and boosting the immune system in the long term. A 2014 French study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention found that women who walked a minimum of four hours per week had a significantly lower risk of invasive breast cancer than those who did not. The investigation was based on the study of 60,000 post-menopausal females over a period of four years.
If you are at a point on your healing journey which does not allow you to perform aerobic activity like Burst Training, swimming, jogging, dancing or fast walking, don’t fret. Studies have shown that doing stretching activities such as yoga on a regular basis can decrease your risks of both physical and neurological dis-ease because stretching can have positive effects on both the endocrine and nervous systems.
#3 Write it down! If you enjoy writing or even if you have never tried, you might consider journaling out your stress. You can set a timer and do a “free write” for 20 minutes or focus on a particular situation for a set number of pages. You can also write down your dreams, visions, goals and aspects in your life that you are grateful for as a way of taking a step back from your “worries” and truly appreciate all that you already have. A report published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that women with breast cancer who participated in expressive writing felt better and had fewer symptoms. If you are a doodler, try spending some of your reflective journaling time drawing out your feelings as well.
#4 Tap Your Way Out of PTSD and Chronic Stress. Emotional Freedom Technique, or Tapping, is an easy (and quick) way to calm stress and achieve more peace as well as focus in your life. You can gently “tap” key meridian points on the face and chest while first expressing your emotions and then saying affirmations. This will calm states of panic and sometimes lower cortisol levels significantly. Tapping may seem strange at first but even research has confirmed that it works. In fact, findings presented at the U.S. Armed Forces Public Health Conference in 2011 found that 90% of PTSD-identified military veterans exposed to EFT training no longer met the criteria for PTSD after just 6 weeks of EFT practice.
Do You Have 15 Minutes a Day?
“Stress is just a part of modern life.”
I hear this all the time, and I bet you do too. Yes, it is true that challenging and potentially stressful situations present themselves in our lives now more than ever. But that does not mean that you are destined to let stress run your life and lead you down the path of dis-ease. According to the studies mentioned above and dozens more, all it takes is a little time every day to turn that stressed-out frown upside down and get on the road to relaxed healing again!