Wellness programs offer hundreds of self-care strategies that are designed to prevent illness. These same strategies can be applied to improving cancer recovery and preventing breast cancer. Simple lifestyle changes make a positive difference in health and healing.
To get well and stay healthy, integrative medical doctors and authors stress the importance of healthy diet, moderate exercise, stress reduction, positive outlook and emotions, quality relationships, and reduced environmental toxicity. A few books about cancer that promote this message are: Anticancer – A New Way of Life, Life Over Cancer, Waking the Warrior Goddess and Cancer: 50 Essential Things To Do.
Surviving cancer often requires more than conventional treatment offers. It takes a willingness to become informed and go beyond what the doctor orders. Taking charge involves talking to people who have successfully used an integrative approach, reading books and articles by wellness experts, attending classes, exploring the Internet and then choosing a wellness approach that feels right for you. I say wellness because after cancer treatment what you do to stay healthy matters.
What is integrative wellness? It is an approach to healing that addresses every aspect of your life. What occurs in your body is intimately connected to the choices you make and actions you take. Integrative wellness offers you an opportunity to take charge of your health by making informed treatment and wellness choices. While the process of getting well and staying healthy requires a certain level of discipline, it begins to feel easy and natural once you recognize how great you feel.
These six wellness dimensions lead to optimal health and wellbeing:
- Physical – eat a whole food diet (less processed food and more raw foods); engage in moderate exercise; maintain a healthy weight; avoid tobacco; and limit alcoholic beverages
- Emotional – recognize and accept all of your emotions; express negative emotions constructively; manage stress appropriately; and laugh often
- Mental – recognize stressors; set realistic goals; change negative thinking; and continue learning
- Spiritual – bring more love and acceptance to yourself, others and life; express gratitude; find meaning in your life; and focus on positive outcomes
- Social – enjoy your relationships; connect with people regularly; treat others with respect; and receive help and give to others
- Lifestyle – make wise choices about—self-care, recreation, finances, career/work, and your physical environment
Integrative wellness happens over time. Taking charge of your health does require your attention, time, energy and money. However, small changes in the right direction will make a noticeable positive difference in your body, mind, spirit and life. Remember, the final outcome belongs to a Higher Power. Most important, love and accept yourself right now because you are doing your best, but with awareness, commitment and action you can take your best to a higher level.
The options to participate in your health and well-being are many and can feel overwhelming. Begin with one small goal and action step and then another; you will celebrate success often and turn breast cancer into a stepping stone to greater aliveness.
About Sandra Miniere: