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What You Need To Know About People With Breast Cancer

What You Need To Know About People With Breast Cancer

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. There are multiple campaigns that you will encounter, ranging from the pink pizza boxes at Hungry Howie’s to survivor walks that benefit the American Cancer Society. However, none of this can teach someone what it is truly like to suffer from breast cancer.

People who are currently dealing with this condition have to battle against not only the disease itself, but also a long list of misinformation. Whether you or a loved one are afflicted with breast cancer, it is important to surround yourself with a support system and help shed some light on the reality of this medical condition. You can also help keep other people safe by dispelling myths about what causes breast cancer.

True FAQs About People with Breast Cancer

1. Support Goes a Long Way

The harsh truth about watching someone suffer from breast cancer is that it is often painful and can even be scary. Most people are not very good at finding themselves faced with their own mortality, and nothing will do that faster than holding the hand of a loved one while she or he receives chemotherapy for breast cancer. I have experienced this firsthand, and I want all of you to know how important it is for each cancer patient’s support system to be aware of exactly how necessary they are.

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Keep in mind that being emotional, scared, or nervous is natural, but resisting the impulse to run away will provide your loved one with a critical support system that will make it easier for them to focus on getting better. Additionally, be prepared to deal with some unpleasant comments from the patient. After all, they are scared and in pain, and they will not always be able to stay in good spirits or to make socially acceptable statements at all times.

2. It Takes At Least Five Years to Get the All Clear

Even if breast cancer goes into remission after a few months of treatment, most doctors will not give a patient a cancer-free diagnosis until at least five years have passed. This is the primary reason that websites offer mortality statistics in five-year increments. In other words, an individual with this condition will need regular checkups and treatments for an extended period of time. This process is very tiring, and it will have an impact on other aspects of the patient’s life. Never assume that everything is back to 100 percent because remission happens, but always celebrate every victory to help boost the patient’s morale.

3. Deodorant is Not at Fault

There are numerous myths online that feed on people’s biggest fears. One of these false assertions is that the type of antiperspirant or deodorant that someone uses can increase their risk of developing breast cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, there has not been any conclusive evidence found yet that links your choice of deodorant or antiperspirant to any type of cancer. Therefore, if you have cancer, it is important not to let yourself dwell on “what ifs” about this topic.

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Individuals who are supporting a cancer patient should steer clear of discussing false information. It is also necessary to avoid shaming people, regardless of whether or not they regularly partook in something that is actually a known risk factor. After all, shaming will not change anything, and supporters need to help patients focus on positive things.

Additional Myths to Dispel

1. There is No Such Thing as Too Much Breast Cancer Awareness

Several studies have proven that Breast Cancer Awareness Month has greatly increased awareness, and this has helped reduce fatalities. However, it is vital to never assume that everyone is aware of what you or a loved one is going through. The simple fact is that awareness saves lives, and you need to take every opportunity to reach out to people about everything from breast cancer screenings to fundraisers. Fortunately, social media makes this easier than ever. You can also incorporate apps such as Challenged to connect with a wider list of people. As an added bonus, challenging people to make a donation or to spread awareness will make it easier to monitor how responsive everyone is to your outreach efforts.

2. The BRCA Gene is Not a Death Sentence

Angelina Jolie made a media splash when she spoke out about the BRCA 1 gene and her decision to have a preventative double mastectomy. This combined with Hollywood portrayals of the BRCA gene, including “90210” character Silver’s struggle to deal with a positive diagnosis, has rightfully called attention to the increased risk that this gene causes. It is important to note, though, that not everyone who tests positive for BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 is going to end up contracting breast cancer.

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With this in mind, actress Kristina Klebe recently published her eye-opening account of making the choice not to have her breasts removed, regardless of the fact that she is BRCA 2 positive. The good news for Klebe and other people with one of the BRCA genes is that their risk of developing breast cancer goes down every year. In other words, a BRCA gene diagnosis is not a death sentence, but people with this gene do need to be much more vigilant about receiving regular cancer screenings. Please note that BRCA gene patients who do develop breast cancer will have to fight against bigger odds, and this will require more support.

3. Breast Cancer Doesn’t Just Affect Women

This myth is extremely prevalent, and it may have been inadvertently caused by awareness campaigns placing such a huge emphasis on women and their breasts. Although women are much more likely to develop breast cancer, 2,190 men are diagnosed with the disease every year. The lack of awareness and potential shame factor gets in the way of men being properly treated, which gives them a much higher risk of passing away from breast cancer. To help avoid this tragedy in your life, encourage every man you know to give himself regular breast self-examinations. A non-judgmental support system is also vital for men with breast cancer.

Combining the previously listed true FAQs with the truth behind some of the most prevalent myths will give you a much better understanding of what it means to be a current, former or potentially future breast cancer patient. People with the BRCA gene spend a lot of time receiving medical care, so they are impacted by cancer on a regular basis even if they have not actually developed it. Raising more awareness can help women and men discover if they have cancer, and early detection is the best way to survive.

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In the meantime, those of you who are fortunate enough to have avoided breast cancer so far can further decrease your risk by utilizing professional advice such as performing a monthly self-exam, reducing your alcohol consumption and exercising regularly. People who have survived breast cancer can make a difference by speaking out about their experience and volunteering to be part of the support system for someone who is currently going through treatment.

Featured photo credit: Dixie Belle Cupcake Cafe via flic.kr

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Last Updated on January 17, 2019

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

Listen carefully:

We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

1. Pray Daily

You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

3. Smile Often

Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

4. Organize Your Working Desk

A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

How do you do that? This is my formula:

First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

8. Go Exercise

Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

The Bottom Line

It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

More Resources About Mindfulness

Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

Reference

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