Cancer and Chronic Illness

Did you know that cancer and other chronic illnesses – like high blood pressure/hypertension, insomnia and fibromyalgia are related to the mental-emotional experiences of anxiety, grief and mental-restlessness? Grief is the emotion directly related to the lung channel in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Anxiety and mental restlessness are linked with the heart channel. You can imagine that a diagnosis of a chronic illness of any sort can produce feelings of anxiety and grief, but the opposite is true too. The emotions can lead to the illness.

I have worked with Cancer with clients for over 20 years and the one similarity I have found is a mental-emotional link with all cases. The most common link I see is a very busy schedule and lots of mental-restlessness. To help prevent or even manage a diagnosis it is very useful to bring a mindful awareness to the emotions contributing to your life experience. I am always amazed by how many people believe that focusing on this awareness is not as important as focusing on diet or lifestyle. But all are equally important according to Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Many people think “I can’t change the way I feel, because that’s just how I feel” – yet, one can learn how to take control of their feelings. We can choose which feelings and emotions we allow ourselves to focus on most. This can begin as a mindful-awareness of the emotions as they arise – just taking mental note of which emotions/thoughts are leading or contributing to our dominant emotions is the first step. Acknowledge the emotions and thoughts – they are messages that you are being sent. Then lovingly accept the thoughts and emotions and guide yourself to more loving and uplifting thoughts and emotions. This is not always easy to do, but it is always possible.

You may notice that when you watch or listen the news you may feel overwhelmed with sadness or anxiety, or you may notice your mind caught up in things you wish had been different in a relationship or a recent conversation you have had. Acknowledge the awareness of what is on your mind. Give yourself a mental hug and then lovingly guide your thoughts to something more up-lifting. You may listen to a favourite song, think of the last fun event or visit you have had or do something you find creative. You can even get yourself out in nature and truly connect with the sights and sounds around you. Let the mind focus on these things. Even for 15minutes a day. Paying attention to your breath works the same way if you focus only on your breath. It’s interesting to see that when the mind “wants” to focus on something unpleasant it’s not so easy to re-focus on something pleasant. In those moments, don’t be hard on yourself. Keep acknowledging the awareness and try again a little later to re-direct the mind. The mind benefits from this re-training and you will see that soon you will be able to pull out of the unpleasant thoughts and feelings much easier and quicker than initially. It’s like training a muscle. Your memory has been trained for years to look and focus on unpleasant thoughts and emotions as a protective defence against other unpleasant things. But this past training is not useful. Re-training the mind gives our bodies energy to heal what has not been healed (emotionally, mentally and physically). In future posts I will give you more tools to work with to re-train your mind.

I work with people individually and in groups to help this re-training over a series of sessions. If you are interested in re-training or working through grief experiences that you know are contributing to on-going feelings of discomfort, contact me at or call me at 416-920-8975.

Let’s work to prevent or manage chronic illness from a Consciously-mindful place. I look forward to helping you.

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