Anxiety is a natural feeling of worry whenever you or a loved one is affected with an AML diagnosis. You will often feel a lack of control and be overwhelmed. Our bodies have what is called a flight or fight response, and when we perceive a threat to our personal well-being or our life, this is triggered, and we choose to engage the threat or flee from it. Chronic anxiety can lead to fatigue and depression over time and affect your overall healing, so it is important to find stress-relieving techniques that work for you.
Exercise: Regular participation in exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects. During exercise, endorphins are released, causing a natural boost in mood.
Massage: Studies show that getting a massage decreases stress and anxiety. The manipulation of the muscles encourages them to relax and stretch to relieve any tightness or tension, reducing physical stress. Swedish massage is great at also decreasing mental stress.
Aromatherapy: Essential oils that are known to contribute to calming sensations are lavender, lemon, sweet basil, jasmine and chamomile. Lavender aromatherapy has been studied and shown to reduce stress and anxiety for patients. It is also known to be uplifting, as well as soothing and helpful for reducing stress, anxiety, depression and insomnia.
Breathing: Closing your eyes and taking slow, deep breaths is instantly calming. Deep breathing exercises can have a profound effect on your state of mind and stress management.
Laugh Therapy: Put on a funny movie. Read a comic book. Just laugh. Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
Stay Hydrated: Even mild dehydration can affect your mood. Stay hydrated by making sure to drink water frequently throughout the day.
Journaling: Write it down. Just putting your thoughts down on paper can help keep things in perspective and relieve your anxiety.
Support Groups: Join a support group and stay in touch with them. Our Community Chapters are coming soon. They will provide you with the interactive support you need to feel calm and manage your anxiety.
Medication: There is nothing shameful about getting help for your anxiety. When all else fails, talk to your doctor about prescribing an anti-anxiety medication.
Please remember that if your anxiety is not controlled by these research-based tips that speaking with a professional is another great option. Asking for help does not make you weak. It means you are strong enough to know what your mind and body needs to heal. Ask your doctor to refer you to a therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist if you feel you need more personalized support.
about the author
Lora is an Editorial Contributor for the HealthTree for AML and proud mom of 6 kids and 5 grandkids. In addition to supporting blood cancer patients, she loves creating fun parties and activities for her grandkids to enjoy.