Feeling anxious when receiving a cancer diagnosis or undergoing treatment is understandable, even expected. Whether it’s about treatment-related side effects, cancer spreading, or returning after treatment has ended, whether it’s about losing our independence, our support system, relationships, etc.
In the dictionary, anxiety is described as feeling nervous, worried, and on edge. These normal and common emotions help us cope with what our brain defines as a threat. After all, an illness such as cancer which we label as life-threatening, is exactly that, a threat.
Symptoms of Cancer Anxiety
There is no one-size-fits-all when coping with anxiety, yet many of my clients shared similar experiences. Some reported physical symptoms such as shortness of breath, sweaty palms, or a racing heart. Others talked about emotional symptoms such as panic, fear, dread, and worry.
Regardless of your particular symptoms, think of anxiety as an outcome. It’s the outcome of your mind and body trying to process your experience.
Cancer Anxiety in Survivors
And cancer anxiety is not exclusive to the duration of treatment; survivors often struggle with it as well.
For cancer survivors, anxiety may stem from and relate to their state of health. In this case, every ache and pain may trigger their fear that cancer will return. This may include being highly alert to any possible physical symptoms, extreme focus on their cancer status, and requesting medical tests and visits with their doctor more often or earlier than needed.
So, what can we do to minimize or even resolve cancer anxiety?
In this blog post, I want to share one particular practice with a great many benefits. This one practice has helped many of my clients get relief and is known as Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT.
EFT and Cancer Anxiety
EFT is a safe and easy-to-use self-help method based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The practice combines a gentle touch with mindful attention to thoughts and feelings.
Think of EFT as a form of “emotional acupuncture” or “mindful acupressure” that involves the stimulation of specific points along the face and body. Instead of using needles (as in acupuncture), EFT uses a technique of gentle tapping on these various acupressure points located on the face, hands, and body.
EFT also uses verbalization. It involves verbalizing the “issue” we want to focus on and experience relief for. The verbalization and tapping seem to release the intensity or charge of the “issue” we tap on.
Why is EFT Affective
This is a long answer, so to keep this post short, let me use the analogy of noise cancellation technology.
If every emotion we feel has a frequency, we will use EFT to generate the equal but opposite frequency (through tapping and verbalizing) that will cancel it. I will admit this can be a vague explanation, but for now, it’s a good start. You can learn more about EFT HERE
If you seek relief from anxiety and wish to learn more about EFT and how it can support you, reach out to me via my CONTACT PAGE, and I’ll be happy to share more.