#138 Anger Could be Undermining Your Wellness After Breast Cancer

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Supporting your wellness extends way beyond what you eat and how you move your body.

In this show, we talk about the powerful emotion of anger.

Where it comes up in your life, and how it has a physical impact on your wellness.

I’ll also give you a few simple steps to work on identifying and releasing anger from your life.

Learning to let go of this powerful emotion can clear the way to let more peace and joy into your life.

Referred to in this episode:

Learn to Love Yourself After Breast Cancer Workshop

 

Read Full Transcript Below:

0:01
This is Laura Lummer, the breast cancer recovery coach. I'm a healthy lifestyle coach, a clinical Ayurveda specialist, a personal trainer, and I'm also a breast cancer survivor. In this podcast, we talk about healthy thinking and mindfulness practices, eating well, moving your body for health and longevity. And we'll also hear from other breast cancer survivors who have reengaged with life and have incredible stories to share. This podcast is your go-to resource for getting back to life after breast cancer.

0:38
Hello, welcome to another episode of the breast cancer recovery coach Podcast. I am your host, Laura Lummer. I am thrilled you are here with me today, I have some exciting news to start the show off with.

0:52
And I also want to say thank you for the reviews and ratings that have come in this week. Sadly, I wish that I could see your names when these ratings come in. But I want to thank TPH5, thank you so much for the review. And TXYFHVUVUB. Thank you so, so, so much. I am glad that you find help in this podcast. I'm glad that it's important to you in some way. And I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to leave a rating and reviews. Thank you. Thank you, thank you.

1:24
And that leads me to some great news about the show.

1:27
So the breast cancer recovery coach podcast is now on Amazon and audible and Alexa. So all you have to do is say hey, Alexa, play the breast cancer recovery coach podcast and you have easy access. I'm really excited about that. That was a really cool thing. So I wanted to share that with you.

1:45
And of course, I want to share with you that next week well, this will come out on Friday, May 14. So next Friday, May 21 begins the Learn to Love Yourself After Breast Cancer Workshop.

1:57
And I'm so excited about this workshop. It's going to take place Friday, Saturday, Sunday morning, it's one hour at 8 am pacific time each day. And we're going to focus on a different area of self-compassion every day in this workshop. And I chose self-compassion because it's so tough for us to treat ourselves with love. It's so tough for us to make ourselves first. And it's so tough for us to be gentle with ourselves sometimes. And the topics we're going to dig into in this workshop are going to be amazing. You come to the workshop you can attend completely free, there's another option where you can attend. And it's $30. And you can attend the workshop, you get a month in the Revived membership beginning June. So you have the whole month of June in Revived. And with that, you also get to attend the self-compassion breath workshop with our breath practitioner and transformational coach Tanya Saunders. And that's on Saturday, May 29, I think it's the 29th. And that is an amazing experience.

3:05
So you have two options. And I really hope that you go to the website, thebreastcancerrecoverycoach.com/selflove.

3:15
Join me in that workshop, you can attend off camera, if you want to be coached, you can be live on camera with me will do coaching, you can ask questions. And you can engage with a lot of other amazing women who want to learn how to treat themselves better and make self-compassion a part of their life. And it just relieves when you treat yourself well. And you can let go of these emotions that bring heaviness to your heart and your mind and your life. And you can learn that you are deserving and worthy. It's not that you're going to make yourself deserving and worthy you already are. But so many of us don't recognize that don't feel that doesn't believe that.

4:00
And I want to help you believe that. I want to help you see that. I want to dig into some things with you that help you understand that it's perfectly okay to treat yourself with grace.

4:13
And that really just leads into today's show. Because there were actually a couple of things that I was thinking about doing the show on today. And as I started on each of them, and it just wasn't coming to me and I thought, you know, I think it's best to just talk about what I'm actually going through what I'm actually dealing with and processing because so many of us go through the same thing.

4:35
So as we're talking about self-compassion, and I know when we hear these words, treat yourself with grace, treat yourself with self-compassion and be kind to yourself. We think about taking Netflix binge breaks or going to the spa, which are awesome to do also, and sometimes we need them, but I'm talking about something on a much deeper level and an all-encompassing kind of holistic way of looking at your life and the burdens that we put on ourselves, by the things that we hold on to, the things that we're not willing to look at or process, that weigh heavily on us. And so we prevent ourselves from living in joy and living in happiness. Because we're not willing to let go of or deal with the things that make us sad, and the things that make us feel bad and heavy.

5:29
So I'll share something that I've been working on lately. And hopefully, that'll resonate with you.

5:35
So in my experience, and not just my own personal experience, but the experience I have in coaching so many breast cancer survivors, I would say that two very predominant emotions that we go through. And maybe it's not just after breast cancer, maybe it's in life in general, our fear and anger. And I would say, for me, a predominant emotion in my own life has been anger for a lot of my life, that's been a go-to emotion. And it's something I've had to do a lot of work on because I got to a point in my life where I didn't want to be angry anymore, where I started to realize that anger was really this defense mechanism.

6:16
And I mentioned a minute ago that these, you know, emotions, fear, and anger, sound separate, but I don't think that they are separate for me, I think that anger is based on fear. And anger is this shield. And we put up this shield to protect ourselves from having to feel vulnerable and or fearful because no one wants to break through anger, right? If you're angry, and you're acting angry, people don't want to break through that. They don't want to be around you. They don't want to deal with it. Sometimes they have to deal with it because they live with you. And they have to figure out how to get past whatever it is you're mad at them about. But for the most part, people don't want to be around someone else who is angry, right?

6:57
And hopefully, for the most part, you don't want to feel angry, because it's not a good physical feeling is it? When you're angry, the thoughts that are driving that emotion, are very heated, and they have a tendency to create some unpleasant physical effects.

7:16
Right? I mean, I think this is really interesting, because we talked about breast cancer survivors being warriors, and I think about warriors in terms of people going into the fight. And when you go into the fight with a warrior mentality, you have to kind of check-in with anger, right, you've got to stir up some anger.

7:36
Think about it.

7:37
If you're MMA fighter, if you're a warrior, if you're going into the ring, you're going into the octagon, you're not going in feeling all love and charitable, you're not going in thinking, Oh, I'm so connected to this other person, you've got to manifest some anger. And that anger is going to stir whatever it is in your heart or in your gut, or that physical sensation that drives you forward with a fight mentality with a defensive mentality, or with an aggressive mentality.

8:06
Right?

8:07
So this emotion is super powerful. And when we're using it in terms of thinking of a fight, as I said a minute ago, it's based on fear, right? When it comes to breast cancer, and we react towards that cancer with anger. It's based on fear of this thing growing in us taking our life. And we don't want to take our life think about a warrior on a battlefield, right? What are they doing, they're out there fighting for their life. And in doing so they're manifesting a lot of anger to be stronger than the person who is opposing them.

8:42
But when we bring that back to us going through breast cancer, and we tap into that, and we manifest that anger, and we bring up the physical sensations and the thoughts that come along with anger, that's really not serving us anymore.

8:58
Because who are you angry at? You're angry at your own body.

9:02
And being angry at your own body and directing heated emotions towards it is certainly not helping. Right? It's not supporting your wellness. In fact, there was an article that was published in 2000, in the Journal of cancer nursing. And what they found in the patients that they were looking at in this study was that they had very low anger scores, and they were extremely low anger scores. The study says, and this is a quote, "such low score suggests suppression, repression and restraint and anger. There is evidence to show that suppressed anger can be a precursor to the development of cancer."

9:44
Holy cow, so we're fighting cancer with anger and anger can be supporting the development of cancer. So that is just not a vicious cycle that we want to get stuck in right. Yet we are raised in this society and our thoughts are conditioned in this society where we look at anger as something that is understandable and something that is justifiable. And certainly in some situations that it is. But for the purposes of this podcast, we're talking about anger, from the perspective or through the lens of is it something you're holding on to, that is preventing you from living with a joyful, happy, light heart, loving your body, and treating yourself with compassion, meaning, not continually exposing yourself to toxic emotions?

10:35
And this reminds me of a quote by the Buddha that I've heard, and I'm sure you've heard throughout your life, that holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

10:48
And I remember hearing that, and honestly, for a long time, it didn't make sense to me. But with the work I'm doing on myself, now, I'm really digging into places where I'm holding on to animosity in my life, or situations, even day-to-day situations where I allow myself to respond with anger. And noticing if I let that happen, the physical sensations that come up in my body and realizing, Oh wow, okay, this is really powerful. And this is not something that is supporting my healing, it is not something that is supporting my wellness.

11:26
So how do you deal with it?

11:30
...If you are angry about having cancer if you are angry about all the things you had to go through if you're angry about the outcomes that you had with cancer, meaning, you're not happy with the way surgery went, you're not happy with the way I don't know the treatment went, or you didn't think you got enough, or you think you got too much treatment, or you're angry every single day when you take medication, to either manage cancer or reduce the risk of recurrence for cancer. And as a result of taking that medication, you have unpleasant physical, or and or mental side effects.

12:10
So what do you do? How do you manage this very powerful emotion and treat yourself with more kindness and more compassion?

12:20
Well, I'm going to give you a couple of steps. And I would say a couple of easy steps, but they're not going to be easy steps. And I can tell you that because this is what I've been working on. And anger is really intimately tied to our ego and to what we think other people expect from us. Right?

12:41
So let me give me an example.

12:43
If I think that people expect me to be tough, if I think people say, oh, Laura, she's tough. And then I think they would expect me to react with anger or an angry attitude towards something like they would expect me to be like, I got this screw cancer, you know, I'm going to beat its a**, I'm a warrior. And I think that's what they expect of me, then it's hard to let go of that. Right? It's hard to drop, the emotional response that we think we anticipate of ourselves based on the label we give ourselves, or we think other people expect of us based on the labels or perception they've had of us our whole lives.

13:24
So it's kind of like letting go of a little piece of yourself. And that's hard to do. Because you have to allow yourself to be in this space of saying, Okay, well, if I'm not angry about this anymore, what am I going to be? And if my personality is such that I've always told myself, of course, I would be angry about this thing. And now I'm telling myself, I don't want to have anger, then who am I? Right?

13:50
And so you have to explore that.

13:52
So this is the very first step, it is asking yourself the question, do you want to feel angry? And this is whatever it is in your life?

14:02
This is maybe you're not angry about cancer, maybe you're not harboring that but is there anger somewhere in your life towards a person towards behaviors? I saw this post in a Facebook group the other day, it was like, what I don't know if it was what was your pet peeve or what something that makes you angry that people do?

14:22
And I mean, Holy moly, there was so much stuff and so much of it was absolute nonsense, absolute pettiness. And when I was reading that, because I'm really working on increasing my awareness of where I respond to things with anger, or where I hold on to anger, it just really stood out to me and I thought, Oh, my goodness, you know, responding to Little things like I remember one of the comments I read was when people say that being said, before they start a statement, right and I'm thinking oh my gosh, You are allowing yourself to be angry choosing anger and choosing to expose yourself to this toxic emotion over a phrase, right? It's just a meaningless phrase.

15:13
So the first question, as you're looking at anger in your life and processing is do you want to feel angry? Not? can you justify your anger based on our social norms or your society or community? Do you want to feel that way? And there's maybe a lot to explore there. And you may not want to let it go. But I can tell you from experience, from my experience, and from everyone that I've worked with, that if you choose to hold on to it, you are filling a space in your heart and your energy and your soul and your life. And whatever it might be, you are filling a space that could be left open for more joy.

15:53
Alright, so first, first things first, and it is your choice. Do I want to feel angry?

15:59
So there's number one.

16:01
Then the second thing is, what are the circumstances where I notice myself responding with anger?

16:08
And so let's use one that I gave an example of, and that is in taking medication. I know a lot of women have just very angry emotions, feelings, responses towards taking aromatase inhibitors or tamoxifen because they can have a really strong impact on our body. And it's, it can be frustrating, and you can feel angry about it. But here, you're taking this medication to support your or at least I think you believe that it is supporting your wellness and your healing, otherwise, you wouldn't be taking it right.

16:40
So you want to take this to support your wellness and to lower your risk of cancer, but you're taking it into you with anger.

16:50
So when you notice a situation like that, one, you have to ask yourself, do I want to feel angry? And if the answer is no, then look at what is your thought behind that? What is your thought behind that? And sometimes, and this is a common response that I hear, and I'll offer it to you. Sometimes the response is, I don't want to take it and I have to.

17:11
And again, you don't have to do anything in this life. Right? We tell ourselves sometimes that we don't have a choice, but we always have a choice. And it can be sucky choices, that's for sure. It can be two sucky choices. But there's always a choice. You know, after my first diagnosis, my doctor put me on tamoxifen, I had a horrible response to it. And I took the information that my oncologist gave me on the risk factor that would be lowered if I stayed on tamoxifen. And I compare that to the quality of life I had. And I made a decision to stop taking it right. And I made that decision knowing that with every decision you make, there are potential consequences.

17:58
And so did my decision to stop taking tamoxifen, which leads me to the place where I am now 10 years later, with stage four cancer, I don't know. But I know this for sure. I'm not mad about it. And I don't regret it. I made the best decision I could at that time in my life with the information I had. And with the lifestyle, I wanted to lead.

18:23
Now fast forward. my oncologist says, okay, you need to take Ibrance and Letrozole, and I say, give it to me bring that stuff on. And every day, I take the hybrids, and I take the letrozole and I'm like, thank you, Ibrance thank you letrozole thank you for being here, and supporting my healing and helping to put this cancer into remission.

18:48
Now, the reason I want to share that with you is if you can move out of the space of saying I don't have a choice here and move into the space of saying, What are my choices? And what did I choose? And why? What's the why behind it in this situation, if you choose to take an aromatase inhibitor, you chose it because you want to live, that's a great reason to take something. And when you can shift your thinking from, I take it because I'm forced to, to I take it because I love my life and I want to live that gives you back some power. And when you have that power, then you don't feel so angry because you're not forced into something. You get to choose what you're doing. And you get to choose the why behind it. And that applies to every situation, not just the choice to take or not to take medications.

19:39
And I'll give you another perfect example. So this is a personal story of mine, something I went through recently, and a few years ago in my family, there was what we call the Jerry Springer Christmas. And as a result of the Jerry Springer Christmas, there's been a rift in the family. And I know that that has bothered my mom. My mom is 80 years years old. And you know, Mother's Day was last weekend, we're celebrating with her this coming weekend.

20:07
And as I'm doing this daily work on myself, I look at this situation and as it applied to me and my wellness, and thought is there, you know, where there's this block in the family? And is that block serving my wellness? You know, maybe I don't have a lot of anger in this situation anymore. But is allowing this blockage this rift to exist in the family? Is it serving my wellness? And is there something I can do to let go of it? Have I done everything I can to release this from my energy field right from my body?

20:37
And if not, what other steps can I take?

20:40
And this takes me back to what I said a minute ago about when you notice something that isn't serving your wellness, or if you're holding on to anger or holding on to a blockage somewhere, that it takes a little piece of ego out of you, right? Because in this situation, and the person that I have been known to be my whole life, being the first person to take the step to make peace probably wouldn't be the expectation for most people around me.

21:06
So I had to take a deep look at that and say, One do I want to be angry? Two do I want to live with just awkward energy just this block in our family? Like I don't like that awkward energy? Is that awkward energy serving me? You know, is this situation serving me and my wellness in any way, shape, or form? And if I chose to take an action here, that would go against what I would normally take? Who would I be? What does that open me to? How could I be different? Would it be more peaceful? Would it be a better place to be than perhaps the place that I've conditioned myself to be in up to this point?

21:47
So really interesting questions and a really interesting process. And I did make the decision that I wanted to actively do something to support my wellness and to support healing in my family. And I wanted to share that with you specifically to make that point of looking at the situations in your life where you feel any kind of energy or emotion that is anything other than what you want it to be it that it's doing anything other than supporting your ultimate goal. Because letting go processing facing those things is how you treat yourself with compassion. It's treating yourself with love and not drinking the poison that you want for someone else.

22:34
And I know that that is not an easy word to you because I do that work so I know it's not easy and I support others in doing that work. But I think that when we bring our thought process back to how is this supporting me versus looking externally at this was unfair, this shouldn't have happened but coming back to your ultimate goal in life and your ultimate hope for your own wellness, I think helps to shift that a little bit and let go of some anger in whatever ever areas of life you may be holding on to it.

23:06
Alright, I hope that helps you. And I hope that you join me in the Learn to love yourself after breast cancer workshop. Come to my website, thebreastcancerrecoverycoach.com/selflove and if you have questions about anger, your processing, or dealing with it as a part of your healing, come there, ask them to get coaching on them, you can attend completely free.

23:28
Don't forget that.

23:28
So thebreastcancerrecoverycoach.com/selflove and learn to love yourself a little more after breast cancer maybe for the first time ever.

23:39
All right.

23:40
I will talk to you again next week. And until then be good to yourself and expect other people to be good to you as well.

 

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