#301 Finding Balance Between Good and Bad After Breast Cancer

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With all the unrest in the world today and all of the emotional challenges that can present themselves around the holidays, how do you stay in balance? 

Do you feel guilty for having a good life while others are suffering? 

Are you so focused on the suffering and unrest that your life and your health get caught up in the negativity? 

Most of us go through seasons in our life where these things happen. 

But there are ways to pull yourself out of the struggle while still feeling and processing all of the emotions that you experience. 

In this episode I’ll share some insights on why negative things seem so heavy and powerful and a simple practice you can turn to when you need to reestablish balance and allow yourself to be joyful in your life. 

Referred to in this episode: 
Better Than Before Breast Cancer™ Life Coaching Membership 


Read the full transcript below: 

Laura Lummer 0:00
You're listening to better than before breast cancer with the breast cancer recovery coach. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. I'm a certified life coach, and I'm a breast cancer thriver. In this podcast, I will give you the skills and the insights and the tools to move past the emotional and physical trauma of a breast cancer diagnosis. If you're looking for a way to create a life, that's even better than before breast cancer, you've come to the right place. Let's get started. Hey, friends, welcome to episode 301 have better than before breast cancer with the breast cancer recovery coach. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. I'm so happy to be here with you today, because we're going to talk about something. It's it's so important. It's a part of all of our lives. And this past week, I've really feel like this has been a glaring thing that I've been giving a lot of thought to. And I know it's not just me, I know this time of the year, this comes up a lot. I know throughout our lives, this comes up a lot. And so I want to start off with sharing a little bit of insight on what has just made this so powerful in my head today and thinking that we should talk about this on the podcast. In the last week, I have heard from three different friends, three, three of my close friends in life have had very, very tragic things happen in either their close circle of friends or within their family very, very tragic things. And it's always hard to hear something like that it's always hard to hear something terrible happening to someone that you know, even though the people that actually happened to we're not people I know. But it impacted the people that I know. And even though I didn't know that people had happened to the stories themselves are so heartbreaking. Of course I can relate to them, and they're so saddening. But at the same time that I hear these things, my life is really good, right? I have a lot of good things going on in my life. And at the same time that I have a lot of good things going on in my life. A lot of challenges have come up over the last two weeks, there's been many, many things that have just been popping up that are very, very frustrating, challenging, and I even had something happened to me today that was threatening. I live in Southern California. And I'm sure if you watch the news, you hear we have quite a big homeless problem here. And while I was running some errands today, and I was in my car, and I came across a person who from the looks of the situation appeared to be a homeless person. And a lot of times homeless people here in California, it has a lot to do with drug addiction and mental illness. And this person turned around and just kind of lost his mind on me. And thank God I was in my car and he physically attacked my car, and then walked away. And I sat there. And I was really upset by the situation as you can imagine. And I could just feel my heart like pounding on my chest like, can't believe that this just just happened to me. And I noticed that as I continued to run my errands, I was feeling really upset. And of course, I was thinking about it. Right, I kept replaying what had happened in my mind. Now I was fine. I was safe. I was okay. But for 30 minutes after this incident, I was still really upset and my heart was still pounding out of my chest. And for days after hearing the stories of my friends, the thought of it kept popping back up into my head. And the sadness was just really intense. And so I got home. And I was talking to my husband about what happened to me, and my youngest son called. And it's really weird. Why is it in life that it seems like? Do we just give attention to something when it has all similar qualities all happening at the same time? Or do challenges all really pop up at the same time? You know, it's like one of those is it Murphy's Law? I don't know. It's one of those laws where all of a sudden, everything seems to be going haywire, at the same time, and I was talking to my husband about what it happened to me. And my youngest son called and he's going through some challenges. And he started sharing those with me, and he was pretty upset. And he was talking about what he was upset about. But he's really found a solution for what was going wrong. And he's moved forward with this solution. And so we did have a really nice conversation about how sometimes we just have to go, Okay, this has been resolved. And we've got to just stop running the story of what happened in her head over and over again, and begin running the story of how it was resolved. And what you're moving forward to. Right. Because it is those really intense negative emotions. It's okay, they're normal. They're going to come up what happened to me is totally normal that it's upsetting in that moment. But it's in the realizing that okay, hold on, that happened. I'm safe. It's okay. It's done. And how long Am I going to keep reliving it? How many times am I going to run the story in my head? How many times I'm going to tell the story over and over? And each time I tell the story, I upset myself again, right? Why do we do this? What is happening there? Because it's not just around the holiday season when sad things happen. But this happens a lot in life. And it can be difficult for us to see that it's okay to move past something, it can be difficult for us to see that life is a mix of good and bad at the same time, a lot of times. And what do we do with that? Like, how do we manage that? Certainly, when I hear something tragic that's happened to someone that's close to me, I don't want to say, Oh, well, thanks for sharing the story I'm moving on. That's not at all what I'm saying. It's saying the two, I'm saying we have to recognize that this is here. And this is sad, I want to feel it. And I want to be there and have empathy for the people who are going through it. But at the same time, I don't want to lose the appreciation and gratitude for the blessings and the beauty that are existing at the same time. And I've been thinking about that a lot. So why does that happen? Let's talk about some of the reasons why this happens. Why is it that the negative things seem to be so overwhelming, and sometimes so difficult to get past? One of those reasons is I've talked about so many times on this podcast are brains have a negative bias, right, the human brain has a negative bias. And so we just naturally have a tendency to look at the things that are negative, and to put energy into things that are negative. It's really important, I think, to be aware of that. Because sometimes we think like, oh, just everything in the world is going wrong. And we have to stop and realize there are a lot of things that are not good. But there are a lot of things that are good. I think that when we start to pour that energy into what's not good, not only do we have set ourselves more, not only do we make ourselves sick, but we actually add into the negativity. And that's something we don't want to do, right, we want to add into the healing, the healing in our bodies, the healing is our mind the healing in our lives, and the healing and lives of those around us. And I don't just mean on a physical level, right? We can't add into that healing, if our minds get stuck in the negativity and in the negative bias. So think something that's really important is to remember that like, this is how the organ in between my ears works. This is how my brain works. And to be aware that that's how it works. I think it's helpful because when you say, Okay, I knew this were is where my brain would go. But is that where I want to go? You know, how and how deeply do I want to go? Like, for instance, I shared I want to be there and have empathy for my friend. I want to feel I don't want to be completely desensitized to tragedy. I want to allow myself to experience that and process the emotion that comes with hearing sad and tragic news. But how do I keep it in perspective, so that it doesn't overwhelm life? Okay. A second thing is that, because we have this negative emotional bias, negative emotions tend to have more emotional intensity than positive emotions. So think about this, think about losing $500.

Laura Lummer 8:38
That's pretty bad, right? You lose $500, it's going to feel terrible, you're going to worry, you're going to think about the things that impacts or whatever amount of money. Think about finding $500. That's super exciting, right? Super exciting. But will it be as intense, and will the intensity of the emotion of the thrill of it last as long as the negative experience of losing something, you know, I had a long career in retail. And in retail, obviously, customer service is very important. And in customer service, one of the rules of thumb was that if somebody has a negative experience, they will tell nine people about that negative experience. And if they have a positive experience, they'll maybe share it with one person. And I think living in this community in this society now where we depend a lot on reviews, right? I don't, I rarely buy anything if it doesn't have a review on it. So it's nice to see when people leave positive reviews and have good experiences. But a lot of times you see a lot of negative reviews because people have a tendency to want to express that intensity of the negative experience and a negative emotion is more powerful and can be more motivating and driven because of the next thing because we ruminate on it. Because we think about it over and over because we talk about it over and over again. And that is what increases the intensity of that emotion. So what do we do? What do we do in life? When there are true sad things happening, I think about this just popped into my mind as I'm talking about this. You know, in December of 2011, I was in chemotherapy. And I've shared the story on the podcast. Before that my chemo ended, my last chemo treatment was December 30. And in my mind, I was so set on January 1, like January 1, life is going to be good January 1, I get to start new. And in December, in that experience of being in chemo, my mind was really in, this just sucks. And I've just got to get through it. But with hindsight, I can look back and see, yeah, chemotherapy sucks. I mean, there's nothing easy about taking IV chemotherapy. But life didn't suck. Everything in life didn't suck, I had a tremendous amount of blessings in life and so many things to be grateful for, right? But the intensity of what I didn't like, and the energy that was being put into doing what I didn't want to be doing was so powerful. This is where thought work comes in. So I want to talk about this because I want to support you, and help you be aware when you notice this happening in life. And I know it's gonna happen, it happens to all of us. When we have negative experiences, we have to be able to stop ourselves and seek balance. And the way that we seek that balance is really through this sounds very simple. But it really is powerful, is through mindfulness. So let me use the example of what happened to me today. So I'm physically accosted by someone screaming at me and hitting my car, right. And in the moment where that was happening, it's scary. It's angering, it's triggering. It's whatever things are going on. But 20 minutes later, when I'm safe, and it's over. Mindfulness means to be able to notice that my brain is still living 20 minutes in the past, still running What happened 20 minutes in the past, and not being here in the moment, where I'm at a different place, I am safe. No damage was done to me, no damage was done to my car. Mindfulness means Can I now bring my brain into this moment? Now, that doesn't mean, if something happened, that you don't ask yourself? Is there a different solution here is if something happened to you, that was upsetting and tragic?

Laura Lummer 12:39
Is there a way you can protect yourself from it in the future? Is there something you can plan for? Is there some action you need to take? I think all of those things need to be explored, obviously. But in the situation where I was in, right where nothing could be done. It was just it happened, it was over. It was okay. So important in that moment to be able to realize what my brain was doing. And to notice that and I did notice that on I actually pulled over in the parking lot that I was in, I was running an errand, I was dropping something off, I thought I need to take a minute here. And I stopped there in the parking lot. I was like, okay, hold on, let this shit go. Okay, it's done. I'm here, I'm safe. I'm okay. And honestly, in my head, I started listing blessings that were in my life, I started just looking like, here you are, you are safe, you are good. You're going home, your husband is there, your house is safe, everything you know, and really showing my brain evidence that it's okay now, to let this go. It's okay now to feel safe. And it's so interesting. And I think even hearing myself say it this way. Sometimes it's like, we have to treat our brain like this little toddler that's living inside of us. And we have to notice when the toddler is just going berserk, right and just has no emotional regulation, and be the observer of that and stop it and go Hold on there. Hold on. I'm really feeling intense emotion here. I'm noticing stories. And the more I think about the story, the more intense I get. And then you know, when something like that happens, I'm thinking, well, here's how I responded that maybe I should have done this. And maybe I should have done that. And I should have said this to him and oh, no, good. Not a good idea if you would have said that to him, right? Again, there's no sense in that, right? These thoughts don't help. They're making a situation worse in a situation even when and I mean, we just have to address the fact that this is there's a lot of political unrest, there's a lot of social unrest. And when our brains go into this, and we're really engaging in thought and ruminating on everything that's going on. We think that we're trying to solve it, but in fact, we're making it worse. ourselves, I think this is so important to talk about right now. Because stress is so impactful on our health. And stress reduction is an incredibly important part of taking care of ourselves. So when we know my brain has a negative bias, negative things have a lot of emotional intensity, negative things and the emotional intensity seem to put the brain in this place where the brain just keeps running it over and over again, right? Reruns reruns reruns in your head. And we've got to be able to notice it and stop to bring us back into this moment and to be mindful and to say, Okay, what's actually true right now for me, instead of what happened, instead of what might happen? Where am I at now? I think this relates to us in every aspect of life, right? Something that just popped up in my head, is when in relationships, someone will say, How long are you going to hold that against me? Right? We ruminate on the story of what happened, we keep bringing it back into our lives. We do this to ourselves with cancer. How that happened to me here? Is it going to happen again, what if it happens again, I will often coach people who are in this story who are talking to me in this moment with no evidence of disease, but in their minds, creating another experience of cancer. And I gotta say, friends, I get it. I know it happens. I know why it happens. I've had it happen to me, it's so important that we begin to develop this skill set these tools of regulating that thought process, we have to focus on thought work, we have to coach ourselves in these moments of emotional challenge, and regulate our brain actually not deny negative emotions, not be delusional about anything that happened. But to be really real with ourselves. And that means seeking balance. And it means looking at life from a larger perspective. And sometimes we just have to stop, we have to stop. We have to really intentionally be mindful. Maybe take a few breaths, and talk ourselves through these situations. So I have people often who I'll be on a coaching call with and they'll say, This is crazy, right? I'm crazy, right? No, you're not crazy at all, you are not crazy. You have a human brain. And this is how your human brain works. So when you notice it, when you notice the brain bringing up lots of negativity, lots of intense negative emotions, rather than judging it as crazy. That's why I think this message is important that Oh, I know, this is what's going on. I see now this is how my brain is working. And isn't it interesting justice, I say that, right? You're the observer of those thoughts. And the more you practice, this is what we practice in my membership and my life coaching membership, this is where we practice in all my courses is learning how to be the observer of the thoughts that are going through your head, and the emotional upset they are causing in your life, or the thoughts that are going through your head that you're intentionally choosing to create the emotions and the actions that you want to have in your life. But at this time of year, sadness comes up for a lot of people. This is this year, two of my sons who are living in Colorado, I won't get to see them for Christmas. And as my family has grown, and people have kind of moved and, and my sisters who are older now, and their kids are adults, and they're traveling more during the holidays, and it's not the same. And sometimes some sadness creeps in there. And like, it's just not the same anymore. But even though it's not the same, it still is beautiful. And we still create what we can create. And we still are together with who can be together. And I think that this whole philosophy feeds into that as well. If we can be mindful and be in these moments where the moments are all the beauty they can be. It doesn't mean that we don't acknowledge there's a sadness and emptiness that maybe everyone can't be here. But holy cow who is here, who am I with? How do I want to feel right now. And we're we're in moments of potential joy, right moments where we can be mindful, be present, and take in joy and create joy for ourselves, where we let our brains go into what isn't happening right now. Or what has happened in the past that isn't good. And rob us of that joy. Right? It's really a very intentional practice, and something so important that we do We have to realize, life is never all good. And it's never all bad. It is always good and bad. It's like half and half happening all the time. So how do you want to feel in your life? And in your day? How do you allow yourself to experience everything, right to be open to be empathetic, to practice compassion, and yet released yourself from the idea that even if things around you, or things you're seeing or hearing, have negativity, you also still get to experience joy in life, too. How do you find that balance? And it is in being in the moment. And it is in realizing what you actually have control over in that moment. You know, sometimes we can't change the situation. But we can dig into compassion and support people who are going through a situation. Sometimes we can't have what we want. But we can look at how amazing what we do have is, and I think that that's just a really important thing to consider, to think about. And to remind ourselves, that it's okay to feel joy, and that we can feel compassion and human empathy and joy at the same time in the same life. All right, my friends, hope you take good care of yourselves and if you need help with that, and help with that thought work and help with developing those tools. Come and join me in the better than before breast cancer life coaching membership, because it is all about creating the life that you want. While we take in the stuff that's real, right? There's no toxic positivity, there's no pretending there's no delusion. It's just learning how to manage your mind around manifestation and the life you really want to live. You can get all the details at the breast cancer recovery coach.com And I hope to see you there until then I'll talk to you soon take good care of yourself

Speaker 1 21:59
use courage to the test laid all your doubts you your mind is clearer than before your heart is full and wanting more your futures given all you know has you been waiting


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