Dealing with the aftermath of breast cancer treatment can be difficult. Even though you try to stay positive and you want to move forward, sometimes you can get stuck in thought patterns that don’t serve you, or even make you feel worse.
In this episode we’ll talk about the fine line between processing negative emotions and getting stuck, ruminating on them.
It can be difficult to identify when you’re ruminating and to find the motivation to pull yourself out of that spot.
But there are good reasons to do it and simple, natural steps to take. You’ll hear all about them and how they support your brain thinking in more productive ways and you feeling better overall.
Listen in to learn how to turn ruminating into productive thinking and LIVE WITH JOY!
What will you learn:
The Difference between emotional processing and ruminating
What ruminating is and how to know when you’re doing it.
5 simple steps you can take to stop ruminating.
The 3 Biggest Mistakes Women Make After Breast Cancer Treatment- Grab your Seat!
Exercise for Mood and Anxiety Disorders by: Michael W. Otto
Diet and depression by: Dr. Monique Tello
Read Full Transcript Below:
Hi, 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 re engaged with life and have incredible stories to share. This podcast is your go to resource for getting back to life after breast cancer.
Well, hello and welcome to another episode of the breast cancer recovery coach Podcast. I am your host Laura Lummer. And I have so many things to thank you for before we even get into the show. So first of all, I want to thank you because the breast cancer recovery coach podcast this past week. Seated the 50,000 download mark, and I am so excited about that. And obviously that would never happen without you and your support. And just Gosh, just being there and downloading and listening and making it so much easier for everyone else to find it leaving reviews just thank you so, so so much. I, you know, when I started this podcast, I would think of course, I want to reach hundreds of thousands of women. And I had this coach that said, Why, why would you stop hundreds of thousands, why not millions? And I thought, okay, millions, okay, millions, but that's kind of hard to wrap your mind around. And when I see this 50,000 Mark that's just so phenomenal is so huge, and I'm so excited and I'm so grateful that you're there and you're listening and you're supporting my message and my mission and I hope that you're benefiting from hearing the podcast as well. I also enjoy amazed at the amount of people who are joining the breast cancer recovery group on Facebook, it's phenomenal. I think we had, I don't even know like 46 new members just this week alone. So there's, I believe well over maybe even 150 or so and just the last couple of weeks. So it's wonderful. I'm so happy. You're hearing about the group, you're finding it, you're joining it. And we're going to make sure that that group gives everyone who joins it, all the support and encouragement that they need. And I've had so many people reach out to me through my email. I even talked about on one podcast how the husband of a breast cancer survivor, reached out and purchased my, my course re vivify because he said he wanted to learn more so he could support his wife. And so many other family members and loved ones have reached out. And I they've asked to join the breast cancer recovery group. And so in response to that, what I did Is I started a new group called the breast cancer survivor supporters group. Because in my own experience being both a survivor and the loved one with people who have had cancer, I know that the needs are very unique to both of those roles. And I thought, you know, I can't turn these people away, they're suffering, they, they, they're helpless. They want to help their loved one. But it's a different conversation than the ones I would have with someone who's actually going through or having recovered from breast cancer. So there is a new group on Facebook, you can go to my Facebook page, LauraLummer.com and go to groups. And you can find that there the breast cancer survivors supporters group, so if you're a loved one, or you have a loved one who needs a little bit of camaraderie, they can join that group and I'll be there helping them and giving them advice and coach them along the way as well. And two other huge things. So my first webinar at the time This recording I did it last week. And it was so fun and so awesome. I have three more webinars coming up. Two will be if you're listening to this when this show comes out, two will be tomorrow on Friday, March six, and then another one on Sunday, March eight. And these webinars are free. You can grab your seat at LauraLummer.com/savemyspot or just go to my website and you'll see it right on the homepage. You can click reserve my seat there free.
You know, it's about 40-45 minutes, and then there's questions and answers. And it's focused on the three biggest mistakes women make after breast cancer treatment. So I talk about three very critical mindset shifts for you to make. Because really finding joy, finding happiness recovering and healing is so deeply grounded in mindset. And so I want to share these three mindset shifts with you and I will Hope to see you on one of the webinars. The first one was great, I've got amazing how many people are signed up for these other three. And if you're listening and you haven't signed up yet, grab a spot and come and join me on the webinar. I'd love love to have you present and it was so much fun. And I got such great feedback for the information that everybody heard on it. So love sharing that information. And as you probably know, my revivify course my 10 week, online coaching course, is open for enrollment, that enrollment ends on Sunday, March 8 at 9pm. So if you are ready to take that step and you're looking for a coach to guide you, you know, come and hear more about it on the webinar, or find out about it. LauraLummer.com/YES. And you can read all about what that coaching program entails. It is going to be phenomenal. I'm super excited about it. So, all that being said, Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of that support. All this excitement, so many great things have happened and so many great things coming in 2020. So let's get into this topic. I think this is a really cool thing to touch on in a couple of shows ago, I talked about city with painful emotions. And some of the feedback that I got. And some of the comments I've heard from other women since then caused me to dig into this a little deeper. So it's not the same as sitting with painful emotions, a little bit of a shift here, but I hope that you enjoy it. So let me start by sharing a story with you to kind of lead into this topic. So I get in my car the other day, you probably know I live in Southern California. It's, you know, it was the end of February. It was a beautiful, the perfect, sunny day. And I just remember getting in my car. I was driving somewhere and I thought, Ah, it's so beautiful. All I want to do is play today is It's just one of those perfect days up. And I turned on my radio because I like to listen to audible books whenever I drive anywhere. But in the transition between getting to my book, I hear the news. I think I have like National Public Radio is always on. And in that, you know, whatever it is one minute gap between turning on the radio and getting to my audible book, I hear this news cast and everything. So, with this really dry February, do you think we need to be worried about a drought again? And I was just like, Oh my God, we what is the deal with this? Negative, negative, negative, right? I know it's the news. It's there. You've got to stir up controversy or conflict or fear in order to get people to listen. But I thought when I heard that, you know, it's a damn shame that so often we have so many simple beautiful, amazing things in our lives. And we gravitate towards those things that are negative. So let me walk you through a little bit more. When I when I decided to start an online business coaching breast cancer survivors, and I started to learn the beginning steps to take. It was very intimidating to say the least. And it wasn't just the software and the behind the scenes ins and outs that was so intimidating. It was my own thoughts of what if no one listens? What if they don't like what I have to say? What if they criticize me? What if, what if, what if, but as I like to say, sometimes you just have to do things scared, and that's what I did. And then shortly after putting up my Facebook page, and like in my very early podcast, maybe I hadn't even think I had done one or two podcasts. I got this notification that someone had commented on my page. So I was super excited, like oh was somebody heard and somebody who's commenting and I opened up the Facebook app and someone had definitely found my page. And I looked at the comment and it was awful. It was so mean, it was exactly what I was afraid would happen by putting myself out into cyberspace. It was a woman calling me names, criticizing everything that I had written, comparing me to Big Pharma, as someone who's just looking to take advantage of cancer patients.
And I just, I felt sick to my stomach. I felt so defeated. And it didn't help. Right around that same time. There was some other woman who every time I posted something on my business Facebook page, she would respond with try cannabis. That's it just two words, everything I would post two words, try cannabis. And I thought, What am I doing here? I mean, I really question whether or not I should keep doing this. I wondered if this is what I was going to have to deal with? Or am I gonna have to keep putting up with people calling me names or pushing pod or just not responding at all because like, this all sucks. This is not fun. And at one point, there was a couple of months I didn't even put out a podcast, because I thought it just doesn't matter. like no one's listening anyway, and it just doesn't matter. And then I got an email from a woman who wanted to check on me, because she loved the podcast and she missed it. And she wondered if I was okay. She was afraid that maybe I had had a recurrence and I was ill. And so many times since then, I've received messages of encouragement or reviews from people letting me know that the podcast made a difference for them.
And those messages are what, get me through those tough times. They get me through the discouraging days and the very long nights and I make the choice to focus on those comments, rather than on the main ones. Because if I allowed my mind and my anxious thoughts and my self doubt to take root, then I'd be concentrating on them, rather than concentrating on what I want to accomplish. And what I told people I would show up for, and that would leave me completely stuck and frustrated. And you wouldn't be listening to me today. Because I would be ruminating and I don't mean chewing cud like a cow. I mean engaging in the act of rumination, which means according to Psychology Today, the tendency to repetitively think about the causes, situational factors, and consequences of a negative emotional experience. So I want to talk about this action of ruminating today. I feel like this is a really sensitive space. But it's also a very important space to look at, openly and honestly with yourself. It's sensitive because as a survivor, anytime someone tells you think positive, or while you're lucky, it wasn't fill in the blank, there most likely just going to piss you off, or make you feel guilty and ashamed. And either way, you don't want that. And I don't want that for you. However, there is a difference between thinking positively and choosing where to focus your attention. So let me give you some examples. When you're in treatment for breast cancer, it's scary, it's miserable, it's lonely, it's powerless, the list goes on, and you know that and you have every right to feel what every way you feel, and completely experienced those emotions. But if you focus on how shitty you feel, on your insomnia, and your hot flashes and your fatigue You fear. If you ruminate about why this is happening to you, or how scared you are, you're likely to end up as much an emotional wreck as you feel a physical wreck. An article published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology in 2005, called emotional distress, the sixth vital sign in cancer care, with the first five being physical symptoms like blood pressure and temperature and all that. Another study called the assessment of depression and anxiety and breast cancer patients was published in the Asian Pacific Journal of cancer prevention in 2018. And it said emotional distress in cancer patients is associated with a reduction in overall quality of life among patients and has a negative impact on compliance levels with medical treatment and carries an elevated risk of mortality. So you really want to man and reduce emotional distress as much as possible, so that you support your chances of having the best outcome from treatment. Then when you finish treatment, and you think it's time to take a breath and let all that stress go, there's a whole new set of challenges that you have to come to terms with body image, sexuality, ongoing physical symptoms, emotional trauma, fear and anxiety around medications or occurrences. But again, if you focus on thinking about these things, you're going to find yourself feeling less than stellar, and very likely, at least mildly depressed. So you're probably thinking, Okay, come on, Laura, how am I not going to think about my numb hands and my aching joints and my growing belly? So let me clarify. Of course, you're going to think about these things, because you have to process them and find solutions, but the difference between processing and ruminating can be a very slippery slope. And what separates the two of those? Is productivity. Meaning when you think about a negative or troubling situation, are you processing it, learning from it, growing from it and then moving forward with life? Or are you thinking about it over and over, talking about it over and over, and nothing is changing?
I study in the Journal of abnormal psychology stated that people who engage in ruminative responses, focusing on their symptoms and the possible causes and consequences of their symptoms will show longer depressions than people who take action to distract themselves from their symptoms. That author goes on to say that ruminative responses pro long depression because they allow the depressed mood to negatively bias thinking, interfere with instrumental behavior, problem solving. So how do you know if you're ruminating? And what can you do about it? Well, if you're thinking about something, let's say you're thinking about how breast cancer changed your life, and you're going over something that's particularly difficult for you, and you find yourself going back to that same pattern of thinking again and again, without any resolution, or you end up feeling worse than you did when you started thinking about it, then you're no longer processing. You are stuck, you are ruminating. I think it was a couple of episodes ago that I told the story of how I could tell when my husband got sick of listening to me complain about the same thing over and over again in recovery. And that's because I was ruminating instead of finding a solution or a point of access. Upton's for what was bothering me. I just kept wrestling with the same thing over and over. And I would felt worse and more defeated and more angry as time went on. That is ruminating. And even if you recognize that in yourself, it may be tough to move on from because if you're angry like I was, you might not want to let go. I was like a little girl stomping her foot and taking a stand and saying, No, I will not let go of this. I took good care of myself cancer treatment, messed up my metabolism and Damn it, I want it made right. I had to finally get to the point where I had to accept where I was, and learn to move forward with joy from there. And that's a key phrase with joy. So I'll let you in on the way that I like to approach very challenging situations in my life. I like to start with the end goal. in mind, and for me, the end goal in my life is to live freely with joy while having a positive impact on the people I encounter every day. So when I feel stuck, or angry or whatever, I asked myself, is this behavior serving my goal? And if it isn't, then something has to change. And sometimes it takes me a minute to ask myself that question depending on how much I dislike a situation, but ultimately I do end up there. So when you find yourself in the spot where you trying to process difficult emotions, but you realize you become stuck, and now you're ruminating, I'm going to give you five things you can do to try to get back on track heading towards a solution. Number one, move your body. Now you may think that's crazy, but trust me it isn't. We stored emotions in our bodies. I talked about this. Just A couple of shows ago, when you move your body, you release things that don't serve you. And you generate chemical reactions that do serve you. Michael Otto, PhD and professor of psychology at Boston University, was quoted in an article called the exercise effect. It was published in the American Psychological Association. And he said, many people skip the workout at the very time. It has the greatest payoff that prevents you from noticing just how much better you feel when you exercise. He says failing to exercise when you feel bad, is like explicitly not taking an aspirin when your head hurts. That's the time you get the payoff. Now, if you heard my interview in Episode 68, with Dr. Robert Nagorny, he talks about exercise as a therapy. And I want you to stop and think about this for just a minute. Do you know anyone Who you would refer to as an active person who you would also say is depressing or heavy or lethargic, just like a downer to be around. Think about that for a second. When people are down, what do they do? stay in bed, isolate themselves. Maybe they drink something along those lines, right, something dark, something heavy. If you're stuck, start moving your body.
If for some reason you cannot exercise, walk as fast as you can, or find something to kick I'm not even kidding. A bolster or a cushion or a ball, kick that sucker until you can't kick it any more. And something will shift. Something will release. When you move your body consistently continually. It will help you get out of that place of being stuck. ruminating. Number two, find someone to confide in. This is so important. I've talked about it on the podcast, and I devote an entire lesson to it in revivify, you must create champions for your success and happiness. These are the people that you break down the protective barrier with. And you promise to come to the table with them with an open mind and an open heart. Meaning you could say to your champion in this situation, do you think I'm stuck here? And when your champion says, Yes, I think you need to move on. You can cry and stomp and you can tell them how much you don't want to or how unfair it is, or you don't know how you're going to, but you can't get mad at them for being honest with you. Because you need them to help you move forward and to feel safe being honest with you. Number three, eat salads. I know you think that's crazy, but trust me again here think about it. Think about the energy of ruminating and I just talked about heavy, stuck and moving. Think about the energetics of a salad. Light, fresh, vibrant, crispy. This is very ayurvedic. When you're too heavy. You do things to lighten your body heavy, meaning emotionally heavy, physically heavy. I know you know what I'm saying that sense of stuckness It's a sense of being healthy. So you increase motion and you eat foods that are light. You apply the opposites and try to change that energetic. I could just say to you don't eat crap, but that will just annoy you because we ladies don't like to be told what we can't do. Me included. So I suggest that you try in a light colored Full, lovely salad for lunch every day. Dr. Monique Tello, a contributor to Harvard health blog at Harvard health publishing says in her article on diet and depression. This is a quote, what it boils down to, is that what we eat matters for every aspect of our health, but especially our mental health. She goes on to say that self care includes things like sleep, physical activity and diet, and is just as important as meds and therapy, sometimes more so. Unquote. Ladies, please know diet and exercise have gotten a bum rap by being exclusively associated with the idea of weight loss. They are critical to your health above and beyond an independently of weight loss. Okay. Number four, write about what you are grateful for. I bet you thought I was going to tell you right what you're stuck with. But here's two reasons why I'm not telling you that. When you write something, you trigger a mechanism called encoding. And encoding is a process of our brain deciding what's important what gets stored, what gets tossed. To put it very simply, writing improves your chances of that information being stored in your long term memory. A study published in psycho oncology that looked at a group of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients who were instructed to journal as a part of a 12 week support group found that a greater focus in writing on negative emotions was related to higher levels of anxiety and depression.
And the second reason I'm telling you to write about what you're grateful for, is you're already ruined. Right, we're talking about when you're stuck in your ruminating. So you need to break that cycle of focusing on the negative emotion, not reinforce it by repeatedly writing it. And what else happens when you're ruminating? Well, you're you're tunnel visioned, you're focusing on the problem. Let's say it's dissatisfaction with your breasts after treatment. You're so focused on that, that you're not recognizing the good things about yourself. You're not accepting the love and the acceptance that a romantic partner is extending to you.
This so this reminds me of a woman that I coach just a few months ago
who thought that she should break up with her fiance because she was going to have her breasts removed, and then he deserved a home woman. She was devastated. He was devastated. He loved her. He wanted her but she would did not want to accept that. I cannot tell you how these situations just tear at me. Right, your gratitudes acknowledge them and get a bigger picture of your life. Do not allow cancer to consume everything. When you write what you're grateful for, you get a bigger picture of what's really happening. Number five, practice self compassion. For God's sake, be easy on yourself and ask yourself this one question. If the person I love most in the entire world, outside of yourself, was going through what I'm ruminating on, what would I tell her?
And then keep telling that to yourself, because that's the actual truth.
If you change your thoughts, you will change your life. And that I know that sounds cliche, but there's a reason why it keeps being Sad, and it's because it's true. As I've been promoting the enrollment period for my coaching course, I've reached a lot of new people on Facebook. And I've heard many comments from women that are really negative with respect to what breast cancer has done to them. And I get that I totally get it. I'm not judging here. But there's a big difference between those who say, this is just crap. It's always crap. It's never going to end. And those who say, oh, wow, thank God, someone who gets it, what can I do? It's a mindset. And that's the key to living a joyful life independent of anything else. I remember years ago, cash was a long time ago, there was this insanely popular book called Tuesdays with Morrie. And it was about a young guy who every Tuesday would visit his college professor who was dying from ALS. And this man the professor was, so positive and so inspiring and it was funny. And the book was incredible. And I thought, Wow, how does somebody do that? How do you go through such hell, and still love life and be fun and funny. And now I know it's a choice. And we have to make it over and over and over and over. So if you're stuck, try one of these five steps. Try all of those five steps. And I hope they help you. I also hope you join me in one of my remaining webinars, because we're going to talk about mindset and shifting your thoughts there in the three biggest mistakes women make after breast cancer treatment, and how to turn them into steps toward a thriving life. It's almost like a live podcast. It's really, really fun. And I would love to have you on there. At the time of this recording, there's three webinars left. You can grab a free seat Again at Lauralummer.com/savemyspot or just go straight to my website, you'll see it on the homepage. And if you're ready to take that leap and join me in revivify, my 10 week online coaching program, you can go straight to LauraLummer/com/YES. And at the time of this recording, there's three days left before enrollment closes. It ends on Sunday, March 8 at 9pm. And then the course begins on Monday, March 9, and I would love to work with you on your journey to recovery. So thank you so much for listening today. And until I talk with you again next week, be good to yourself.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai