A woman finds inner peace through decluttering her emotions.

My Emotional Survival Kit

A blood cancer diagnosis, along with the many available treatment options, can dump a bucket full of stress and more in your lap.

Living a complicated life

Suddenly everything in life is more complicated. The most simple and routine tasks now loom as insurmountable obstacles. Having faced cancer 3 times, I found it useful to make a few changes that simplified my living with cancer, and at the same time took bit of pressure off those close to me.

Making changes

Here are a few of the things I discovered.

Deep Breathing

First and foremost was discovering that when you are under stress it is very  easy to develop the bad habit of shallow breathing. These days my first de-stressing tool when encountering any emotional situation is to take a quick deep breath and then exhale it slowly through my nose. Done 3 – 5 times in a row this simple technique can do perform wonders to calm the stormy waves of stress that are pounding you emotionally and physically.

It is especially helpful to have one of those clips on the finger oxygen readers (pulse oximeter) handy in the house. A consistent reading a few months ago under 90 for example let me know that it was time to go to the emergency room to get checked for COVID.  Some6 days later I came home after being treated and released for COVID pneumonia

Ask what's the priority today

Next on my list, I ask myself what things important right to me right now. Not tomorrow or next week but now. While you can do a quick mental list, I  found it far more helpful to write down 1 but not more than 3 of the  most important priorities on an index card. I will either tape that card up somewhere obvious or put in my pocket for reference. As my mind clears, I review the list and put the items in order of importance. More importantly I ask myself not what can go wrong but rather what possible positive answers could be the outcome.

A few more stress-busting tips

At that point any stress is lessening, and it becomes easier for me to move forward and away the real or imagined stress and negative outcomes. Here are a few easy  things anyone can do to  simplify life and turn down stress causing inflammation.

Turn off the news

The first is to turn off the TV news. Chances are you have enough tough things in your life, so why choose to  add more. In the news industry the driver for attracting more viewers is to follow a simple formula “ if it bleeds it leads.”  In short, the stories with more disturbing news are promptly featured. Do you really need an overdose of more bad news on top of dealing with blood-cancer?

Do an act of kindness for someone

Coming in at number 2 in my “easy to do” list is - do an act of kindness for someone you encounter including a total stranger. Nothing lifts my spirits more than to see someone smile or say thank you. And do not be surprised if your simple act inspires others to do something similar. No long ago one person at a drive in decided to pay for the unknown person directly behind in line. Apparently that single act of kindness sparked an hour-long chain of drivers being surprised that their coffee had been paid for by the car in front of them and each passed it on.

De-clutter something

If you are brave enough the next insider  trick is understand that no one in this world is perfect - not even, you. Now is the best time to let your mad drive for perfection careen off the road and enjoy the bliss of a bit of chaos. Suddenly mountains become mole hills and life gets a bit easier. As you can and are able eliminate clutter in one place in your home. Be it a kitchen counter or a desktop, the act of creating some sense of order anywhere will help destress your mind. Over time and as you can tackle one declutter target at a time.

Those are my thoughts and what has worked for me. Feel free to pass your personal stress reduction hints along so we all can share.

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