a monster about to bite a man's head

No More Poison

I’ve often thought my leukemia could be traced back to a seven-year period when I endured a chronic level of intense stress. I, of course, had no knowledge of actual research in this area. It was just a feeling I had.

Though there is little evidence (yet) that stress is a direct cause of leukemia, a growing number of studies connect stress with a reduction in the immune system and possibly the progression of the disease.

Not all stress is bad of course. The stress you put your body through with proper exercise can actually, in my opinion, help. But what of long-term, continual, often psychological stress?

Stress and cancer research

A study by Barbara L. Andersen, a professor of psychology at Ohio State University, "linked stress with biological disease markers in patients with CLL."1

And an intensive analysis of multiple studies done over a period of 30 years (published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information), suggested “the immune system, once thought to be autonomous, is now known to respond to signals from many other systems in the body, particularly the nervous system and the endocrine system." In other words, the areas in our body that respond to stress.2

There are many things you can do to help reduce the negative effects of long-term stress. Meditation, exercise, getting enough sleep, and even eating well can help. But I believe there is a particularly dangerous type of stress you can only reduce by directly eliminating the source.

Eliminating toxic people from your life

Any sane person would not ingest regular doses of cyanide, yet many of us allow another type of poison in our daily lives: toxic people.

You can no longer afford to endure the headaches, worries, and just plain pain that difficult people bring your way. If someone comes to you talking about problems in their lives, of course, you can listen, console, and even give advice if they ask for it. But you don’t need to get directly involved with their issues.

If you are like me you tend to be too empathic to the difficulties others are facing. I’m trying to no longer do this. I can’t afford to become a mentor for overly needy people. I have enough of my own struggles. I can’t – I won’t – endanger my health by making their dramas part of my life.

Don't fight, just let them go

And never let anyone bring anger into your home, especially if it is directed towards you. If you have a hurtful, selfish person aiming his/her hate at you despite your efforts to solve the issue, don’t fight. Just let them go. Love them, forgive them, but don’t allow them to serve up their poisonous meal to you.

I know that may sound cold. I don’t mean it to. But you have to protect your health as much as possible. You have leukemia after all.

Protect yourself. Avoid toxic people. If you can’t, at least tell them to leave their drama at home.

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