Re: Handling anxiety
It is so very normal for you and your husband to feel both anxious and sad now.I know how the ruminative thinking becomes noxious and can take over one's life. Alcohol and sedatives only put it off, and it comes back stronger afterwards. In 1979, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn at the U.Mass Medical School began using a technique called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction on cancer patients to help relieve their physical pain and psychic distress. Since then, Mindfulness has become a mainstay for treating both patients' and caregivers' suffering. It can become a mind-healthy habit in about 6-8 weeks.
My psychotherapist taught me how to practice Mindfulness to relieve anxiety. It taught me how to recognize distressful thoughts, feelings and sensations and to adopt an attitude of detachment from them before they can take over and get in my way. Once you get the hang of it, it works and works quickly (it's never quickly enough!). It actually changes the brain (neuroplasticity), as well as reducing stress hormones and improving immune function.
UCLA has a Mindfulness Awareness Research Center that offers free podcasts. The Cancer Support Community's Benjamin Center also has many guided Mindfulness techniques available online. There may be places in your community that offer free support to cancer patients and caregivers. I've found that learning it in a group was particularly helpful if such a group is offered where you live.
Here are some references if you want to learn more about it. It's one psychotherapy that actually has a lot of scientific research behind it.
This one demonstrates an effect on the immune system and has a link to a free full-text article:
This one has some good explanations and its effectiveness in actual clinical use:
These looked at the effect on stress hormones and immune function, as well as quality of life:
And here are a couple that document its effectiveness in reducing anxiety and fears:
Last edited by Tall Allen; 10-01-2012 at 10:19 AM.