I am thrilled to have my story in the May edition of MiNDFOOD Magazine, especially to be able to share my top five wellbeing practices. These are five practices that have been invaluable to me on a daily basis, particularly in weakening anxiety’s grip and the ongoing management of living with cancer.
I have expanded a little on each of these five suggestions here. Read on:
A choir meets two very important aspects of a healthy life: self-expression and sense of community. Singing in a group promotes relaxation, exaltation, and joy, yet you don’t have to be a great singer to be in a choir. You don’t even need to talk with other members, but it can be a wonderful way to discover your ‘tribe’. Find one by going to Google Maps and typing in; “find a choir near me“.
Make something from nothing, transform something into something else. A song– a poem– a book– a drawing– a garden– a garment– a soufflé– a chair. This is the “Do” part of living. Being able to create something takes you out of your head and into your body. Creating something enjoyable can enhance the feeling of “flow” where you lose track of time through focused attention on the activity.
Dance like no one is watching. Run like you are being chased by zombies(!) Walk while noticing the changes in the landscape. Swim in harmony with the waves. Pump iron like you are The Hulk or Captain Marvel. Whatever it is you like to do, or physically can do, practice it regularly. Check with your GP before you start and enlist an exercise physiologist if you need specialised advice. Exercise is especially important if you suffer depression or anxiety– MOTION changes EMOTION.
Everyone loves to tell you about superfoods and what foods should be avoided, especially if you have cancer. The most important and simple advice that I follow is to eat mostly plant-based food with plenty of protein. I am pescatarian, which is seafood plus a vegetarian diet. That works for me. Whatever works for you, eat it without guilt but also ensure you are getting enough protein at each meal to give you energy, build muscle and repair body tissue. If you aren’t sure what is enough protein for you, check with a dietician.
We spend a lot of our life moving through activities and recurring thoughts without stopping to observe what we are doing and how we are being. Mindfulness is the practice of sitting with or observing our thoughts as they come and go. It takes practice to notice thoughts without judging them or judging ourselves. If you find it is difficult to know how to start, try seeing a counsellor or psychologist or attend a meditation class. Mindfulness is just one form of meditation. Meditation has many benefits for managing anxiety around diagnoses and management of illness and promotes positive overall wellbeing.
So, that is my five suggestions for wellbeing. They are part of the twenty themes for coping with adversity explored in my book This Present Moment.
You can read the full MiNDFOOD article here.