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Many who have had cancer will recognize it: fear of the disease coming back. Certainly in the first five years after diagnosis, most people hold their hearts with every check-up and every scan: How am I doing? Am I still clean?

In 2017, a study by the Netherlands Breast Cancer Association showed that in 9% of people after breast cancer, the fear of cancer return and the fear of metastases may arise every day. 19% of the ex-patients think about it every week, and 37% say they think about it a few times. Only 2% of people are never afraid or anxious. Those are numbers that make you think. At least me. Because so many people live in fear and block themselves to really enjoy their life.

There is nothing wrong with fear. Anxiety is a system in the human body that keeps you from becoming sick. It is a survival strategy, it protects and warns you.

But sometimes fears are not practical. They can get in your way mentally and physically. They attract all attention and they put thinking out of play. The fear tells you that you have to flee or paralyze. They can also ensure that you do not dare to believe the life of your dreams and therefore cannot become a reality.

Many people do not dare to make plans for the future

If we analyze fear, it consists of 2 types, namely real and unreal.
When you talk about real fear, it is the emotion that can be compared to being afraid. Without this fear you would not be able to distinguish and identify dangers. Irreal fear often arises from an event or experience of the past.

Example:

In the past you almost drowned while swimming and therefore became very afraid of everything that has to do with water. The fear that you had while swimming is a real fear. But NOW there is somewhere in your system registered that water isn’t ok.  Due to the memory  of the past you are being afraid of everything that has to do with water. You never go swimming and worse you avoid all contact with water.

But it is an unreal fear. In fact, it stops you and is anchored in the past.

Fearing that the disease will return is actually a consequence of unreal fear. It has become a mechanism. An unconscious emotional response that you cannot control. Every time you have to deal with an examination, check-up, scan, hospital, lump on your body, uncomfortable feeling, sore etc. this mechanism will be activated. Suddenly that fear is there without you having any control over it. What can you do to regain control?

Steps to take….

In 7 steps you can reduce anxiety and regain control

1. Name your fear

There is nothing more annoying than the unknown. You have fear. You just can’t explain it. But how can you control the fear if you cannot put it into words?

Complete the following:
I am afraid of ……
I want to get rid of my fear because …

2. Dare to reason your fear

Fear is ingrained in our physical system to make us alert. It is up to you to find out whether it is a real or an unreal fear. Writing is the easiest way to find out.

Now take pen and paper and answer the following questions:
A. What are you really afraid of?
B. Does fear serve you or does it stop you?
C. Does it have added value?
D. Is the fear based on the past?
If so, write this down. All details. Even though it seems to be of no value at the moment. Keep writing. At a certain point you will have the essence of the story.
E. Does fear NOW have added value for you?
F. What does fear tell you?

Answering the questions will not always be easy. You can walk against resistance and emotions. But give those feelings the chance to get out of your system. Only in this way can you gain insight into it, letting it go and transform.

While you are writing you will notice at some point that what you feel or think about the fear in advance is not based on logical reasoning.

3. Reduce your fear

Now that you know what your fear you want to learn and say, you also understand why it exists. Where there is fear, self-confidence, faith and love cannot exist. Give the fear less attention and focus more on the content of your lesson. You will notice that the fear becomes smaller and less powerful.

Everything that gives you attention grows

4. Take small steps

Answer and write down the following questions:
A. What steps could you take to reduce the fear?
B. What are you going to focus on?

5. Letting go

You have now had the courage to get through your fear. You have gained insights about your fear and how it works. It has done its job. It can now be released. The fear no longer has any power over you, the mechanism has been transformed and you have control again.

6. Really let go

Now you have probably filled several pages with your answers. Read them again carefully. You have gained insight into your fears, how they work and what they want to protect you from. Do you it clearly?

Clutter the described pages into a plug and set it on fire.
Of course you do that in a safe way. For example outside in a fire pit. You slowly see the pages change to ashes and as you watch this you release your fear(s). You are no longer held by the fear of the past.

Leave the past behind and look to the future

7. Affirmation, consious breathing and posture

(An affirmation is a way to influence your thoughts, your self-image, health and your self-confidence.)

Has the unreal fear disappeared?
The real fear always remains and that is a good thing. We all need that to survive.
But the point is that by following the above steps, the unreal fear has been reduced and/or isappeared.

Should it ever happen that you feel the feeling of fear coming up, you can immediately regain control by canceling affirmations and / or conscious breathing.

Conscious breathing exercise

Conscious breathing reduces anxiety. When you feel the fear coming up, consciously focus your attention on your breathing.

Breathe in 4 beats – breathe out 4 beats – breathe in 4 beats – breathe out 4 beats, etc. Continue until you master the fear. And while you focus on your breathing, think of a positive affirmation that you say to yourself in your mind.

For example:
I have faith in myself and my body
I am healthy and vital
I have confidence and hope
I love my life
I know what I want and focus on my goal

Posture

While you say affirmation to yourself, pay attention to your posture.
Stand straight with a straight back, chin up, shoulders back, and your chest slightly forward. This radiates certainty, confidence and strength.

Relax and enjoy

And now?

You have actively started to remove your own fear.
You Did A Great Job.
Now it is the time to regain your control over your life after cancer …

Be aware of your emotions, thoughts and posture
When ever you have the feeling of losing your controle -> conscious breathing is the solution at that moment.

Defeat unwanted throughts and emotions. Say ‘STOP-IT’ !!!

Positive thoughts
Thoughts are strong and can affect your life and in some cases determine. Thoughts also influence emotions and how you live and function in life. As with fear, it is important that you have control over your thoughts. When negative thoughts and spinsels like a gramophone record are always played in your head then it is nice that you can find the off button.
Let your thoughts work for you and not against you

Be grateful for what you have brought so far. Then make your choice where you are going.

Because you have the right to live

Elles Van Dee
https://angstvrijnakanker.nl/