Is Emotional Stress Increasing Your Breast Cancer Risk?
By Elyn Jacobs
While Western medicine may not recognize it, the idea that emotional stress can contribute to the development of cancer has been known since ancient times in China.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) understands that while there are many reasons for cancer, one of the main causes is emotions.
In particular, it considers depression (as in repressed anger), grief (usually because of death of a loved one), and anxiety (worry and fearfulness, and excess circular thinking) to be major contributing factors.
There is also the fledgling field of “psychoneuroimmunology” which is the study of how psychological states, as detected in activity of the nervous system, impact the immune system. It suggests that emotional stress increases a person’s susceptibility to cancer by altering the genes that control the stress response.
While toxic emotions do not actually change our genes, they do set off a surge of cellular changes resulting in cancer. Continued degradation of the epigenetic structure of our genes leads to impaired immunity and increased susceptibility to cellular mutation.
While one disappointment is not likely going to give you cancer, chronic emotional stress will certainly increase your risk of cancer and its recurrence.
There is no magic pill that can free the mind from all of life’s atrocities. However, deep breathing calms a heightened sympathetic nervous system responsible for fight or flight and relaxes the body. Exercise, a healthy diet, and pursuing mind-calming activities such as yoga, meditation, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), psychotherapy, Reiki, Qi gong, music therapy, and TCM can all be helpful.
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