Cancer & Emotions: A Guide for Patients and Family (Part I)

Cancer & Emotions: A Guide for Patients and Family (Part I)

If you or a loved one has received a cancer diagnosis and are undergoing treatment know that experiencing both physical and emotional effects throughout the process is an expected and very normal part of the journey. Emotional changes are a normal reaction to the many adjustments and changes that patients and families experience after a cancer diagnosis. There are emotional effects that some individuals experience upon receiving the diagnosis and some that arise when undergoing treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health conditions associated with the course of the illness, from diagnosis and treatment to remission. And while your oncologist will help you with your physical health during this time, a counselor who is seasoned and experienced in working with cancer patients will help you with your emotional health.


Physical and Emotional

The physical side effects of chemotherapy medication (e.g., nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue) are often accompanied by emotional side effects (e.g., depression and anxiety). Depression and anxiety alone are common side effects of chemotherapy, but one or both can occur as a result of the bodily changes that individuals experience during chemotherapy treatment. The stress associated with receiving and coping with the diagnosis itself can also cause emotional difficulties. It can be difficult to distinguish between the cause of the emotional difficulties, which is why it is important to discuss any mental health symptoms with a physician in order to understand the symptoms, determine whether they are stemming from stress or from the chemotherapy medication and to get a referral for a cancer-specialist counselor.


Chemo Brain

Many cancer patients refer to the term “chemo brain” to describe the difficulty they have concentrating and other cognitive side effects of chemotherapy (e.g., memory lapses, decreased attention). Chemo brain disappears shortly after treatment in some individuals while others experience the effects long after treatment ends. Radiation treatment can also cause chemo brain. Another common side effect of radiation therapy is fatigue or decreased energy. Low energy can sometimes be confused with or appear like the patient is depressed since individuals with radiation-related fatigue experience decreased motivation and interest in doing things they normally enjoy (a typical symptom of depression). Other side effects of radiation therapy (e.g., skin problems, hair loss, eating difficulties) can sometimes cause emotional distress, as coping with these symptoms can interfere with the individual’s daily activities and effect overall well-being.


Over and Under Diagnosing

Over-diagnosing and under-diagnosing depression and anxiety is common among cancer patients due to the overlap of symptoms and side effects. It is important to normalize feelings and emotions and avoid labeling patients as “depressed” or “anxious” during the diagnosis, treatment, and recovery process. At the same time, these emotional difficulties should be appropriately addressed especially it they are excessive or distressing to the patient. Keep in mind that stress wears on the body and during cancer treatment, you want your body’s energy to be focused on fighting the cancer and regaining your health. Communication between the patient, caregivers, treatment team and the patient’s support system is key and will contribute greatly to an improved prognosis and a better quality of life for you and your loved ones.


Thanks for visiting our blog. Stay in touch for the rest of the articles in the Cancer and Emotions series, or even take a look at some of the other great articles we’ve posted already. Journey Well!


Forgiveness; Is This The Real Deal?

Forgiveness; Is This The Real Deal? – Live Better Live Now. Your life will require you to forgive and to be forgiven by others many, many, many times. The sooner you can learn this and also teach it’s practice to those you love – the sooner you and they can embrace a more free and happy life.

Here’s the “skinny” on what is and is not, forgiveness:


What Forgiveness Is NOT:

1. Condoning, dismissing or minimizing what has happened. Pretending it doesn’t matter only drives the negative inward, it doesn’t make it go away.

2. “Forgive and Forget”; this has got to be some of the worst of common wisdom out there. Forgetting is utter nonsense and foolishness. If you do not remember, you cannot learn and make better decisions ahead. Even the great religious texts do not ask us to forget. (ex. The bible specifies forgiveness, it doesn’t support forgetting…these two are very different.)

3. Reconciling. Keep in mind that forgiveness is a spiritual and internal act. It does not require the other person(s) involvement. Reconciliation is between the offending and the offended – this is a human exchange and unlike forgiveness, reconciling require reciprocity. Forgiveness is an action solely of itself. (forgiveness heals the self, reconciling heals the relationship – sometimes the relationship is not a safe or healthy one and it needs to dissolve).


What Real Forgiveness IS:

1. It’s hard to truly believe in or be open to forgiveness for ourselves when we cannot practice it for others.

2. The conscious choice to not only not seek revenge, but to not harbor the desire for it within ourselves.

3. Allowing whatever injustice we feel to be righted by an appropriate higher system and/or our higher power.

4. Allowing ourselves to see humanity, however flawed, of all involved and not just from a perspective as the offended.

5. Relating the story of what happened with consideration for the above (4) and not an account of accusation that continues to spread injury.

6. Asking, praying, meditating or hoping for healing for the offender – to whatever extent you can. This frees you to move forward in life.


(If you are having trouble wrestling with forgiveness, forgetting and reconciling in your own life, getting some professional guidance might be helpful).

Cultivate Community – Supporting Authentic Growth and Healing

The below is an excerpt from a post by Golden Willow Retreat; a very special place with a very special purpose – they know how to cultivate community – supporting authentic growth and healing. I was struck by this section which talks about the how and why of our need, as human beings, for community in order to grow and heal. It only takes a few minutes to read it, but I think it well worth such a small amount of time.


“…being open and listening to others also allows the individual to feel safe enough to let down their guard and become “real” and share emotion. This sharing allows present and historical emotional wounds to heal and also to become open to connecting with others and to realize that, as humans, we are not supposed to do this world alone. When we find connection, we heal ourselves and others. As our world becomes more and more demanding and we are inundated by information, more and more people are moving into a place of fear and isolating to protect themselves.


As the brain recognizes fear, it starts to shut down the frontal lobe; this is where connection, love, community, values, and morals are located. As the frontal lobe shuts down and the protective part of our brain takes over it becomes difficult to feel. This leads to a feeling of inadequacy, self-loathing, addictive tendencies, rage towards self and others and a sense of futility. The human species is meant to connect in order to heal. We are all healing from our wounds of not being seen, heard, and valued.

The wild thing is that as we begin healing from these wounds, by finding ways to connect and share healthy compassion, empathy and safety, our frontal lobes begin to function healthily. Being vulnerable and choosing to love and connect with others throughout their struggles, victories and humanness heals…”

To learn more about Golden Willow Retreat.


6 Tips About Preventing Prostrate Cancer

6 Tips To Help Prevent Prostrate Cancer

Did you know, that in the United States alone, it is estimated that more than twenty eight thousand men die from prostrate cancer yearly? However, thanks to early detection, most men that are diagnosed with this type malignancy have a survival rate of almost ninety eight percent. The tips in this article may help increase the survival odds for you.

Although prostrate cancer can occur in men under the age of fifty it is extremely rare. When it does occur under age 50 some doctors feel it may be related to DNA genes from the family or an abnormal problem with the testosterone hormone. Just because it is a rare occurrence in men under 50, this doesn’t mean that you can’t start preparing yourself to fight off prostrate illness early in your life.

Important Prevention Steps

One of the most important steps you can take to help prevent cancer, prostrate or otherwise, is to do your best to have a healthy lifestyle. One of the major lifestyle changes you can do is to stop smoking, if you smoke. Recent studies have not found a direct link from smoking to prostrate cancer; but it is believed it can have adverse affect on the DNA of the malignant growth causing it to spread more rapidly through the prostrate and into other parts of the body. (Journal of Urology (Vol. 169: 512-516).


Not only can smoking speed up the spread of cancer cells throughout your body it also causes major damage to your entire respiratory system. This can lead to problems with your immune system, which is a major contributor for preventing any disease, much less cancer.

Other studies have shown that a healthy diet can also decrease the odds of the early on set of cancer of the prostrate and its severity. Those diets, which are high in fiber and the natural vitamins required by your body, have been shown to be very helpful. Furthermore your natural defenses are increased with this type of diet.

When you are discussing dieting you are invariably led to the subject of exercise. Some of the other studies have shown that a sedate life style leads to a lowering of the body’s natural defense system. Exercise has been shown to help the immune system to work at top proficiency. So not only will you help your prostrate, but again lower the odds of contracting other life threatening diseases. This in turn brings us to one more tip that may be helpful for you.

Early Detection

Early detection is the absolute key to increasing the survival rate for cancer victims, prostrate or otherwise. One of the recommendations being touted is to have the first PSA sample taken around age 40. However, there is a good deal of controversy over this recommendation. Thos against it have stated that it will be too early to show any results. While those for it have said it will give a record for comparison as the person ages.

Now we need to give you another tip. No matter which camp your doctor is in it is important for you to discuss your concerns with your physician. The tips provided in this article on prostrate cancer are for information purposes only. They should not be taken as nor considered as medical advice.

Although prostrate cancer can be a life threatening disease, with the proper medical treatment and lifestyle changes, the chances of prostrate cancer being the actual cause of your death are small.



7 Drug Free Treatments – Pain and Anxiety

There are a variety of drug free, holistic treatments for pain and anxiety today that can compliment medical or therapeutic practices and help reduce both physical pain and emotional distress. In this article, 7 Holistic Treatments – Pain and Anxiety, we will be taking a brief look at a few of these drug-free methods and the benefits each of them offers for managing pain and anxiety.

1. Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a practice that has its roots in Eastern tradition. It is the practice of conscious awareness of the person’s inner states, feelings, behaviors, thoughts, and even external events. Mindfulness involves observing one’s experience without necessarily trying to change it or labeling it as good or bad. It can be applied in an effort to be more present and engaged with what’s going on around you or with what is happening within you. It means being present in the present. When practicing mindfulness, we pay attention to a single thing at a time and observe it with focused intention and without judgment.

When applying mindfulness for pain, we pay attention to that pain, which might seem paradoxical. However, when we pay attention to the pain, we reduce the stream of negative thoughts that can increase the experience of pain and e can reduce both the pain and the emotional effects it has. Mindfulness can reduce pain dramatically, with better effects the longer it is practiced. It can reduce the experience of pain too, helping us reduce the unpleasantness of it significantly.

Mindfulness can also help improve the quality of life for people who experience chronic pain and also boost mood which can also have a positive effect on pain levels. Remember the old saying “misery loves company”? – well, if your mood is negative, anxious or depressed that actually increases your sensitivity to things you find discomforting. Essentially, you are primed to find more discomfort.

As for anxiety, mindfulness also involves paying attention to the anxiety and observing it without judgment. You actually focus on the feelings and symptoms of anxiety rather than attempt to suppress them or change them. This allows you to calm down and become more aware that the anxiety is a response of their body. The practice of mindfulness can significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety and is useful for anxiety disorders also.

2. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a treatment with a long history, being practiced in China for many hundreds of years. It remains a somewhat controversial treatment today, but there has been growing scientific evidence in recent years to support its effectiveness for a variety of conditions. (*some insurance companies now cover accupuncture for cardiac patients) Acupuncture involves inserting tiny needles into specific points of a person’s body at varying depths. It has been suggested that acupuncture stimulates certain nerves in the body.

Acupuncture can be used to help with pain, especially for migraines and back pain. People with chronic pain can benefit significantly from it as a drug free option to increase quality of life. Reportedly, it can relieve pain significantly in about 50% of the cases. It’s worth mentioning that with a good acupuncturist the procedure is not painful and can be almost painless or fully painless, so there is no significant pain associated with the needles. The practice also has much fewer side effects than medication.

Acupuncture has also been found to be useful for anxiety. It can help reduce anxiety in general and also to improve symptoms of certain anxiety disorders. The results usually begin to appear after a single treatment and become more significant after continued sessions.

Acupuncture is a focused treatment, addressing a specific problem through the application of needles to certain points (also called meridians) on the body. Usually, the acupuncture is directed at resolving a specific issue. However, if acupuncture is effective for the individual’s pain or anxiety, it might be useful to return to it for other difficulties that can be appropriatly treated through acupuncture.


3. Medical Hypnosis

Medical hypnosis is an advanced form of hypnotherapy used in medical settings to help people manage pain, anxiety, increase their ability to relax, or better approach their treatments. While hypnosis is a controversial treatment that often is incorrectly associated with performance or stage magic, the legitimate use of it by a clinician with advanced training can be highly effective. Hypnosis can help reduce pain or even nausea, being used, for example, with cancer patients who are struggling with some of the negative side effects of radiation and chemotherapy treatments

Hypnosis involves an altered state of consciousness, as happens with meditation, but the person who is being hypnotized does not lose awareness or memories. They can not be manipulated into doing something specific (nobody can make you cluck like a chicken), rather, they enter a state in which they are more relaxed and more open to positive suggestions. The person’s focus is directed at a single thing, so their distress becomes less and their pain and anxiety is reduced.

Hypnosis can have pain relieving effects, ranging from moderate to strong. Hypnosis can be useful for a multitude of conditions associated with pain. Some people might respond better to hypnosis than others, but approaching it with an open mind can help make it more effective from the start.

Anxiety also can improve through the use of hypnotherapy. It can be helpful, as it is easier for the person to be more open and relax physically in the moment. Some results of hypnotherapy for pain and anxiety might be seen after the first session, however, there is usually a treatment plan for several sessions that occur progressively further and further apart. It’s important to seek this type of service only from a licensed therapist with advanced training in medical hypnosis.

4. Medical Meditation

Medical Meditation is another practice that is quickly gaining recognition in the medical community. Medical Meditation has a wide array of benefits and few to none side effects. Medical Meditation involves the practice of focused attention (for example, attention focused on breathing, repeating a mantra, or on something else). Medical Meditation is a well-established practice that helps reduce pain, relax, improve one’s physical and mental health, and obtain a wide variety of benefits, such as a greater control over one’s thoughts and inner states, which is clearly very helpful for anxiety.

Medical Meditation can be used as a form of pain relief, but unless you have a great deal of previous training, you are likley going to need to begin with a professional. A clinical professional with advanced training in this area can help you gain more control over your reaction to experiences and increase your ability to self-drive relaxation; reducing stress and pain too.


For anxiety, Medical Meditation can improve the control an individual has over their thoughts, helping cut negative ideas that might make the anxiety build up. The person also can learn to relax and breathe when they choose to, helping address the physical symptoms of anxiety as well. The practice of meditation, once learned, can be practiced without the need for any special location or materials. What is also significant is that it has a variety of health benefits which increase the more a person practices meditation.


Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing or EMDR is a treatment approach that is primarily known and used for trauma. Like many holistic methods it is controversial, but is also simple and can be very effective. The basis of EMDR is that certain eye movements help the brain reprocess traumatic or difficult events. When used for traumatic events, the therapist may make specific motions with their fingers, asking the patient to follow them with their eyes while they talk about the traumatic event. Eye movements reduce the emotional charge of memories as they help the brain reprocess it.

However, EMDR is not just for trauma. It has been used effectively one of the more popular treatments for pain, too. For instance, people with chronic pain through the application of an EMDR protocol can also experience a significant reduction in the pain, better mood, and more control over their own pain levels.
EMDR can help with anxiety as well. It seems that it is best applied when it is used with traumatic anxiety, as the person might be asked to recall and talk about situations that have caused them anxiety in the past. There is less research on EMDR for other anxiety disorders, however, it does seem to be effective to address trauma and reduce anxiety. (EMDR is an approach that requires specialized training to be practiced, so it’s important to only seek treatment from trained, clinical professionals.)


6. Yoga

Yoga refers to a variety of practices that also originate in Eastern spiritual tradition. There are many different variations of yoga that might have different purposes. Yoga involves a series of poses, breathwork and physical exercises that are meant to help a person relax, get more in touch with their body, and as a form of exercise.

There are different types of yoga. Some provide a more intense workout, while others focus on different goals. There are yoga poses and approaches that are directed at providing pain relief. Yoga is especially useful for some forms of back pain. However, it is important to be careful when doing yoga, as some poses might not be good for pain or might aggravate it due to the physical demands they might have. In general, yoga as a form of exercise might be less demanding, especially some forms of it, and provide the benefits of pain relief other forms of exercise have due to the biological effects of exercise. Exercise is a natural painkiller, so practicing yoga can help with pain relief.

Yoga can also help with anxiety. Firstly, yoga is a form of exercise, which means that it has the benefits exercise has in general, associated with pain and distress – like endorphin release. Yoga also promotes a more relaxing way of breathing – bringing your heart rate and breathing into a more relaxed pace. There are also specific poses that address anxiety and help relax. Yoga can help improve a person’s physical condition and help them become more physically active.

7. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)

EFT is a relatively new holistic treatment that is gaining more popularity. Research is limited, but the field is relatively young and the public response has been positive. EFT is based on acupuncture, but rather than using needles, it uses pressure. EFT is a form of physiological acupressure that uses tapping instead of needles. The practitioner taps specific points on a person’s body while the person thinks about a specific problem and voices affirmations. EFT has been used by medical practitioners, although it is still not fully recognized.

EFT can be used for both anxiety and pain. EFT has also been used to teach patient’s with Parkinson’s to self-regulate their anxiety, which can have positive effects on their mobility. And more recently for equestrians with fears following an injury. with It can be adapted to these problems by tapping specific points on the body, voicing specific affirmations, and focusing the patient’s attention on the pain or anxiety. It can help relax and reduce stress, which benefits both pain and anxiety.


Overall, these holistic treatments for pain and anxiety offer similar benefits – they all offer drug free relief from pain and from anxiety although through different methods. Some of them, like mindfulness and meditation, offer a wide variety of benefits in addition to reducing pain or anxiety, while others focus more on the problem at hand. Different people might benefit more from one type of treatment rather than the other, so the choice of treatments for pain might depend a lot on individual differences. Some of these treatments are also more established, meaning that it might be easier to find a licensed practitioner or a course teaching how to practice something, like yoga or mindfulness, in one’s home. Holistic treatments also might not always work as the primary treatment. For instance, for chronic pain it would be important to establish the cause with a doctor before seeking a holistic way to relieve pain. However, these holistic treatments can be very effective when done in addition to primary treatment or on their own in some cases. It’s always wise to talk with your physician before adding a new modality to your treatment plan for pain.

Need help finding the right professional for you? Click here for a free guide.


7 Holistic Treatments for Pain and Anxiety / Houston / Live Better Live Now

5 Steps to Managing Survivor’s Guilt with First Responders

5 Steps to Managing Survivor’s Guilt with First Responders

The path of a first responder is not for everyone. It takes an incredible dedication and a willingness to respond to a calling that demands and is emersed in personal sacrifice. Firefighters and police officers are professions with a very high committment to duty. They work to protect others which, sadly, also means that these are the professionals who are likely to experience Line of Duty Deaths within their ranks. One of the negative impacts that these tragic situations can have is commonly called Survivor’s Guilt.

Survivor’s Guilt is a reaction that might be experienced by officers or firefighters – especially when there is a death in the line of duty. It is not only those who survive the experience, but all those who are touched by the loss, indirectly and even through relationships with others who feel the loss. It might be expressed in self-directed feelings of guilt and anger if the person feels responsible for the death or feels guilty over being alive and trying to move on. Guilt is common among people who have experienced a loss due to natural causes, but it can be heightened in such situations due to the role a police officer or a firefighter might have as a protector.

If you or your department are facing such a tragic loss it is important to know that this reaction can be a part of a normal grieving process or it can become a significant factor preventing you and others from overcoming it. This is especially so if you don’t acknowledge the guilt or if you truly think that you should have done more or could have prevented it despite the objective circumstances.

So, what can be done about survivor’s guilt?

Here are 5 Steps to Managing Survivor’s Guilt with First Responders, as well as some helpful resources:

1. Acknowledge its presence and normalcy

The first step to working with this guilt is for you to acknowledge that it exists. If we are suffering from this guilt we must work to identify what we are feeling as guilt and acknowledge whether it only appears in certain situations or is a constant feeling. It is important to work with the idea that this guilt is normal, that it is expected, but that it is not necessarily rational or reflects reality.

2. Seek help

If survivor’s guilt is preventing you from moving on, going back into the field, or disrupting your life, counseling or therapy with a seasoned professional who specializes in working with first responders and critical events may be recommended. While some officers or firefighters might feel apprehensive about the idea of goin to therapy, it can be a great asset and help work the guilt and other challenging effects that may arise in a safe and confidential environment. It is useful to encourage other officers to seek counseling or to support it within the system – especially since team cohesion is so important in these fields and not doing so could lead to higher risk to the whole team. Proactive departments will create a way for their team members to be able to easily access counseling anonymously.


3. Talk about it

It’s best to talk about survivor’s guilt in a safe environment, such as a therapeutic setting. However, if you can’t do this at the moment, talking about it to others can also help. Your department may even want to bring in a Critical Incident Stress Management professional to talk with the team on site. Some people you know might withdraw and avoid the conversations. They may feel stuck in a cycle of thoughts and overwhelmed by this feeling guilt. Talking to others about it can help reduce the feelings of guilt. It is important to find people that the first responder trusts and who will offer support and understanding.

4. Allow the grieving process to flow

Some of us find it especially hard to allow ourselves to feel sadness or experience grief. Others will focus on the guilt as it may offer them more control and be an emotion that is easier to deal with, as it places the emphasis on their own responsibility rather than on the reality of the death. It can be especially difficult when the loss is the result of an accident and without any forseeable malace. The grieving process is unique for every one of us and it is important that we allow it to occur. The grieving process is just that – a process, which takes time. Remember too, that the grief experience is both personal and unique.

5. Honor the people who have died

Your losses can not be undone, but they can be honored. If you or someone you know is struggling with survivor’s guilt you might find it helpful and grounding to try to find new ways to remember and honor those who have lost their lives. You can do this on a personal level by engaging in a honoring service to the community or by making a contribution to the community by creating a memorial fund, for instance. Every one of us can all find a noble way to honor the people who have lost their lives.


Survivor’s guilt is a natural reaction to an unnatural loss, especially with LODD among police officers and firefighters. This is a situation that you can improve with professional counseling or therapy and conversely become more problematic without help.


Safe Call Now offers anonymous, peer to peer support for peace officers and firefighters/rescue.

For first responders who are struggling with stress after a traumatic event as well as family/home stressors the one-week Living Centered program at Onsite can be a game changer.

La Hacienda, located in the Texas HillCountry offers addiction and substance dependence help – including a track specifically for first responders.

For more severe conditions, such as PTSD, treatment centers such as Sierra Tucson and The Meadows who are leaders in post-trauma services, may help.

CISM services in Texas and individual counseling services specific to First Responders, LODD, grief and traumatic events can be found at PIR, LLC.

Survivor’s Guilt and First Responders / Houston / Live Better Live Now

Ten Health Benefits of Meditation

Ten Health Benefits of Meditation

Lowers blood pressure and slows down the cardiovascular system.

Relaxes the nervous system.

Reduces the intensity of migraines/headaches.

Gives a break from the internal chattering an self-doubt in the mind.

Reduces anxiety and fear.

Restores functional balance to the digestive system (less stress, better functioning – better absorption of nutrients).

Relieves muscle tension.

Reduction/relief of insomnia – improved quality of sleep.

Improves mood and reduces depressed thinking.

Generates optimistic and positive thinking, increases self-esteem, motivation and confidence.

TIP – There are a lot of people out there presenting themselves as experienced instructors or self-proclaimed authorities on meditation. Take a little time to learn where their education comes from and what experience they have.

Health and Meditation

Learning meditation is not difficult or time consuming. Practicing meditation does not require expensive equipment or a membership and can be practiced by anyone regardless of age or physical mobility limitations. It is relatively easy to begin, but a little guidance to help you get started can be useful and for real health results you do need to commit it to regular practice – just as you do with mindfulness, yoga, tai chi and so on. Classes are relatively easy to find and there are some great resources online – even audio downloads and CDs to get you started or even “get your feet wet” with a little guided imagery.


Medical Issues and Meditation

If you have a specific medical issue or side effect from medical treatment (ex: anxiety after heart surgery, sleep problems after kidney transplant or nausea from cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation) then you might want to look into working with a licensed clinical professional who has advanced training in medical hypnosis. This is specific to the area of health and medical.

Wellness and Preventative Healthcare

And think preventative care and personal wellness too. Learning to reduce stress and cortisol production is a great proactive health benefit for all of us – medical hypnosis can even help with mild to moderate morning sickness.

Neurology, Oncology, Psychiatry, Cardiology; the list goes on and on – these fields more and more are actively encouraging clients to work with a medical meditation professional as an ancillary and drug free addition to their client’s care. So, rather than wait until after there is a problem or letting a current one get worse – why not get in front of it now and take an active role in the health of your mind and body? (it will be good for your spirit too!)

Thank you for reading!

Peace, Health and Laughter –


(*Need Help Finding the Right Counselor for You ?  –  check out our recent article that guides you through the process of making an informed decision.)


Ten Health Benefits of Meditation / Live Better Live Now / Houston

The Benefits of Yoga for Stress Management

The Benefits of Yoga for Stress Management

The raves about yoga are more than just a current trend or a flash-in-the-pan fad. The physical and psychological benefits of yoga for stress management have been taking America by storm.

The regular practice of yoga can help decrease stress and tension, increase strength, balance and flexibility, lower blood pressure and reduce cortisol levels in the brain – which in and of itself is a very positive step in preventative health care. It also yields strong emotional benefits due to the emphasis on breathing, grounded and focused release of negative thoughts and the interconnection of mind, body and spirit.

Frequent practice of yoga for stress management can result in better sleep, help you not to focus on things beyond your control and spend more energy learning how to be mindful and live in the present. While it won’t erase or remove stressors – it can, in effect, makes a stressful event a lot easier to handle, whether it’s family, work, health, relationships – or something else.

Whatever misconceptions you have about yoga and stress management, perhaps they should take a back seat. While most people have the notion that you have to be flexible in order to do yoga, the truth is, anyone will benefit from yoga regardless of age. In fact, many times people who aren’t very flexible at all will actually see results even faster. It’s perfectly suited to all levels because yoga is a practice geared to helping you become aware of your own highly individual mind/body connection.

There are many different styles of yoga to suit your preference. Hatha yoga is one of the most flowing and gentle options that is a good choice as starting point. Vinyasa is more athletic while Iyengar concentrates on proper alignment. However, Bikram or “hot” yoga, is not recommended for beginners. (In fact, no one, regardless of fitness level, should begin any “hot yoga” practice without speaking with their physician first.)

It doesn’t matter if you join late in a yoga class. It’s not about doing it better or worse than the others, it’s not even a competition with yourself – nor a competition at all. It’s about how you feel in the moment of each stretch in your body. What matters most is how present and relaxed you can allow yourself to become.

Yoga is considered as a deeply personal practice and no two people can or should hold a pose in exactly the same manner. A person has to work at his or her own level of flexibility, one that is challenging but not overwhelming. If you don’t feel good with what the instructor is telling you to do, don’t do it. Your body will warn you if you are about to get hurt. It is important that you listen to your body, push the limits gently, but don’t let yourself be overcome by ego. Allow your body to guide you and be your friend.

The goal of yoga is to synchronize the breath and movement. When you inhale and exhale as you work through poses is important. Breathing only through your nose keeps heat in the body and keeps the mind focused. Concentrating on your breath is the key to yoga for stress management, as it helps you let go of external thoughts and anxiety, requiring you to focus on your body in this moment. The easiest way to bring yourself into the present moment is to focus on your breath. Feel how it goes down your nose and into your body. It helps you let go of the worrying thoughts.

Bear in mind that yoga is a slow process. Forget about expectations. Let go of competition and judgment. As yoga brings you into the present moment, you will experience joy not only in the physical movement and mental benefits but in spending time in the now.

Resources for Transplant Patients

Resources for Transplant Patients :

Facing an organ transplant can be overwhelming enough as it is, but finding information and resources specific to your needs can be even more daunting. I hope our resources for transplant patients is helpful to you and your family. You’ll find many great resources below with lots of helpful and specific information to help you navigate this challenging time.

If you live outside of Houston and are coming here for transplant surgery and care, take a look at Nora’s Home below. And if you’d like to help someone else through this journey – Nora’s Home and Life Gift (also below) are great ways to make a real difference. Thanks for visiting!

Information About The Texas Medical Center

Texas Medical Center

Transplant Hospitals In Houston

The Houston Methodist J. C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center

St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital Cooley Transplant Center

Memorial Hermann Transplant Center 

Texas Children’s Hospital Transplant Services

UT Medical Branch Galveston Texas Transplant

NKF 2015 Kidney Walk Houston

Organ Donation


Informational and Support Resources for Transplant

Air Care Alliance

American Liver Foundation

Angel Flight 

Caring Bridge

Houston Ground Angels and Pilots 

Nora’s Home (Houston specific)

National Association of Hospital Hospitality Houses

National Kidney Foundation

National Transplant Assistance Fund

Pilots for Patients

Professional Counseling for Transplant Patients and Families In Houston

Live Better Live Now



Resources for Transplant Patients / Houston, Texas

Counseling For Transplant Patients

Counseling For Transplant Patients

Going home, after a kidney or liver transplant, is usually a happy and emotional occasion, but this feeling of joy may also be accompanied by a significant level of anxiety for the first few weeks. It is important to realize that recovery following the organ transplant is a process that can take many weeks or months. For both the patient and their family, it can take a while to adjust to the new way of life. Once the vulnerable early period of about three months has passed, most kidney transplant recipients enjoy recovery to a full and active life. Especially during this transition time, counseling for transplant patients can help.

After a transplant, you may say you feel better than you have in years. What you can and can’t do will depend on the type of transplant you had, other health problems you have, and how your body reacts to the new organ. You may have to stay away from large crowds for a while and stay away from people who have infections. You will also have regular check-ups and blood tests to see how well your new organ is working. (If you are from out of town, Nora’s Home is an amazing resource you should definitely know about.)


Anxiety and depression are common following kidney and liver transplant.

You may even become overwhelmed because of all the new things and changes that are happening to you following your transplant. This is a normal feeling for some transplant recipients. Counseling for transplant patients can help. Some people feel depressed after an organ transplant. Depression and anxiety may be due to prior health problems, sleep disorders, or stress from the transplant itself. For example, it is normal to worry about the health of the living donor or the tragedy the deceased donor’s family felt. Some anti-rejection medications may also cause depression or mood swings until the dose is decreased. If you think you may be depressed, get help. The earlier depression is treated, the more quickly you will feel better.

You may need to make lifestyle changes to keep your new organ healthy and strong. This can include eating healthy foods, getting regular exercise, and getting enough sleep. I work collaboratively with your physicians and other healthcare specialists – continuity and communication are important in your ongoing support of a new and healthier life. Please feel welcome to visit my website and talk with a experienced counselor who specializes in working with clients facing serious medical issues.

Adjusting to life and making lifestyle changes with a kidney or liver transplant can be very challenging. Counseling for transplant patients and their loved ones is a personal passion of mine. If you or someone you loved is approaching organ transplant surgery or has already completed one, and need a seasoned, board certified, professional counselor to help you through the transitions – I am here to help. (Article on how to find the right counselor for you)


Call Now – 832-498-7071

Counseling For Transplant Patients / Ben Carrettin