The damaging effects of asbestos exposure don’t only impinge on a person’s physical health. Victims of asbestos-related illnesses suffer psychologically, as well. In this exclusive ongoing series, we’ll shed some light on that other side of terminal illness by examining the impact of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases on mental and emotional health-not just for patients but for their loved ones as well.
Some of the topics we’ll cover include: psychiatric conditions common to victims of mesothelioma cancer and other related conditions, how to share news of a terminal diagnosis with loved ones, coping with grief and loss, types and stages of the bereavement process, self-help techniques for managing mental health during treatment and more.
Mesothelioma and Mental Health-PART TEN
Over the course of the month, we’ve covered a myriad of topics relevant to the mental and emotional health of patients with pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma. This final installment will serve as a brief re-cap and synopsis of some of the important facets of maintaining one’s emotional health through a combination of self-care, mind-body techniques and therapeutic practices.
- Remember to take good care of your body. Things like good nutrition, effective stress management and physical activity can have a big effect on, not only your emotional state but also, your body’peris ability to fight cancer cells and prevail in the fight against peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma. Eating healthy and balanced meals regularly, getting adequate amounts of sleep and rest, listening to your body and engaging in some form of physical exercise are all key facets of self-care.
- Make mind-body techniques, like meditation or yoga, a part of your daily routine. Because the body and mind are innately and intimately connected, caring for one has an inevitable effect on the other. To boost your immune system and give your body its best fighting chance during mesothelioma treatment, work to keep stress levels reduced by practicing one or more relaxation techniques every day.
- Think happy thoughts. Remember that positive thinking is more than just trying to make yourself belief that everything will be good and fine… That kind of mentality can be understandably difficult to achieve when you have an illness like pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma. But just trying to look at the bright side of even little things, day-to-day, can have a significant effect on your mental and emotional state. And attitudes of optimism have been linked to a longer mesothelioma life expectancy in many so-called mesothelioma survivors.
- Be a valley, not an island. While it may be tempting for some, isolation is generally not considered a healthy coping mechanism. Rather than making yourself a an island, separated from everyone around you, establish your life with the structure of a valley-completely surrounded by strong sources of support and companionship.
- Express yourself. It sounds exceedingly simple but can take many forms. Some people express themselves creatively-through writing, music or art-while other prefer the catharsis of talking things out with a trusted confidante. However it is most comfortable for you, making time to confront, share and release your emotions about pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma (and its effects on your life) is a vital part of coping with grief and absolutely integral to reaching the acceptance stage.