by Gail Jones: Intuitive Coach, Workshop Leader and Insightful Writer
Despite our best intentions for positive thinking, there are times in life when we can start sinking into that “rabbit hole” of anxiety, fearing worst-case scenarios.
Getting a cancer diagnosis is one of those times. Learning to calm the mind and rest the body is essential to dealing with the health challenge and potentially using it as a “wake-up” call to redirect life choices in optimal ways.
Yet, there is another little known fact. Up to 96 percent of the 14 million cancer survivors in the United States today live with a persistent fear of recurrence, according to research noted in the 2013 edition of Psycho-Oncology Journal.
A naturopathic doctor told me some survivors are so scared of cancer coming back, that they begin limiting their lives by crawling back into bed, afraid to face the day.
Fortunately, there are tools to challenge those thoughts—tools that can help anyone, including those who never had cancer, calm their minds.
Here is a sneak peek at an excerpt from my book, Cancer as a Love Story: Developing the Mindset for Living”, which shares one of those resources: “The Inner Work: Going Deep for Inner Transformation.”
Reducing fight-or-flight with Bill Harris’ Holosync®
Do everything to calm the limbic system.
Staying calm, and out of the fight-or-flight high adrenaline emotions that sometimes accompany the cancer healing journey, takes great tenacity at times.
Despite my best efforts to recreate life beyond cancer from a new foundation of self-love and worthiness, I still had some fearful moments like millions of others diagnosed.
I occasionally face heightened states of stress from fear of recurrence.
To deal with my anxiety and conduct research for this book, I began practicing Holosync® brainwave technology from Centerpointe Research Institute.
Childhood trauma also can make one’s threshold for stress lower, sending one into fight-or-flight states more easily, according to Bill Harris, founder of Centerpointe and creator of Holosync®. Learning to slow down has been key to healing as well as the messages and practices I teach as a transformational coach and wellness pioneer.
“The more trauma, the lower your threshold, and the more often you’ll be triggered by circumstances and life events that might not bother someone with a higher threshold,” Harris claims.
Difficult emotions – anger, fear, depression, confusion, addictions, overeating, and many others – are really just attempts to cope with being pushed over your personal threshold for what you can handle, according to Harris.
The solution, he says, is to raise your threshold higher by activating your parasympathetic nervous system to keep your sympathetic nervous system from sending you into fight-or-flight mode.
When practiced regularly for an hour a day for a minimum of four to six months, Holosync can help you become calmer, have more energy and think more clearly by inducing “the relaxation response” within the body more often, he maintains.
Some results he noticed are that when people are less stressed, they become kinder, more compassionate, and happier with a mind that works better.
“Eventually you get to the point that what used to bother you feels like it happened to someone else; you can remember it and learn from it, but will not be so charged,” Harris asserts.
“The prefrontal cortex learns from experience and you don’t need to release over and over again the ‘echo’ of traumatic experience.”
For cancer patients, strengthening the prefrontal cortex in the brain is especially important.
“When somebody has cancer, they go into fight-or-flight, which makes a lot of cortisol that interferes with the immune system,” Harris says.
“Holosync helps calm the limbic system that puts a person in fight-or-flight, with users eventually observing circumstances more dispassionately.”
“The more calm you can be, the more you can fight off the cancer,” he stresses. “You don’t need to create more cortisol.”
Living in fight-or-flight from a poor limbic system also often contributes to lack of willpower, Harris claims.
More specifically, an overactive limbic system creates more dopamine which causes people to do things without looking at the consequences—such as eating things not good for them, spending money they don’t have, saying things in anger, skipping exercise, engaging with social media instead of working on their business, and not making plans and sticking with them.
A strong prefrontal cortex also reduces the amount of fearful thoughts that people get sucked into, and helps them become more aware to make better choices that increase happiness, and be more loving, he says.
When asked how his Holosync® technology differs from other meditative practices from the new field of neuroscience that have been tracking significant relaxation shifts in users, he says many of those techniques are based on changing the mindset of a person. Holosync®, on the other hand, actually changes the brainwaves.
Holosync® Awakening Prologue for Six Months
Initially, while practicing for one hour a day, I had many raw moments of release of emotions, particularly grief over the past. Harris recommended that I keep trying to step aside and observe the circumstances, become curious and not resist the emerging feelings.
“Resisting activates fight-or-flight,” he said.
Eventually, knee-jerk feelings lessen, although the more trauma one has experienced, the more difficult it can be to step back and allow yourself to feel your stuckness, he noted.
Observations of changes after one week: I was becoming softer, moving more slowly, making clearer choices, continuing to be the “witness” of my life versus “reactor” who in the past sometimes responded too quickly to emotions.
The following weeks, I experienced more time walking through “dark nights of the soul.” It seemed many repressed emotions from being an unmothered daughter and how alone and scared I truly felt came up.
Living in WITNESS MODE I saw my defenses and perfectionist standards more clearly, as I continued to lighten up and pace myself.
Over the longer term, I consistently became calmer. Some days I reached pure levels of bliss, increasingly experiencing greater joy.
I also started a gratitude practice after listening to the meditations, jotting down each day five things that I appreciate about my life or the people in it.
As I continued beyond the six-month trial, I increasingly felt more rested and needed less sleep, and was better able to focus after using Holosync. Due to the one-hour daily time commitment, and my interest in exploring other healing tools as research for this book, I stopped using Holosync for several months.
I noticed when I started using it again I felt happier, and more detached from stressful situations, like living in the unknown through the process of reinvention. Hence, I’ve incorporated the meditation back into my life on a near daily basis.
No matter what anyone tells me about my medical reasons for getting cancer, I continue to believe my fight-or-flight mode of operating from early childhood conditioning (and literally fleeing from my schizophrenic mom) wore my body down.
I had to stop to rest and heal. I made two pit stops – downsizing to Newburyport, Massachusetts, to come alive in new ways and choose love for myself, then later moving to Scottsdale, Arizona, for the peace of simple outdoor living, ease of getting around, and happy people in sunshine during the winter months.
I relocated once again this summer to Raleigh, North Carolina, “called” to live in the vibrancy of a city.
With the tools of an intuitive coach, the soul of a writer, and the wisdom of a reflective life, Gail Kauranen Jones brings a depth of expertise to her coaching, speaking and writing business, SupportMatters.com.
As she says: “The pause – sometimes initiated by a life curveball like cancer or another one of the soul’s promptings for redirecting us – is often the sacred place of becoming who we truly are.”
Gail facilitates leading-edge guided meditation groups. She blends the latest findings in neuroscience and “energy as medicine” with her unique coaching expertise.