Calming fearful thoughts…

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 “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 editor of Psycho-Oncology Journal.

A naturopath 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,” that shares one of those resources:

(From Part Three:  The Inner Work–Going Deep for Inner Transformation, page 168)

Ammunition Against the Fear

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 faced heightened states of stress from fear of recurrence. To deal with my anxiety and conduct research for this book, I began practicing Holosync brain wave technology from Centerpointe Research Institute for six months initially and later returned to it periodically.

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 pre-frontal 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 pre-frontal 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.”

Getting calm is the key 

“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 will power, 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.

“You have to learn not to be driven by dopamine—and instead focus on long-range and delayed gratification and being steadfast,” Harris says, citing the 2009 Stanford Zero to Three study of preschoolers.

That study shows those children who would not touch candy and wait (and get a greater reward of more candy later for waiting, which was only 15 percent of those tested) had better grades, better health, higher SAT scores, lower body mass, and could set goals and achieve them. The brain scans of those who could wait also showed they had strong pre-frontal cortexes and a calm limbic system. Those who couldn’t wait got into more trouble.

A strong pre-frontal 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 brain waves, he claims.

MY RESULTS of Practicing Level One—The Holosync Prologue for six months:

First, I had to buy a good headset, which must be worn to experience the balancing of the left and right sides of the brain.

Second, the company suggests it is best to do the meditation the same time every day, either morning or evening, to make it a routine. I found the morning time often helped me set the day off on a more optimistic, centered tone. When I did the meditation in the evening, I was able to sleep better. I mixed it up, spending a few weeks listening to Holosync in the morning, and then shifting for the next couple of weeks to meditating in the evening.

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 (began mid-June 2015): 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.

Specifics of my ongoing progress include:

  • Driving in strange places feeling calmer, like when visiting my son for Parents’ Weekend at his college in upstate New York, traveling on highways I’ve never been on to see him.
  • Sleeping better through the night, thinking less about recurrence and more about expressing my life purpose.
  • Becoming more disciplined—and with greater clarity, taking inspired actions.
  • Stopping more often to discern if an opportunity is the right move for me.
  • Feeling more centered in myself, yet also more strategic (like bringing someone with me to health appointments for support, asking for help when needed, listening more and talking less).
  • Gaining more clarity on the types of relationships I want (consistent, grounded, happy people who can empathize and reciprocate). More letting go of my past pattern of putting others’ needs before my own.
  • Sensing an UPGRADE to my life occurring as I connect with higher quality people and opportunities.
  • Experiencing more pleasant, sometimes even conciliatory dreams, of people from the past who may have hurt me.

At times, I used the tool to self-soothe versus cling to others for support. I became kinder to others and myself and less judgmental.

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 (that story will be shared in a future blog) serving in a greater capacity.

For more information about Holosync, check out Centerpointe Research Institute, Beaverton, Oregon, at www.centerpointe.com.

To read reviews of my book, or to order, go to Amazon. If you would like a signed copy of the book, order directly from me at gailjones@claimyourworthiness.com.

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Blessings,

Gail

Being in nature also calms the mind and nurtures the soul. One of my favorite places to embrace tranquility is at The North Carolina Museum of Art, situated on 164 acres in Raleigh, North Carolina. I took the above photo of the “ellipse,” which is the central meeting point of the Ann and Jim Goodnight Park at the Museum.

 

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  • Lisa langaker says:

    Thank you Gail for such a powerfully packed post with info on calming down and not living in fear of the future but relaxing and enjoying all life has to offer in the present. I really appreciate your being open in sharing your journey with all of us. I know it’s helping so many. I’m thankful I got to witness a part of your story. You’re an amazing woman!

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      You’re welcome, Lisa. This “calling” of mine brought me through places I never thought I’d go. Yet, one of the key lessons I learned was to become more open-minded. As a result, I benefitted from using many different leading-edge tools, which led me to share these resources with others. Most of what I learned applies to all of us, not just cancer survivors. We all get tested by life’s challenges. Talking openly helps us give and receive support, which is also key to healing. Blessings, Gail

  • dijana winter says:

    Thank you, Gail, for your commitment to sharing your journey and gained lessons with the world. Blessings, Dijana

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      My pleasure, Dijana, to share what has helped or inspired me. Thank you for appreciating my sharing. Blessings, Gail

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