Sunday, 6 January 2013

Love vs Fear

With cancer came fear. Fear causes the body to produce adrenaline, putting us in 'fight or flight' mode. Initially this was useful (as the body intends it to be). It propelled me into action. I had unbelievable drive and energy for researching and decision making. But over long periods of time stress is incredibly damaging for the body. It eventually leads to adrenal fatigue, resulting in mental and physical exhaustion. Chronic stress also stimulates cortisol production. Long-term damage from this hormone can compromise digestion and absorption, and lower immune system function.

The body will not work against itself. In the perceived instance of a threat, stress hormones will be produced at the expense of happy hormones. Oxytocin, dopamine, seratonin and melatonin are responsible for feelings of wellbeing, calmness, love and happiness. Guess when we heal best? When we are in a state of bliss, when each cell is bathed in these hormones. Studies have shown that wounds heal faster when oxytocin is present.

Drawing by Jesse Corcoran. Aged 6

If fear stimulates cortisol and adrenaline, then love stimulates our happy hormones. There are many ways to increase our natural production of these: meditate, practice yoga, breathe deeply, laugh, have a massage or a hug, engage in simple pleasures without guilt. For an easy exercise, try repeating the words "I am calm". See how your shoulders drop, your breathing slows and deepens. In this relaxed state your world becomes rose tinted and healing becomes possible. 


  1. I'm just reading your story on and wondered how you are doing. I see that you have wee little ones like me and am so happy to know you are still living with cancer (as opposed to dying of cancer). Have a blessed new year.

  2. Hi, Happy New Year! I'm doing really well, thanks. So far everything I am doing is keeping any remaining cancer quiet (which is how I like it!) Approaching the 3 year mark and feeling healthy :) Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. How are you doing? What's your story?