Home » Commentary » Blogs » Imagine Two People with Cancer With Very Different Levels of Anxiety
On one level it makes sense that someone who has a life threatening condition, cancer or a strong sense of their own mortality would think about what is next and might turn to pray or their spiritual tradition.

Imagine Two People with Cancer With Very Different Levels of Anxiety

Share
[todaysdate]

By Kimberly Burnham

On one level it makes sense that someone who has a life threatening condition, cancer or a strong sense of their own mortality would think about what is next and might turn to pray or their spiritual tradition. This study, Effectiveness of prayer in reducing anxiety in cancer patients looked at the physical effects of prayer and “religiosity.”

Concluding that, “Prayer proved to be an effective strategy in reducing the anxiety of the patient undergoing chemotherapy,” Camila Csizmar Carvalho, Erika de Cássia Lopes Chaves, et al. looked at a variety of physical factors before and after prayer.

Study volunteers answered “a questionnaire of sociodemographic, clinical and spiritual characteristics, the Index of Religiosity Duke University and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory Vital Signs.” The researchers also collected salivary cortisol. Produced in the adrenal glands cortisol is a measure of how stressed a person is. The higher the cortisol the more stress a person is feeling. The lower the cortisol levels the more relaxed a person is.

Carvalho said, “The data found between the pre and post-intervention samples showed different statistically significant for state anxiety, blood pressure, diastolic [heart rate measure], and respiratory rate.”

This 2014 University of São Paulo, Brazil Nursing School Journal (Revista da Escola de Enfermagem da USP) study helps us imagine two people with cancer. One, before praying or without a prayer practice is lying anxiously awake at night. Their heart is working hard. Their digestive system is not functioning well. They are breathing faster than the other person who is still having chemotherapy treatments but is relaxed, with better heart function and good blood pressure. They are drawing in the nutrients in their food and taking calm deep breaths.

Which one do you think will have less chemotherapy side effects (many of which have to do with digestion) and make a better recovery?

Another strategy for decreasing anxiety and cortisol levels comes from Harvard business professor Amy Cuddy,  who looked into the effects of posture on

Amy Cuddy, power pose/Harvard Business School hbs.edu
Amy Cuddy, power pose/Harvard Business School hbs.edu

chemistry and hence class participation. She found that if a person stands for two minutes in a Wonder Woman or Superman posture (feet solidly planted, hands on hips, open to the world) their cortisol levels go down and their testosterone levels go up. This two minute posture helps the person to look and feel more powerful, making them in fact more powerful. Cuddy’s research indicates that “your body language shapes who you are.”

Imagine if you pray or stand in a powerful posture before eating. What would change in your life? Research is piling up in favor of the influence of how we think and act on our brain chemistry and body functions.



blog comments powered by Disqus

Kimberly Burnham

About Kimberly Burnham

Kimberly Burnham is the author of the recent book, "Awakenings: Peace Dictionary, Language and the Mind, A Daily Brain Health Program." In Awakenings, Kimberly investigates the relationship between memory, language, caring and pattern recognition, creating a daily brain health exercise program enabling people to achieve better neurological health, mood and quality of life.
With a PhD in Integrative Medicine, Kimberly is known as The Nerve Whisperer. She uses words (books, presentations, and poetry), health coaching, guided visualization, and hands-on therapies (CranioSacral therapy, acupressure, Matrix Energetics, Reiki, and Integrative Manual Therapy) to help people with healing.
She assists people with movement disorders and walking issues due to Parkinson's disease, Huntington's ataxia, and Diabetic neuropathies. Alternative approaches for autoimmune conditions like multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Lyme disease or lupus are also available. Kimberly's practice includes children with seizures, autism, cerebral palsy, scoliosis, Down's, sleep and anxiety disorders. A Professional Health Coach, she consults with people via phone and Skype as well as working with clients in person in Spokane, Washington, where she lives with her family. She also focuses on vision issues like macular degeneration and supports people looking for eye exercises to improve driving and reading skills as well as athletic visual speed.
An award-winning poet, Kimberly grew up overseas. The child of an international businessman and an artist, she learned Spanish in Colombia; French in Belgium; then Japanese in Tokyo and has studied both Italian and Hebrew as an adult. She can be reached at NerveWhisperer@gmail.com or http://www.NerveWhisperer.Solutions.

Visit My Website
View All Posts
Share

Check Also

Count to Three – Problem Solved

If a friend’s family is being adversely affected by their greed, overly critical spirit, selfishness, or lack of commitment, helping them move toward solving their problem might be an appropriate act of love. So what was I to do about the depiction of two married men?