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More Music and Exercise, and Less Smelly People and Social Media

Four ways of helping cancer survivors deal with anxiety and depression.
PUBLISHED June 27, 2018
Ryan Hamner is a four-time survivor of Hodgkin lymphoma, a musician and a writer. In 2011, he wrote and recorded, "Where Hope Lives" for the American Cancer Society and the song for survivors, "Survivors Survive" used in 2015 for #WorldCancerDay. Currently, he operates his website for those affected by cancer, 2surviveonline.com and drinks a ridiculous amount of coffee per day.

Sometimes the struggle that comes with cancer can give you the blues, even years after cancer. Anyone who has been affected by cancer, caretakers included, know about the emotional roller coaster and exhaustion that comes with the territory. It can really suck. Sometimes it's like you have been struggling for so long that you've forgotten what happiness is like, and that's a horrible feeling.

Below are four methods that can be used to combat depression and anxiety.

Music
Ever hear "that song," and then BAM, your auditory cortex, cerebellum and limbic system go nuts and you are miraculously transported back to a time in your life when things seemed perfect? You know, it's instant goose bumps. It might be an Eagles song, a piece of classical music or even the "Beib." Hey, I'm not judging. Studies show that music triggers both memories and emotions. So, one thing I'm suggesting, and have done myself, is put together a playlist of songs that actually trigger nothing but good memories and good emotions; that means, no Beib, for me anyway.

Exercise
I've written about this one many times. It's true though, exercising is great for helping with anxiety and depression. Don't just take my word for it. A study by the Mayo Clinic found that exercise eases the symptoms of both anxiety and depression. And I don't even mean you have to try and be a bodybuilder or a marathon runner to experience the benefits of exercise. The Mayo Clinic suggests 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise per week, along with strength training two days a week, is all you need to do. Give it a shot, and I personally believe you'll notice yourself feeling better after your first workout. Those biceps may take a little longer though.

Good People
Be social and be around the good people in your life. Run from people (running is exercise) who are negative, gossipy and critical of others. I'd say run from people who smell funny, too. It's no fun hanging around someone that smells funny.

Turn It Off!
First, start with your TV and turn it off, or at least limit the amount of time you spend watching the news. You don't have to totally lose touch with the world, but I'd also suggest limiting your time on social media, which often can lead to comparing yourself to others, engaging in political debates and reading play-by-play stories of how the world is falling apart. This will not help you out of your funk. Also remember, chatting with a counselor can be a good idea. Never be too proud to sit down with someone and talk about what's going on. Just like your favorite tunes, this too can have a positive impact on your cerebellum.
 

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