Tips on Staying positive during hard times

Staying PAWsitive During a Difficult Time

Tips for Maintaining a Positive Attitude

Tips on Staying positive during hard times

It’s often said that hard times don't last, but the question is, how can you overcome those hard times? How can you get to the place of celebrating your resilience? When the present moment isn’t ideal, staying positive during a difficult time isn’t easy. 

First and foremost, you need to understand that difficult times do occur in life. Once you accept that fact, then you can deal with any situation head-on. If you are having difficulties financially, socially, or in terms of health, here are a few ways to help you stay positive during this difficult time until you reach the finish line.

1. Guard your mind

You are what you think. Therefore, you should filter any negative thoughts before they take up residence in your mind. It's true that when something negative occurs in our lives, we are wired to get bombarded with negative thoughts, and unfortunately, this is very normal. But the issue isn’t those negative thoughts. The issue is how long you will let them drag you down. Choose to see the positive side of things. See yourself making it. Do not focus on the event, focus on the process of getting out of there. Having a positive mindset can make a world of a difference. 

2. Meditate

Different kinds of meditation can help you maintain a positive mindset. One method of meditation is to focus on what improves your attitude, feelings, and healing. You can even create your own personal mantra. Say something positive every morning when you wake up. Think of one thing that you can focus on and think through it with no stress or tension. You can think about your favorite memories and hold on to them. The same energy you use to focus on negative things is the same amount of energy you can use to focus on the positive. Being intentional about the energy you create around yourself is essential to staying positive. Focusing on the positive is energy conservation and can drastically improve your mental health.

3. Keep a gratitude journal

Gratitude is the antidote to a poor attitude. The best way to continually express your gratitude is by keeping a journal. Be mindful about being grateful and find something to be thankful for each day.  This way, you will give less power to negative emotions. Your mind will be programmed to think on the positive side of things. Your self-esteem will improve and instead of resenting your difficult situation, you will be thankful for something. Spending some time writing down your thoughts before you go to bed will also help you sleep better as your mind will be clear of any clutter.

4. Listen to some good music

Difficult times should not stop you from enjoying the best or your favorite things in life. Music is one of these things and all you need to do is tune in to your favorite radio station or open up that Spotify playlist. Music helps you express your feelings unashamedly. According to research, music can evoke a more positive mood. You can roar like a tiger with Katy Perry or become a survivor with Diana Ross. And if a sad song comes on air? Go through the motions, cry all the tears you want, and clear your system. After that, hold your head up high, stay positive, and keep going, because you got this.

5. Spend time with loved ones

You are the average sum of the people who you spend the most time with. So, invest your time appropriately. Think of those friends and family members who make you smile when you are feeling down. These people could be anywhere in the world, but they want to be around you. This is the support system you need since you can be your genuine self around them. Share with them, talk with them, rant, or even be silent with them. These are friends who inspire you to be courageous and spending time with such people improves your attitude and positive outlook on life. Your mind will absorb all this positivity and use it as an immune booster. Plus, such close friends are also good at ensuring you take care of yourself, even during the hardest times when you don’t feel like it.

6. Enjoy more of the sun

It’s a well-known fact that spending too much time in the sun is dangerous. However, there is also evidence that spending moderate time under the sun is good for your mood and body clock. Apply that SPF and enjoy some time soaking in the rays and getting some Vitamin D. This will not only help you sleep better and improve your circadian rhythm, but it will also cheer you up. It’s been proven that getting sun increases your serotonin which helps with anxiety and depression. Next time you have a few minutes, go for a walk, plan a picnic, or sit in the garden to help improve your mood and positive thinking. 

7. Take a walk with your PAWsitive friend

Why not get fit and have fun while doing it? Daily walks with your dog (or cat, if they want) are a great way to take your mind off things. Going on regular walks with your dog is a form of exercise that will not only benefit your physical health like your joints and muscles but will help you get your mind off things. Be present and take in the sights and sounds. Simply establish a routine to make it part of your daily life. At times you may not feel like going for a walk, but whether it’s with the help of your dog with those puppy eyes or a glance at your daily agenda, remind yourself that a little exercise and some pet therapy can do you some good.  

8. Do something nice for others

Do something for someone when they least expect it. Say a kind word or offer them some tea or baked treats. Putting a smile on someone’s face makes us feel alive and of course, makes us happier too. You get to feel that you are of value. Being kind to others creates a feeling of purpose and eliminates isolation. By doing this you will have a different perspective on life. Instead of focusing on your difficulty, you will focus on how to make the world a better place.

Always remember that you will always win with a positive attitude. This is what will change your will and let you blossom. Positive energy and thinking will help you overcome whatever difficulties come your way. Smile, laugh, cry but through it, all, remain strong because there is always sunshine after the rain.


How Pet Therapy Helps Cancer Patients

If you know someone who’s been diagnosed with cancer, you probably know how difficult the experience can be for both the patient and his or her loved ones. The feelings that accompany the patient throughout the cancer journey can be draining and harsh on mental health. Depression, helplessness, and stress are tough to experience, especially while undergoing cancer treatments. 

One of the most effective therapies that benefit the overall well-being of a person with cancer is animal-assisted therapy or pet therapy. This unique therapy uses the natural intimacy between humans and animals to provide relief for cancer patients, resulting in many positive effects such as an improved quality of life, increased socialization, a distraction from illness or pain, and improved mood. You’ve probably heard of therapy dogs or canine therapy, so how exactly does this type of therapy work? 

Pet Therapy Helps Decrease Stress and Improve Overall Mood

From initial diagnosis through treatment and even post-treatment, cancer patients often experience many negative feelings such as stress, anxiety, and depression. While not always an obvious choice, emotional support animals can often help reduce these negative feelings. Animal-assisted therapy provides companionship and comfort that helps to decrease stress and these other negative feelings. As a result, both the psychological and physical well-being of the patient improves. Cancer patients feel more confident and better equipped to cope with their illness, which can make the healing process easier.

Pet therapy for cancer patients doesn't stop at stress relief, it also helps improve overall mood. Therapy animals have been proven to boost serotonin levels which are associated with feelings of happiness and encourage positive thinking throughout the day. Providing your loved one with an opportunity to pet a therapy animal can help them feel happier during these trying times. All of these benefits aim to improve the overall well-being of people with cancer and decrease the discomfort associated with the treatment process.

Pet Therapy Helps Reduce Pain

It’s no question that the side effects of cancer treatment are often unbearable and even unmanageable at times. In addition to the treatment itself, cancer patients often suffer from chronic pain, and animal-assisted therapy has been proven to help reduce this pain.

Studies have shown that spending time with a pet can decrease the amount of pain felt by cancer patients as the simple act of petting an animal causes the body to release oxytocin, a chemical that causes feelings of calmness and relaxation. These feelings are often similar to those experienced during meditation.

Animal Companionship Helps Improve Sleep

The presence of a pet can influence the amount and quality of sleep cancer patients experience. A study conducted by Best et al. found that people with pets experience more hours of sound, restful sleep than those who did not have pets.

The presence of an animal during sleep increases the levels of serotonin in the body which facilitates sleep, especially that deep sleep we all crave. When sleeping next to a therapy dog or other service animal, patients have an increased sleep duration and sleep quality. The improved sleep quality can boost a cancer patient’s energy, enabling them to better combat fatigue throughout the day.

Pet Therapy Helps Improve Socialization

Having a companion animal around can also encourage socialization in patients who are affected by cancer. Spending time with therapy animals has been associated with feelings of happiness, which in turn benefits patients who are dealing with loneliness and depression due to their illness.

Studies have shown that having someone or something to lean on can help cancer patients feel better equipped to face life's challenges. Spending time with an animal has been proven to reduce feelings of hostility and sadness while increasing feelings of enjoyment that encourage positive thinking and a more confident outlook.

Animal-assisted therapy can also help cancer patients make new meaningful relationships with people and other animals because it allows them to interact and communicate.

Conclusion

Research shows great promise for the use of pet therapy to improve the lives of cancer patients. Cancer patients often feel isolated and lonely as a result of their diagnosis and treatments. Therapy animals can help break this feeling of isolation and provide emotional support as well as increased wellbeing and improved quality of life.

Between the treatments, medications, appointments, and the side effects, there’s so much involved with cancer treatment, and the costs of all of this should be the last concern. At Pawsitively for Pink, we aim to help alleviate the financial burden of patients with breast cancer; help us make a difference for underserved women with breast cancer.


How to Be There for a Loved One With Breast Cancer

Introduction

When someone you know is diagnosed, the first question is usually how to be there for a loved one with breast cancer. It can be hard to believe that this has happened since it’s not something that most people expect or plan to happen.

Breast cancer comes without warning, and it varies widely in how it impacts each individual diagnosed. However, if you think your reaction is sudden and shocking to hear that a loved one has been diagnosed, think about how they are feeling.

This article will encourage you to shift your perspective and motives to educate yourself on being there for a loved one with breast cancer. Although the diagnosis will affect you, it’s important to think about your loved one’s needs and how you can be your best for them.

The Power of Listening

One of the best things you can do for a loved one is to be there for them and approach every conversation with open ears. Just being there and listening can make all the difference. 

Many people feel isolated and scared after their diagnosis. They may feel confused and afraid to express what they are truly feeling and going through. By going into every conversation with open ears, you are fostering an environment that is safe for them to express themselves and put their trust in you.

Even if you don’t completely understand what they are trying to express or explain, it’s important to listen and validate their experiences. For example, if your loved one is saying that she doesn’t know how her spouse or children will handle this news, let her know you see where she is coming from and validate her experience. It is scary, and try to assure her she and her doctors will do everything they can to fight this thing. 

A general rule of thumb is to listen first,  talk second. This leads us to our next point…

Only Give Advice When Asked

Along with entering each conversation with open ears, try to have an open mind, heart, and perspective as well. Don’t be so quick to give advice unless asked. Though your intentions may be good, it’s important to understand that not everyone wants or needs advice.

Your loved one may be in the early stages of their diagnosis and not have any idea what to do next. In this case, they will likely want and need your help figuring out their options. However, if they are farther along in their cancer journey, they may not want or need any advice, just love, and support. 

The keywords here are “when asked.” It’s okay to share your perspective and experiences as they relate to the diagnosis, but wait for your loved one to ask for help—or at least express that they want it. This will help to avoid any tension or feelings of being overwhelmed on their part.

Of course, you want to support your loved one in any way you can. Do your research… but don’t overdo it. Instead, do something tangible like dropping off a meal or picking up their child for school. This is where you will really be needed.

Support Your Loved One’s Treatment Decisions

One of the most important things you can do as a supporter is to support your loved one’s treatment decisions. This includes everything from surgery to different therapies.

It can be difficult to make these decisions, and it’s perfectly understandable for you to have mixed feelings about them. However, it’s important that you do not voice unsolicited opinions unless you are asked for your opinion or advice.

You have to remember your loved one is going through the recovery process more than once. The treatment itself is one version of pain they have to go through, but they also have to go through it before the treatment itself, as well as after when they are waiting in remission.

Every time they have to weigh all their options, go over the timetable of the procedure or talk to their doctors, they are going through the process all over again.

So, try to support them throughout it all. Their lives have been turned upside down, and the last thing they need is judgment from the people they love. Understand that you would maybe not make the same decisions as your loved one, but that does not mean they have not chosen the best option for them.

Check-In Regularly, Not Just When Asked for

One of the most important responsibilities you have is to check in with your loved one. On a regular basis. This can be done via phone calls, text messages, cards, visits—anything that helps them know they are on your mind.

Doing this will let them know they are not alone during their recovery process. Many patients feel that their loved ones don’t check in beyond the initial diagnosis. This leaves them feeling alone and isolated. The hardest time for those with a cancer diagnosis is actually in the months following when the initial shock has worn off, and their loved ones get back to their daily lives. 

So, make sure you are checking in regularly to offer comfort and support. Moreover, your loved one may need this more often if their treatment is causing significant side effects or making them feel ill for an extended period of time.

Doing a service or an act of love at least once a week can provide quick reassurance that things are okay and they are not forgotten. So reach out to them. As much as you can.

Educate Yourself 

Lastly, but equally important, educate yourself on your loved one’s treatment. If you are like most people, cancer didn’t cross your mind much before your loved one was diagnosed.

So, take the time to learn about their type of cancer, the various treatments, what to expect during and after treatment, and so on. The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to support your loved one emotionally and practically.

This includes being there for them when they have appointments, being able to answer any questions they may have, and just being a listening ear.

If you can be there and sit in on doctor’s visits and take notes for your loved one, this would be a fantastic way to offer support. Not only will you be helping them, but you will gain a better understanding for yourself as well.

Conclusion

There is no best way to support a loved one with cancer. However, there are many things you can do (or not do) that will help your loved one feel less alone and more supported throughout their journey.

When offering to be there for them, it’s important to remember they may need different types of support at various times. So, be sure to communicate with them and ask what they need from you specifically.

Most importantly, be there for them in whatever way possible and let them know you love them. Even if it gets difficult at times, just know your support goes a long way. If you or a loved one need another person in your support group, any aid in the breast cancer journey, or you would like to give something to help those with breast cancer, feel free to head over to Pawsitively 4 Pink. We have been able to help many women through their breast cancer journey through generous donations from our community. We are here for your loved one too.