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Laughter therapy: beating cancer with humor

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How not to give up when going through a difficult ordeal like illness? It is not easy to maintain determination and good humor when cancer is inside you, But morale is an important part of recovery. Diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32, Fleur Hana, author of the book Damn CancerShe has managed to maintain her motivation and will to live through humor. The second degree and self-criticism, used frequently in her book, are the key words of her victory against breast cancer.

In your book, you use a lot of the second degree, mockery. What role did humor play in your struggle?

Humor played an important role in my recovery. It helped me on a day-to-day basis when I was posting on my blog. It allowed me to take a step back and not feel sorry for myself, especially since readers, who were going through what I was going through, would send me messages to thank me for making them smile. Even if it’s a smile created by recounting ridiculous situations, for me it’s mission accomplished. You have to smile and walk away from the situation. It was when I realized this that I thought it would be interesting to turn this blog into something bigger, which is now my book. The more testimonials like mine, the more advice we will give each other, such as wearing leggings during MRIs. I would also like to acknowledge the work of my illustrator, who allowed me to exploit the humorous side as I intended. He has captured the side where we don’t take ourselves seriously, on a subject that at first glance is not lighthearted, but which we make fun of.

In our daily lives, we know the benefits of laughter and smiling because it secretes positive hormones. However, it is even more important when you are sick. Humor, for me, is part of maintaining good morale at 50%. Without it, I would not have been in the mood I was in during treatment. It helped me put things in perspective: ‘I’m drooling, yes, but I’m alive.’

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Although humor helped you a lot, did you receive any therapeutic support?

During my treatment, especially the radiotherapy which was performed daily, the center offered me psychological support. I went to see the center’s psychologist, who did not consider the therapy helpful at that time. However, he advised me to come back later. He was right because at that time I felt fine. It was later that my anxiety attacks started. Concerned about my symptoms, I consulted a family doctor who informed me that it was usual to need psychological follow-up after cancer. Again, I sought out an appropriate professional myself, who put me on antidepressants.

What has helped you the most to improve in these therapies?

Some of the therapeutic exercises used for bereavement helped me a lot, such as NLP and hypnosis, which work on the subconscious. We focused a lot on acceptance: ‘yes, I have had cancer, but that does not determine what will happen to me for the rest of my life.’

There is that side where we tell ourselves that cancer will always be part of our lives, we see it as a second sword of Damocles (in addition to the one we all have with death). We feel we have to always be on guard because there is a fear that never leaves us, the fear that the cancer will come back, even when everything is going well. Even when the doctor says something positive at a check-up, you think “yes, but it could still come back.” At some point, you have to turn the page and tell yourself that there is no more risk of it coming back than there is of killing yourself crossing the road.

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Other exercises such as dissociation and visualization also played an important role in this acceptance. For example, in the first exercise, I had to practice reckoning with the Flower who had had cancer and the other who had not. It was fun.

For the second one, I had to visualize myself in the future in good health and without that fear.

It resolved very quickly, as soon as I accepted the fact that I was still afraid, that cancer was part of my life. I didn’t understand that I was going to feel that all the time because nobody warned me.

Did you use medication in addition to therapy?

Yes, I have used antidepressants, which act as a crutch for me. I took them for two years because of my anxiety attacks due to my hypochondria. Before I knew I only had “osteoarthritis in my knee”, the pain made me panic and made me think of cancer. So I took this treatment and then stopped, thinking I was getting better. However, it was too brutal, so I had to start it again recently, after going through the grieving process. Now I am going through the withdrawal phase proper. So I take my antidepressants in small amounts and it still helps me fall asleep at night.

I would like to stress that, in my opinion, you should not be afraid of being addicted to antidepressants. You should see them as a crutch, as long as you do what is necessary to get better. It helps keep your spirits up to fight the disease. Also, cancer specialists have always told me that 50% of the cure is due to morale.

What has cancer done for you?

First, there were encounters that changed my experience. The first was a person with whom I no longer have contact but who was important at the time. We were the same age, had the same type of cancer and she was also the mother of a child the same age as mine. She was finishing her treatments when I was starting them. It was good to be able to ask questions and talk freely about it all together, because we were going through the same thing. I also met another woman, who is a friend of the author’s like me. Our relationship saved our lives because we could tell each other everything without taboos. We went through the same experiences and exams almost at the same time. Also, it was nice to be able to talk about all the medical procedures without having to explain to each other what they consisted of. It was a safety valve.

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In addition to the meetings, the disease has also given me some distance in my life. Now I take more stock of events and dare to try more things. There is a real difference between before and after cancer. Cancer has contributed to the person I am today, a person I prefer to the person I was before.

Is it important to be surrounded by people going through the same thing as you, or is it more oppressive?

There is a mixture of both. It is certainly important to surround yourself with people, but I did not go to forums or discussion groups to meet more patients. Some associations offered fitness classes, but I never went because I needed to distance myself from the disease, a daily life not linked to cancer. It was already taking up too much space in my life and I didn’t want to stagnate in it and reduce myself to the disease.

On the other hand, I appreciated this safety valve, this regular contact with my friends that gave rhythm to my life.

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Well Being

2 minutes is enough to increase your longevity

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Presse Santé

Don’t have enough time to exercise during the week? Or are you unable to find the motivation to do it? A new study shows that 15 minutes of vigorous exercise per week or just two minutes of vigorous exercise per day is enough. This is good news for those who do not have free time for physical activity.

Reduced risk of premature death.

This study appeared in the European Heart Journal. It shows that fifteen minutes per week or two minutes of intensive exercise per day reduces the risk of premature death by 18%.

The new study comes to support the impact of physical activity on our life expectancy.

For the study, the researchers attached activity trackers to the wrists of 71,893 adults with an average age of 62.5 for nearly seven years. Five years later, the researchers identified those who died in the meantime. People who were not physically active had a 4% risk of death during this period. In contrast, people who practiced ten minutes of exercise a week saw this risk cut in half. In total, fifteen minutes of intense physical exercise a week has been shown to reduce the risk of death by 18%.

The more you move, the better!

Of course, the more exercise you do, the better. According to the recommendations of the World Health Organization, a “healthy person” performs an average of 150 to 300 minutes of moderate physical exercise per week. You can also opt for 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. Research shows that these guidelines reduce the risk of premature death by 21%. Do you exercise more than the number of minutes listed above? In this case, the benefits in terms of useful life are even greater.

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The benefits of sport for your brain.

More mental resilience.

When exercise is done at high intensity, the body develops physically, but also mentally, as it “adapts” to new challenges and learns to handle more load and stress. On training days, overall mental performance is better than on rest days. Memory seems to improve, as well as coordination and reaction speed.

Better mood.

Through the production and exchange of dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, endorphins, adrenaline, etc. in the brain and in the body, the organism is rewarded with a feeling of well-being during and after exercise.

Stress management.

When your brain releases chemicals, your body “receives” stimuli to relieve pain, reduce stress and inflammation, body aches, insomnia, fatigue, and anxiety. In addition, thanks to better mental resistance, athletes can better manage stressful situations. Sport is a way to release “bad stress” and balance the body for the mental and physical challenges ahead.

improved health.

Sport strengthens the functions of the cardiovascular system, the respiratory tract and the nervous system. Sport is a key factor in “refining” your metabolism. All of this should lead to better overall health.

power charge.

In many medical and sports articles it is said that after a few minutes of sports an effect called “runner’s high” is achieved and that it is due to the chemicals that are produced “to manage” the effort. This “energy charge” includes chemicals for load resistance, stamina, pain relief, etc. The end result is a feeling of “energy” (as long as the training does not continue until exhausted by fatigue). In many articles it is mentioned that even 20 minutes of activity can already help you “get” a high energy charge.

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Reduction of depression and anxiety..

Do you know the principle of the snowball effect? Rolling down a mountain, a snowball continues to grow as it goes down. Sports have the same effect.

* HealthKey strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO EVENT can the information provided replace the opinion of a health professional.

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Well Being

The 9 Best Exercises for Healthy Feet

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Presse Santé

Many people experience foot or ankle pain at one time or another. Keeping your feet strong can help alleviate these pains and improve overall health and flexibility. Exercising and stretching your feet and ankles regularly helps ensure that the muscles provide the best possible support. These exercises can also increase the range of motion in the feet, allowing a person to stay active for as long as possible. Most foot exercises are simple and do not require complicated equipment. People can do them at home or at the gym as part of a regular exercise routine.

The following exercises can improve the flexibility and mobility of the feet.

1. Raise, point and curl your toes

This exercise has three stages and helps to strengthen all parts of the feet and toes.

To do this exercise:

Sit upright in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
Keeping your toes on the floor, raise your heels. Stop when only the balls of your feet remain on the ground.
Hold this position for 5 seconds before lowering your heels.
For the second step, lift your heels and point your toes so that only the tips of your big and second toes are touching the ground.
Hold this position for 5 seconds before lowering your heels.
For the third step, lift your heels and curl your toes in so that only the tips of your toes are touching the floor. Hold this position for 5 seconds.
Develop flexibility and mobility by repeating each step 10 times.

2. Big Toe Stretch

It is important to maintain a wide range of motion in the big toe. The following exercise also has three steps and is designed to stretch and relieve pain in your toes from wearing tight shoes.

To do this exercise:

Sit upright in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
Place the left foot on the right thigh.
Using your fingers, gently stretch your big toe up, down, and to the sides.
Hold your big toe in each position for 5 seconds.
Repeat this exercise 10 times before switching to the other foot.

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foot muscle exercises

The following exercises can help improve foot strength.

3. Separation of the toes

The finger separation exercise can improve control of the finger muscles. You can do this on both feet at once or alternate feet, whichever is most comfortable for you.

To do this exercise:

Sit in a straight-backed chair with your feet flat on the floor.
Spread your toes as far apart as possible without straining. Hold this position for 5 seconds.
Repeat this movement 10 times.
Once a person has built up strength, they can try wrapping a rubber band around their toes. This provides resistance and makes the exercise more difficult.

4. Finger Curl

Doing finger curls develops the flexor muscles in the toes and feet, which improves overall strength.

To do this exercise:

Sit upright in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
Place a small towel on the floor in front of your body, with the small side facing your feet.
Place the toes of one foot on the short side of the towel. Try to grab the towel between your toes and pull it towards you. Repeat this exercise five times before switching to the other foot.
To make this exercise more difficult, try pressing down on the opposite end of the towel with an object.

5. Collect marbles

Picking up marbles can increase muscle strength in the soles of the feet and toes.

To do this exercise:

Sit upright in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
Place an empty bowl and a bowl with 20 marbles on the floor in front of your feet.
Using only the toes of one foot, pick up each marble and place it in the empty container.
Repeat this exercise with the other foot.

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6. Walking on the sand

Walking barefoot on the sand is a great way to stretch and strengthen your feet and calves. It’s good overall exercise because the soft texture of the sand makes walking more physically demanding.

To do this exercise:

Head to a beach, volleyball court, or anywhere else with sand.
Take off your shoes and socks.
Walk as far as possible. Try to increase the distance slowly over time to avoid overloading your feet and calf muscles.

exercises for pain

The following exercises may be helpful in relieving pain.

7. Toe Extension

Toe extension is helpful in preventing or treating plantar fasciitis, which is a condition that causes pain in the heel when walking and difficulty lifting the toes.

To do this exercise:

Sit upright in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
Place the left foot on the right thigh.
Pull the toes towards the ankle. You should feel a stretch along the bottom of your foot and heel tendon.
Hold this position for 10 seconds. Massaging the arch of the foot during the stretch helps relieve tension and pain.
Repeat this exercise 10 times on each foot.

8. Rolling a golf ball underfoot

Rolling a golf ball under your foot can help relieve arch discomfort and decrease pain associated with plantar fasciitis.

To do this exercise:

Sit upright in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
Place a golf ball, or other small, hard ball, on the ground at your feet.
Put one foot on the ball and move it by pressing as hard as you want. The ball should massage the bottom of the foot.
Continue for 2 minutes, then repeat on the other foot.
An ice cold bottle of water can be a relaxing alternative.

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9. Achilles heel stretch

The Achilles tendon is a cord that connects the heel to the calf muscles. It can get out of shape easily, but keeping it strong can help relieve foot, ankle, or leg pain.

To do this exercise:

Stand facing a wall and raise your arms so that your palms are flat against the wall.
Step back with one foot, keeping the knee straight. Then, bend the knee of the opposite leg.
Keep both heels flat on the ground.
Push your hips forward until you feel a stretching sensation in your Achilles tendon and calf muscles.
Hold this position for 30 seconds before switching sides. Repeat three times on each side.
For a slightly different stretch, bend your back knee and push your hips forward.

Foot Health and Safety Tips

To help keep your feet strong and healthy:

Perform a thorough warm-up before exercising.
Wear supportive shoes for your daily activities and sports.
Replace worn out shoes as often as possible.
Slowly build strength and flexibility to condition feet and ankles.
Avoid uneven surfaces, especially when running. Try not to run uphill too often.
Listen to your body. Do not overdo the activities.
Prevent any recurrence of the injury by resting and seeking proper treatment.

Summary

It is good for keeping your feet and ankles healthy. Performing the above exercises can help relieve existing pain, prevent discomfort, and reduce the risk of injury.
People with a diagnosed foot condition, such as plantar fasciitis or a torn Achilles tendon, can try exercises to help. Always consult a health professional, if possible, before starting a new exercise and stretching program.

* HealthKey strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO EVENT can the information provided replace the opinion of a health professional.

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Well Being

6 questions you should ask yourself for a 100% effective diet

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Presse Santé

Your weight loss success largely depends on your willingness to rise to the challenge. If you take the plunge before you’re ready, your weight loss program could fail at the first hurdle.

Knowing that you need to make changes in your life and actually making them are two different things.

Use these questions to assess your readiness to lose weight.

Are you motivated to make long-term changes to your lifestyle?

Successful weight loss depends on making permanent lifestyle changes, such as eating healthy, low-calorie foods and including physical activity in your daily routine. This could represent a significant departure from your current lifestyle.

You may need to revise your diet to eat more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, for example. It will be important to eat a variety of healthy foods. You’ll also need to find time for physical activity, ideally for at least 30 to 45 minutes, or more, most days of the week.

Find your motivation and focus on it:

Your true motivation is the best guarantee of success, but what is it? To make these changes, ask yourself first why you want to lose weight, all these changes to:

  • have better health,
  • better appearance
  • feel better about yourself
  • better way
  • start a new love story

Have you identified anything in your life that might distract you from your weight loss goal?

If you’re dealing with major life events, such as marital problems, work stress, illness, or financial worries, you may not want to add the challenge of reviewing your eating habits and time spent being physically active. It may be better to wait until the right time to embark on your weight loss program to limit the risk of failure due to external factors that are too heavy.

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Do you have a realistic picture of how much weight you will lose and how fast?

Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is a lifelong process. Start by making sure your weight loss goal is safe and realistic, such as losing 5 percent of your current weight.

Try to start losing 0.5 to 1 kilogram per week until you reach your goal. This means burning 500 to 1,000 more calories than you consume each day, through diet and exercise.

You could lose weight faster if you change your habits significantly. However, be careful. Radical changes that are not sustainable are unlikely to be effective in the long term.

Have you resolved emotional problems related to your weight?

Emotions and food are often intertwined. Anger, stress, grief, and boredom can trigger emotional eating. If you have a history of disordered eating, losing weight can be even more difficult.

To prepare for challenges, identify emotional issues related to eating.

Do you have support around you?

Any weight loss program can be difficult. You may face moments of temptation or discouragement. Having someone around you to offer encouragement can help. If you don’t have friends or loved ones you can rely on for positive help, consider joining a weight loss support group.

If you want to keep your weight loss efforts to yourself and not tell anyone about it, it will be more difficult. But maybe you’re ready to be responsible to yourself: set up dates with yourself then. With summary about:

  • – regular weigh-ins
  • – monitor your diet
  • – track your physical activity
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Have you really accepted the weight loss challenge?

If you don’t have a positive attitude toward weight loss, you may not be ready. And if you fear what’s to come, you’re more likely to find excuses to veer off course.

Instead, try to take a nice view of your new lifestyle and stay positive. Focus on how good you will feel when you are more active or weigh less. Imagine celebrating all the successes along the way, whether it’s enjoying a new food, completing another workout, or losing your first few pounds.

If you answered yes to most or all of the questions

You are probably ready to make lifestyle changes that will help you lose weight permanently. Get ahead with healthy eating and regular physical activity, starting today!

If you think you need help, see a dietitian or join a reputable weight loss program. If you have a significant amount of weight to lose, you may benefit from follow-up with a therapist or obesity specialist.

If you answer no to more than one of the questions

You may not be ready to embark on a weight loss program right now, and that’s okay. Explore what’s holding you back and face those obstacles.

Consider seeking help from a professional weight loss tracker to help you deal with any roadblocks. Then, reassess your readiness for your weight loss program so you can get off to a great start.

Ready, set, let’s go

If you can’t answer every question with a simple yes or no, but overall you feel positive and confident with your answers, consider starting now.

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You may never have definitive answers in life. Don’t let this rob you of the opportunity to achieve your weight loss goals.

* HealthKey strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO EVENT can the information provided replace the opinion of a health professional.

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