When students go to university, it’s common for them to feel that it wasn’t what they expected. Many find that independence isn’t as exciting as they expected, and wonder if they chose the right course. They may think that everyone else is having a great time, and they’re the only one who’s feeling lonely and isn’t making friends. Most people get over this stage in time, and go on to enjoy their university years immensely. But for some, these early difficulties develop into serious depression, which can have a serious impact on their grades and well-being.
Typical symptoms of depression can include:
- Feeling hopeless
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Reluctant to go out
- Neglecting personal hygiene
- Engaging in risky behaviour
- Losing interest in things you usually enjoy
- Being very self-critical and feeling worthless
- Lack of energy
- Poor concentration
So what should you do if these feelings last?
- Seek help. Don’t try to soldier on alone and put a brave face on it. Just talking to someone will help you feel less alone, and there is a lot of help out there. Set the wheels in motion, so that you can get help as soon as possible.
- Talk to professionals. Your university will have a counselling service or medical centre where you can talk to professionals who are very used to dealing with your situation. Or you can register with a GP, who will consider treatment options such as counselling or medication.
- Don’t blame yourself. You’re not a bad person, and you’ve done nothing to deserve the depression or bring it on yourself. Having depression is not a sign of weakness. It’s either a reaction to circumstances, or a chemical imbalance in your brain. It’s also very common for students to develop depression, especially during their first year.
- Advise your tutors. Universities are usually very helpful if students have health issues, and if your tutors know, they can offer help and make allowances.
- Look after your health. Try to get enough sleep, eat regular meals, and choose health options rather than sugary foods and junk food.
- Avoid self-medication. Drinking or taking drugs will not help your depression, in fact they can make it worse. You should also avoid alcohol if you are taking antidepressants.
- Stick with your treatment. Don’t stop the tablets because you feel better, unless your doctor advises you to stop. If the tablets don’t agree with you, ask about switching to a different one or dose. Attend all your counselling sessions.
- Have faith. It may seem hopeless right now, but most people manage to come through their depression and lead happier lives.
Determined to beat the odds, some people chose to face terminal cancer with a survivor mindset.
They know survival odds are not in their favor, but they have hope regardless. And they should, because people can live a long time with incurable cancers thanks to current anti-cancer treatments.
Today, people with an aggressive, incurable cancer called mesothelioma are outliving their prognosis because of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and immunotherapy.
Mesothelioma is a cancer caused by asbestos exposure. It can develop several decades after ongoing, heavy asbestos exposure. It takes many years, between 20 and 50, for asbestos to damage DNA in ways that lead to cancer.
The cancer most commonly develops in the lining of the lungs and is called pleural mesothelioma. Sometimes it develops in the lining of the abdomen. That condition is known as peritoneal mesothelioma.
Chemotherapy is the primary treatment for mesothelioma, and some people receive radiation therapy, too. A select few patients are diagnosed early enough to qualify for surgery, which can significantly extend survival.
Clinical trials are currently testing immunotherapy drugs on mesothelioma. Several immunotherapy drugs have helped certain patients to live years beyond the average one-year mesothelioma survival rate.
Cases of people living with mesothelioma beyond three, five and 10 years are becoming more common thanks to treatment advancements. These long-term survivors are sources of hope and inspiration to people newly diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Some of these survivors believed they could outlive their mesothelioma prognosis from the get-go. Others eventually develop a survivor mindset as they continue to live, shocking themselves and their oncology team.
What Is Survivor Mentality?
People with survivor mentality often possess a can-do attitude. They focus on solutions when problems arise. They muster hope despite the odds.
Some people with a survivor mindset operate on blind faith, while others are natural optimists or have realistic trust in modern medicine.
Those with survivor mentality are often resilient, meaning they bounce back relatively quickly after adversity.
However, being resilient and having a good attitude doesn’t mean that survivors force themselves to think positively all of the time.
What if Fear Takes Hold?
It’s easier to remain positive when the cancer is in control or shrinking. If the cancer grows, doubts about survival can creep into the mind. These are normal, realistic thoughts that even the most positive people with cancer will experience.
Thinking like a survivor doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Some cancer patients feel guilty about their dark emotions, worrying their fear and sadness will impact their survival.
Research shows this isn’t true. Feeling depressed, angry or anxious doesn’t make cancer grow. Having a positive outlook doesn’t improve survival, but it does affect quality of life.
Based on the evidence available to date, there’s no reason to believe that emotions can cause cancer or make it grow. When cancer patients are having a tough time, there’s no need to worry that attitude will shorten survival.
Tough days will challenge the survivor mindset. That’s to be expected with cancer. The goal is to maintain hope and garner motivation to keep surviving in the face of hardship.
Ways to Cultivate a Survivor Mindset
Start by making a list of available resources.
Research shows that psychological health in cancer survivors is the result of two factors: The stress of the cancer experience and the resources available for coping with cancer.
Cancer-related stress increases when people don’t have access to resources such as cancer treatment centers, clinical trials, medication, support groups or support from family and friends.
In other words, the more resources cancer patients have access to, the less stress they experience.
It’s hard to maintain a hopeful attitude when under distress. Making a list of cancer-related resources allows patients to recognize all the resources available to help them get through cancer.
Consider these other tips to cultivate a survivor mentality and healthy state of mind.
Try mental health therapy. Adjusting to life with cancer isn’t a walk in the park. Speaking with a counselor or social worker who specializes in oncology can help. Therapists work with patients and their families to develop healthy coping strategies and stress management skills.
Join a support group. Participating in a cancer support group is a great way to connect with other people who truly understand what it’s like to face cancer. It’s a healthy way to seek social support and process stress.
Learn relaxation techniques. Finding different ways to relax can improve mood and motivation amid tough times. Examples include breathing techniques, meditation, prayer, yoga and tai chi.
Get gentle exercise. Light exercise releases feel-good endorphins and improves stamina. Go for walks, take a bike ride or swim to boost mood and promote recovery from cancer treatment.
Enjoy a hobby. Getting lost in the enjoyment of a hobby is therapeutic and stress-relieving. Indulging in a hobby brings immense joy or a sense of inner calm, depending upon the activity. Whether it’s playing golf or a round of pool, reading books or taking dance lessons, taking up a hobby offers numerous benefits to people with cancer.
Don’t fret if you struggle with maintaining a positive outlook. Reach out to a therapist if you need help, and rely on family and friends for comfort and support to get through tough days.
With hope and determination, people facing cancer can cultivate a survivor mentality that will help them cope with the cancer experience.
Author bio: Michelle Whitmer has been a medical writer and editor for The Mesothelioma Center since 2008. Focused on the benefits of natural and integrative medicine for cancer patients, Michelle is a certified yoga instructor and graduated from Rollins College in Florida.
American Cancer Society. (2014, March 31). Attitudes and cancer. Retrieved from http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/emotionalsideeffects/attitudes-and-cancer
Andrykowski, M.A., Lykins, E., & Floyd, A. (2008). Psychological health in cancer survivors. Semin Oncol Nurs, 24(3): 193-201. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3321244/
MacDonald, A. (2011, March 28). Mental and emotional challenges of surviving cancer. Retrieved from http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-mental-and-emotional-challenges-of-surviving-cancer-201103282146
National Cancer Institute. (2012, December 10). Psychological stress and cancer. Retrieved from http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/coping/feelings/stress-fact-sheet
Weintraub, P. (2009, July 1). The new survivors. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200907/the-new-survivors
Is there really a way to keep extra pounds off for good? While no single tip or trick is foolproof, adopting a number of new healthy habits can turn the tables on the scale. Here are five ways you can tackle weight loss with efficiency and boost your chances of long-term success:
- Stay positive. Mindset and how you talk to yourself about diet and exercise changes is key. Instead of telling yourself you “can’t” have something, instead say that you “won’t” have it. This gives you a feeling not of deprivation, but of empowerment and puts you in the driver’s seat of your choices. Feeling as though you are constantly denying yourself foods that you want can cause you to feel rebellious and eventually give up on your healthy choices.
- Try to get 8 hours of sleep. Sleep is about more than just curling up and pulling the blankets over your head. During sleep, your body is regenerating and restoring hormones that are necessary for proper fat utilization, metabolism control and muscle maintenance—all of which will affect your weight loss efforts when you are awake.
- Get to know your genetics. More than just a trendy diet fad, science is now proving, because of genetics, that no two people will be able to succeed on the same diet. Why guess at what diet is right for you when a simple saliva test can provide valuable information on your body’s genetic tendency to gain and lose weight, which can help you achieve your goals more efficiently.
- Drink plenty of water. Although the metabolism boost your body gets from water may seem small, the importance of hydration should not be overlooked. Water can increase your metabolism and help you burn more calories for up to 40 minutes after working out. If you aren’t a fan of plain water, try using calorie-free flavorings or opt for fruit in your bottle or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
- Vary your workout. Over time, doing the same routine can cause your muscles to get used to the workout and become very efficient—causing less effort needed to complete the workout and less weight loss results over time. Trying new workouts is also great for challenging muscle groups you may have overlooked and to combat the boredom of doing the same thing week after week.
Because not every weight loss approach is right for every person, make sure to customize your healthy habits so they fit your lifestyle and feel achievable. Setting unrealistic goals can make you feel defeated before you even start—so be patient, work hard, and stay committed—each step, no matter how small is very important to finding success.
Diabetes is a serious metabolic disorder which occurs when the pancreas is unable to manufacture the hormone named ‘insulin’ in adequate amounts, as a result of which, there is an accumulation of excessive glucose within the bloodstream. Insulin resistance is another possible condition responsible for developing diabetes because it prevents the absorption and utilization of glucose by the human body. The latter theory is applicable in the case of type-2 diabetes. Due to modern sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy eating habits, there has been a sharp rise in the figures of people belonging to all age groups, who are affected by diabetes.
Modification of lifestyle
Since the lack of physical activity happens to be one of the leading reasons behind the development of metabolic disorders, modification of lifestyle should be the first essential step for long term wellness. Including a few simple exercises in one’s daily routine can be extremely beneficial for those suffering from high blood sugar. Rather it can be said that incorporating a little bit of physical activity is an integral part of treatment besides medication. A regular exercise regime is has always been associated with multiple benefits for health. Exercises when performed under the guidance of experts, is very effective in reducing the amount of glucose in the bloodstream.
Mechanism of glucose absorption
Irrespective of the fact that whether your diabetes is an outcome of deficiency in manufactured insulin, or resistance to this hormone, performing physical exercises enable your body to use up the energy of glucose even in the absence of insulin hormone. The moment your muscle cells start utilizing the glucose that they require, the level of glucose in your bloodstream gradually starts getting restored from high to normal. For those who are resistant to insulin, regular physical exercises helps in reducing the levels of resistance, so that the glucose in the bloodstream is effectively utilized by the cells in order to release energy.
Yielding multiple benefits
Besides specifically addressing the complication pertaining to diabetes, regular physical activity helps in maintaining an ideal body weight and blood pressure which are two really crucial factors when it comes to controlling your blood sugar. Exercises also help in elevating the levels of HDL or good cholesterol which keeps the heart healthy and reduces the risk of major cardiac events. It boosts the energy levels, improves those erratic sleep cycles and aids in effective stress management. Prolonged mental and physical stress is known to manifest itself in the form of various metabolic and endocrinal disorders.
Flexibility is great
For those who have never exercised in their whole lives, preparing an exercise regime and abiding by it can be quite challenging during the initial phases. It is absolutely fine to allow yourself a bit of time to get accustomed, rather than punishing yourself with the burden of a strict routine. Exercise does not necessarily mean hitting the gym or performing prescribed yoga postures every single day. You can always add some variations to make it an enjoyable activity and to keep your motivation levels flying high. If you are passionate about sports, then a game of basketball or tennis, or a round of cycling or swimming can be fantastic! If you are feeling a bit lazy or sloppy, you can simply enjoy a walk in your park and breathe in the fresh air to your heart’s content.
Building a strong defense
Strength training exercises are not only ideal for developing those lean and sturdy muscles, but also advantageous for type-2 diabetics since muscles utilize glucose the most. One needs to set practical, achievable workout goals after thorough medical examination and consultation with a doctor. Since diabetics feel thirsty quite often, it is really important to keep the body hydrated at all times. Strictly following the prescribed dietary restrictions is a must for preventing your blood sugar from escalating beyond limits.
Fixing your menu
While preparing your meals, make maximum use of whole grains such as oatmeal, brown rice or millet as cereals. They are best combined with garden fresh green, leafy vegetables which are either steamed or grilled to perfection with minimum sprinkling of salt and condiments. Steer clear of all kinds of processed food such as white bread, tortillas made of white flour, deep fried dishes and sugary snacks. Munch on fresh fruits like apples or roasted nuts whenever you feel hungry, so that your glucose levels remain stable.