"The one thing about mental health that makes me happy and want to jump up and down is that we can now all talk more freely about what thoughts we are having and how we feel. Gone are the days where we need to pretend we are all coping when we are not. Once again it is acceptable to have feelings.  It is interesting that from the Victorian era and for a number of generations since, we have been expected to have a ‘stiff upper lip’ and finally it is acceptable not to have to be like this.  I was intrigued to learn recently that prior to the Victorians, it was much more acceptable to talk about difficult thoughts and feelings and it made me think how, as human beings, even how we express ourselves ebbs and flows according to the attitudes of the time.

With thanks, not only but largely, to the popularity of the mindfulness and mindful self-compassion movements, we are able to recognise that everyone struggles mentally and emotionally at times, it is just part of being human.

In recognising this, we can be radical and bring some kindness and curiosity to our own present moment experiences, rather than criticism and beating ourselves up. Most of us notice that we are much kinder to other people when they are struggling or in difficulty than we are to ourselves.… but why would we want to make our own lives more difficult than they already are?  So we can learn that it is possible to notice how we are, to pause, to breathe, to turn towards ourselves in a friendlier manner.

It is also helpful to remember that thoughts are just mental events, just as pain is a physical event and feeling low is an emotional event. We are not our thoughts, although at times they can feel overwhelming.

Struggling mentally and emotionally can affect the way that you approach and get through the experience of breast cancer including the symptoms and side-effects. We know that feeling anxious, worried or depressed can adversely affect all aspects of getting through treatment including pain, fatigue and menopausal symptoms.

Everything that we provide at Breast Cancer Haven can help you find the time and space to care for yourself in the best possible way. Our Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Mindful Self Compassion courses and classes are here to help."

- Dr Caroline Hoffman, Clinical and Research Director at Breast Cancer Haven

We want you to be able to become the happiest and healthiest you in the midst of your breast cancer experience so please get in touch if you need some help.