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'Brain Weather' topic for free cancer talk
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The role of emotions in day-to-day life after a cancer diagnosis is the topic for the next Interactive Television (ITV) presentation at St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center. The event, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled for 3 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 22 in the basement-level St. Dominic Room.
“Emotions can be compared to the weather in the brain,” said Moira Mulhern, program presenter. “The purpose of the session is to help patients and their supporters understand the emotions that accompany a cancer diagnosis.
“It is a highly stressful time and lots of emotions bubble up,” Mulhern continued. “It is so very important for all to understand what those feelings are and how to move through them in order to bounce back quickly or bend without breaking. Navigating through the emotional aspects of living with cancer will make the physical experience easier.”
One of Mulhern’s topics will focus on ways emotional reactions can be modulated. One way is distraction because “it is possible to decrease uncomfortable emotions associated with physical pain by redirecting your attention,” she explained.
Another method is reappraisal, which means reconsidering the meaning of an event. For example, Mulhern noted, “if someone is late for an appointment, you might get angry. But if you learn the reason is that they were helping someone who was having a heart attack, you would reappraise the situation and change how you feel.
“People who are good at reappraisal are emotionally intelligent and stable,” she added. “It is a useful life skill and improves as we get older.”
Mulhern also will discuss using more of the brain to control emotional responses.
“Emotionally intelligent people are good at figuring out what they are feeling and how to appropriately express themselves,” she said. “We will talk about various techniques including meditation/relaxation training, music and art therapy, the repetition of simple language and mindfulness training in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy.”
St. Rose ITV presentations are co-sponsored by the Midwest Cancer Alliance and Turning Point. St. Rose is an MCA member and Mulhern is Turning Point’s co-founder and chief executive officer.