Guest Post: Tamera Anderson-Hanna
In 2015, at the age of 44, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The diagnosis came as a surprise and due to a family history of female cancers and a scare I had with endometrial cancer a couple years prior, I opted for a double mastectomy. During my process of healing, I became a registered yoga teacher to assist with my self-care, but I also practiced positive affirmations and mantras to adjust to my new body.
Thinking and saying positive words about my body as I healed was important as I didn’t want to identify with the cancer, but rather in a manner which would support my body and journey of healing. For the month of April, AnaOno is focused on the theme of reclaiming, and I was asked to share a bit about mantras and affirmations in hopes it may help other women with their healing and in being more accepting of their bodies following a cancer diagnosis, surgery, or in need of some uplifting.
Affirmations or mantras can be a word or a phrase we use as part of our self-talk. When healing from cancer, it might be important to pay attention to the quality of our self-talk. Having personally used positive affirmations as part of my healing process from breast cancer and surgery, I now work with fellow peers when they need to monitor their thinking and want to enhance their internal self-talk following a cancer diagnosis. Most often women have an interest in learning more about ways to talk to themselves as part of their healing process and I encourage them to repeat a positive phrase or word they find to be uplifting. When you begin to believe in the message and make it a regular part of your internal self-talk, you may begin to notice yourself adjusting to your new body and feeling better about yourself. We are often saying things about our bodies from the time we become aware of the uniqueness of ourselves as women, but we have not always had the most positive messages.
pictured above: The Delilah Dream Soft Cup Bra. Lacy, underwire-free, breathable and comfy, so you can focus on you.
In order to incorporate positive affirmations or mantras into your life, I encourage women to embrace the positive message you would want others to say to you or the kind words you would offer to another woman who is healing from breast cancer, surgery, experiencing pain, or feeling low. In order to fully embrace gratitude, it is not helpful to focus on the things we want to bring to our life, but it is helpful to reflect upon the gifts we already have in our life. We might have always wanted our breasts to look differently, but learning to love our own unique body is empowering. Instead of wishing our body was different, part of the healing process can include taking a positive inventory of the gifts of our body and the wellness we are focusing on bringing to our life. It is helpful if you are going to create a positive mantra or affirmation to make the statement in the here and now. For example, don’t say someday I will have a beautiful body. Say, “I AM BEAUTIFUL.”
pictured above: The Gloria Pocketed Wirefree Bra. Underwire free bralette with sexy stretch lace, so you can feel confident AND comfortable.
Using “I am” statements helps us affirm the message today and now rather than someday in the future. If you create a positive statement or affirmation about your body, practice saying it out loud once or twice a day and this will become a mantra you create for yourself. Say your mantra or affirmation first thing in the morning when you wake up and before you go to bed at night. You could also say the positive words in coordination with doing something related to self-care. Self-care can be as simple as putting on a body lotion, taking a relaxing soak in the tub, or putting on a new lacy bra or other piece of sexy lingerie. Find what works for you, but don’t be afraid to embrace and love yourself just the way you are.
All month long, AnaOno is focusing on the importance of reclaiming and affirming your body. Practice an “I am” statement twice a day for the next 30 to 45 days and form a new habit for body positivity and supportive self-talk. I will share one of my affirmations to get it started:
Now it’s your turn! Share your “I am” mantra with us on social media and tag @anaonointimates with #IAmAnaOno, so we can all support each other and give the community some motivation and inspiration for their own!
Tamera Anderson-Hanna, is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Certified Addiction Counselor, and Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. Tamera became a Registered Yoga Teacher in 2015 while coping with a diagnosis of breast cancer and offers a Yoga 4 Cancer group in Miami, Florida. Since obtaining her 200-hour yoga teacher training with a focus in Vinyasa Yoga, she has gone on to train in Yin, and Trauma Conscious Yoga and is certified in Yoga for 12 Step Recovery (Y12SR). In 2017, she received a scholarship from Lululemon which assisted her in becoming certified in Yoga for Cancer (Y4C).
Tamera is a contributing writer for Cure magazine, a free publication addressing issues of cancer survivorship for individuals and family members. Her first article was published in Heal Magazine, Spring 2017 entitled Learning to Love Yourself Again. You can read her articles here.
Tamera formed Wellness, Therapy, & Yoga in Miami, Florida while coping with cancer and now speaks nationally on wellness related topics, teaches yoga, and provides wellness, life, and survivorship coaching along with providing corporate yoga and custom workshops. You can personally contact Tamera at Wellness Therapy Yoga, Facebook: Wellnesstherapyyoga, Instagram: TameraAndersonHanna, or Twitter@ Wellness305.
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Guest Post: Katharine Doughty
When I found a lump in my chest in early 2010, I was ten years into a series of 26 self-portraits with four 4 images to complete. A theme of reclaiming runs throughout the project: reclaiming of self-representation, of our personal and collective stories and the power of visual image. Be it ten years or ten minutes, the essential gift is the same: focused discovery and reflection via the arts allows us to be a witness to ourselves. To hear and respond creatively to our bodies with our bodies is to reclaim a role in the healing of our bodies.