The emotional effects of a breast cancer diagnosis can be immense. If we can find strategies to help cope with these emotions, potentially they can be life-changing and impactful.
In this episode, I have a conversation with Nazanin Derakhshan, who is a Professor of experimental psychopathology at Birkbeck University London. Her research looks at cognition and emotional interactions in emotional disorders such as anxiety and depression.
Following her breast cancer diagnosis in her mid-30s, Naz decided to change the direction of her work. She decided to look at the breast cancer community and began to focus her work on the emotional impact of breast cancer. She became passionate about finding ways to help reduce emotional vulnerability whilst increasing resilience.
To support her mission, Naz set up a group called the BRiC (Building Resilience in Breast Cancer) Centre. The aim of the centre is to target emotional and cognitive vulnerability in those affected by breast cancer as well as creating pathways to increase resilience. It has since grown to have over 1800 members that include people who have had primary and secondary breast cancer diagnosis. The BRiC centre is extremely active and engaged, it has an active Facebook group and have regular regional meetups.
In this episode we covered various topics including:
- Why are some people more susceptible to emotional vulnerability, anxiety and depression than others?
- How does the brain’s processing efficiency play a part in predicting anxiety and depression?
- How different coping styles may be influenced by our past experiences
- Finding a balance between the emotional and cognitive side of the breast may be the key to be able to move forward with a breast cancer diagnosis
Naz also shares her strategies that help reduce anxiety and depression which include:
- Keeping your brain active and challenge it with activities e.g. mindfulness and structured breathing exercises
- Self compassion
It was a fascinating and fun conversation, one I think you would enjoy listening to.
Below are details of the BRiC centre’s Facebook groups and blog as well as and how to connect with Naz:
Facebook closed group www.facebook.com/groups/ResilienceinBC/
Facebook public page: www.facebook.com/resilienceinbreastcancer/
Panning for Gold blog: https://bcresiliencecentre.blogspot.com/
BRiC’s Academic page: http://briccentre.bbk.ac.uk/
Follow BRiC on twitter @BC_Resilience
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