I Have Cancer, Can I Still Be Happy?
Happiness comes deep from within us. It is a practice in which we have to be actively involved, not expecting it will come to us by some divine intervention. This is actually good news…it means we can bring about our happiness, regardless of circumstances even when facing cancer.
3 Steps to Happiness During Cancer Treatment
Now happiness may not be an anti-cancer solution, but it is a practical and effective way for you to support your well being and even enhance your recovery from cancer. The question I hear often is how? How can I be happy when cancer has taken over my thoughts, my body and my life?
I don’t pretend to have all the answers. What I do know to be effective comes from seeing what works for my clients and this is the purpose of this post, to share with you this knowledge so you will know what to do when fear and despair have darkened your day.
Here are three essential elements for happiness. Adopt these three behaviors, and find a little bit of joy every day.
1. Stop comparing yourself to others.
Many of us are in the habit of regularly evaluating ourselves against others. We do so because it helps us make sense of the world. However, there are costly side-effects to a judgmental mind which serve only to reinforce negative perceptions and even damage our health.
Do not compare yourself with others, whether you are healthy or not. You never know what you are really comparing as you don’t know everything in someone’s heart, mind and body. You may be comparing their strengths with your weaknesses.
Action Step: Make a list of things or peoples you are fortunate to have in your life. Bring to mind people you have touched or impacted in a positive way.
If you can’t resist your mind’s habit of comparing yourself, instead of using others as your yard stick, evaluate yourself in terms of your own growth.
2. Spend time in Gratitude.
According to Wikipedia, gratitude is a “positive emotion or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive.” When illness colors our lives with gloom and self-pity, gratitude is an oasis for the spirit.
Focus on the good; celebrate your achievements by regularly reviewing what went well in your life instead of thinking only about problems or setbacks.
Action Step: Count your blessings, remind yourself of your strengths, your values, those things for which you are loved; Read that list every night before you go to bed.
Find something daily for which you are grateful. You can always find something! Perhaps today it is not your health, but what about a wonderful doctor, or a supportive friend.
3. Practice positive self-talk.
Self-talk is our on-going inner dialog which directly impacts our state of mind, attitude and mood. When we change the way we talk to ourselves for the better, it is as if we give ourselves permission to feel good.
Emphasize your strengths, be kind to you and patient with your body, and when given a compliment, just say “thank you”. Give compliments to others. It will make you feel good.
Action Step: Resolve to make happiness a priority; enhance the quality of your inner dialog by keeping tab of the things you do well. Before you go to sleep, recount at least three good things that happened today.
There’s nothing wrong or bad with being aware of the present moment or even acknowledging your physical predicament. It’s called being realistic. Having said that, it’s the dwelling only on the negative of this moment which deters the happiness which you so deserve.
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