Illness such as cancer presents us with many different challenges; physical, psychological, social and even spiritual challenges. In tough times, how come some people meet these challenges, beat cancer, better than others? The answer to this question might surprise you. When we have a reason to keep on going, when there is a meaning to our experience or a cause that is close to our heart, we can overcome even the most adverse treatment and conditions. This video touch upon some of the key elements to help you get through the tough times of cancer treatment. Life is a balancing act, but we can all develop the skills necessary to navigate through the challenging terrain of cancer diagnosis and treatment.
According to a study by Professor Ronit Peled, at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, happiness and optimism may play a role against breast cancer while adverse life events can increase the risk of developing the disease. An article on the study titled “Breast Cancer, Psychological Distress and Life Events among Young Women,” was published in the British journal BMC Cancer (8:245, August 2008).
While there’s no scientific consensus the above research or any other research suggesting emotions or psychological factors play a role in the development of cancer, there isn’t a scientific proof that they don’t.
Personally I feel we should be cautious about being overly optimistic because I have seen people use it as a blanket of denial. People who are optimistic tend to hold the “look at the bright side of things” or “focus only on the positive,” kind of attitude.
I prefer a more realistic approach where one sees things as they are; the good and the bad and still choose to extract the good, the lesson the value from the experience.
Working with people over a period of time put me in a privileged position where I can witness their progress. One client who was doing very well stated it is her awareness of her inner strength which helped her develop a greater appreciation to life.
She never realized how resourceful and strong she was before illness forced her to look into the mirror. These days she celebrate her new found realization by spending more time engaging in meaningful relationships and purpose driven activities.
In her words, “It all boils down to this: Give yourself permission to feel good and make a conscious decision that you want to be alive and you want to feel good in your life.”
Deciding to feel good builds new self-supporting beliefs inside of you. Those new beliefs state, “I exist, I can have what I want, I am supported, I’m good enough, and it is important for me to feel good.”
But is it that simple, choosing to feel good? What do you think? Tell us what needs to happen in order for you to give yourself permission to feel good?
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.
For most people, happiness is a value they aspire toward though only a handful can truly claim they have attained it. But notice that searching for happiness and being happy are two different things, one is future oriented while the other is more of an awareness to all that is in the present.
In the context of illness and health, happiness plays a major role. Since my belief is that emotions are road signs which point us in the right direction, happiness is a very clear arrow pointing straight ahead; toward a better and healthier state of mind.
So what does happiness has to do with healing? First of all, it feels good when we are happy, and feel-good state of mind correlate with certain health promoting chemicals production. These hormones and chemicals are dispersed through the blood stream to nourish, strengthen and heal that part which is currently vulnerable with cancer.
Secondly, happiness actually represents a state of health, spiritual health that is. Since happiness is a level of awareness, the question is awareness to what?
Several mystical sources, mainly the Jewish Kabalah, consider happiness as an indicator that the soul is in alignment with its divine purpose. What this means is that the soul, you, is exactly where it needs to be, doing exactly what it need be doing and in the right time.
This presents a challenging paradox where even in the direst of circumstances, such as life threatening cancer, one can feel pure joy and happiness if the alignment is in place. Healing is an outcome, much like happiness, and stem from the same alignment described above.
Please comment below and tell me and the community how you find happiness?
When most of us think of happiness, we think of all that is good and joyful in our lives. However, in the context of illness, happiness may seem like a foreign concept. Surely, “happiness” won’t be the first word that comes to mind, right?
Consider the age old question “Do You Want to Be Happy or Do You Want to Be Right?” This is not a trick question. Think about it for a moment and choose your answer? What does your instinct tell you?
Most people’s very logical response is, well, “Can’t I be both?” In most cases my answer will be No. This is because each answer – Right or Happy – represent a contradicting state of mind; one is of the Ego and the other is of the Soul or Spirit.
I am not suggesting there is anything happy about illness in general and cancer in particular. But could we possibly be happy during this period of time? The unequivocal answer is YES WE CAN and here are some tips to help you choose:
Four Points to Remember
1. Happiness is an outcome, a byproduct of the awareness of seeing more than the present moment of discomfort offers. Happiness does not depend on external things, things of material nature or even other people. It’s an inside job. A decision to focus on the good despite the awareness of the bad.
2. Find happiness in recognizing your sovereignty over your mind. Owning your state of mind, and taking responsibility for what you choose to hold in your mind is your birth right. This means you have that capacity, it’s part of how your brain wired.
3. If your happiness depends on whom you are with, or what someone else had to say to you, you set yourself up for disappointment. Lifelong disappointment. No one will ever do exactly as you wish and say the right words to satisfy you. Instead, look for happiness in the relationships you have, the positive aspects of every loving relationship or person and find gratitude in their love.
4. Contrary to what some people think, happiness during illness does not mean you are in denial. Yes, you are right, being sick is terrible. But if you find happiness in moments even during an illness, you are choosing something much greater than the simple satisfaction of your Ego. You get to see and experience yourself as more than just a physical body and in doing so acknowledge your true nature. This will be your statement of worth and value. You are worthy of feeling good even while you are not in perfect health, and of course, you are worthy of being healed!
A friend struggling with cancer recently shared that healthy people have many wishes: new car, more money, better phone, love, better job and so on… but a cancer patient has only one wish, to kick cancer’s butt and heal.
What do you choose, to be happy or right?
This old proverb means that in every situation, no matter how unpleasant, difficult or even painful it might seem, there is always something to take away, something of meaningful, something positive which help us and sometime force us to grow.
Have you ever wondered how some people are more resourceful than others? Especially when facing a difficult situation such as illness. What do they do differently that allows them to navigate the rough seas of the unknown successfully?
Here are some thoughts:
Seek knowledge – as the saying goes, knowledge is power. If your concern isn’t addressed by your doctor for whatever reason, ask a nurse, or another practitioner. Find the resources that help you learn about your options in a constructive and positive manner so you can make educated decisions.
Shift your focus – Probably the most effective way to divert fear and worry which naturally arise when being diagnosed, is to shift your mind’s focus from you to someone else or something else. A great way to do that is to offer support for other cancer patients or find something that resonant with you like an organization with a meaningful cause and join in.
Develop Resilience -in Wikipedia “Resilience” means “the positive capacity of people to cope with stress and adversity”. Developing the skill of resilience may take time and practice but you can take the following shortcut:
1. Accept that change is a part of living. Change can be viewed as an opportunity to grow in new directions. Letting go of what cannot be changed helps you focus on you can actually do.
2. Craft an action plan to negate your stress. Taking care of you is your number one priority, do what you enjoy most, feed your body, relax your mind and get plenty of rest.
3. Nurture a positive view of yourself. Prime your body and mind with positive self-talk, be kind and supportive of you, trust that you have appropriate resources to cope and remember that you are much more than just your body.
4. Set healthy personal boundaries. When you need space, ask for it. Those who love you may not know how to demonstrate their love and affection for you. Those who care for you do not know what treatment feels like, they do not know what it’s like to feel or be you. Help them by letting them know what is right for you.
If you have some great resources, please share with us.