Positive Mental Attitude - PMA. Can You Think Yourself Back to Full Health?
Is positive thinking enough to get you through a cancer diagnosis and through the treatment afterwards?
How is it possible to be positive when you feel bad?
When you've had that diagnosis that tells you that you've had cancer and quite possibly you may be going to die, how can you be really positive about that? I think it's a lot more than positive mental attitude that is going to get you through this.
The sad fact is we're all going to die sooner or later. Something we don’t like to think or talk about but it’s true.
For those of us with a cancer diagnosis, that realization has been brought into sharp focus. As soon as we get that diagnosis, there are lots of questions, How long have I got? what will my life be like? How can I stay positive when I've had this terrible thing that I've gone through?
You may be feeling devastated in so many ways, emotionally, physically, financially, and for many people absolutely exhausted from the cancer treatment that you've had.
So how is it possible to stay looking on the ‘bright side?’. What is there to be positive about? The worst possible scenario for many people, it just happened.
It also raises the thought to me, what about the people who don't survive cancer? Is that because they're not positive enough? And the language around cancer can be very emotive ‘you’re so strong’ ‘you’re a fighter’ ‘you’ll get through this, you are so positive’ ‘she fought a brave battle’
People say these things, often to be kind. Often because they don’t know what else to say. And to be honest, often there are no words. When people would say these things to me, I’d try and do my best buddhist smile, but inside I was often silently screaming.
‘What about the people that don't survive? Were they not brave enough? Did they not try hard enough? I’m not brave, I’ve got no freaking choice but to try and endure this’
I think we all want to thrive when treatment ends, don't we? But what is the best thing to do? There's so many things that you can start doing when, when you end your treatment, but what is the thing that's going to help you live your best life?
Is it changing your diet? Is it taking supplements, avoiding certain foods, eliminating sugar, dairy, meat? What should you do? Should you abstain from alcohol? Should you lose weight? Exercise more? Meditate? Be more sociable? Spend more time alone? Read more? Google less?
Now, while some of those things may be or maybe not be appropriate for you, they're not the biggest thing that you need to do.
In my opinion, if you are a cancer survivor, you will know that cancer equals fear. So really the most important thing you can do is to let go of that fear. Working on your mindset is the most important thing you can do for your recovery I believe. You see, cancer is all about fear.
It's everywhere you look. Cancer equals fear. But you weren't meant to live in a state of fear, that is not a space where you thrive. I talked before about stress and the bad effects that that can have on your body, and it's exactly the same with fear. That constant dread that you feel is not enabling you to live your best life.
And I'm not saying it's always easy, but as a cancer survivor, you're no different to anyone else, you don't want to live in all consuming fear. That's not life is it? That's not living. In order for you to completely recover and to stay well and stay healed, stay in remission, you need to step outside of this fear. You cannot allow it to take over your mind.
I know only too well that’s sometimes easier said than done. There's a lot of fear about recurrence or anxiety or the ‘poor me’, ‘why me?’ that some cancer survivors get sucked into. But it's all about how you break free. It's all about mindset. You can control your mind. It's not always easy, but you can do it, and that bit is just as important as the physical recovery of cancer – learning to master your mindset.
You may need to do some things that you've never done before, explore some new avenues. I’m going to share some of the things that worked for me, no judgement or preaching here – just pick and choose what resonates with you.
My experience is that a negative attitude won't get you into full wellness, and I don't think it will get you into enjoying life again.
So why don't we choose to be positive and let's make this journey more pleasurable? Life isn't fair. I understand that more than anybody. You know, bad things happen to good people. It's a cliché, but a true one, ‘You can't always choose the cards that you get dealt, but you can choose how you play them’
A bit cheesy, but it's so true. So yes, let's choose happiness. And one of the things that you can do to help cultivate an attitude of positivity is to focus on gratitude for what you do have. It can be really difficult sometimes when you maybe hurt or angry, but I have worked to create a habit of gratitude.
I've cultivated this habit because at one time I was in a cycle of absolute despair, and what helped me is a practice called Thinking and Thanking I started off having to make a conscious effort, but it's almost become subconscious now. Now every morning before I get out of bed, before I put my feet on the ground, I think about 10 things that I can be thankful for
It could be really small things, it could be big things. It doesn't matter. But just listing off 10 things in my head that I am really grateful for. I'm thankful for my family. I'm thankful I've got a roof over my head, I'm thankful I've got food in the fridge. I'm thankful that I've got some clothes to put on, whatever it is you have to be thankful for – just pause and say thank you.
You could say, ‘I'm thankful for my job’ You might not like your job, but if, if you've got a job, you can say ‘I'm thankful’ for whatever it is you've got around you. If you start looking for things to be grateful for, it focuses your mind and you know you cannot think about fear and gratitude at exactly the same time. Your brain literally cannot handle both at once.
So which one are you going to choose? It’s not about telling yourself to ‘count yourself lucky’. What I'm saying is by focusing on what's going right in your life and relaxing into that, you let your brain, and your subconscious mind let go of that fear. In that moment you are not living in fear. You are living in gratitude for your recovery.
You are living in gratitude for all the great things you've got in your life. and you are ready for more good things. So thinking and thanking is a great way to start the day, but it's also a great way to end the day. And I kind of think this is a little bit like when I was small, I was made to say my prayers, which was always a bit of a chore.
But it's a lovely way to end the day by thinking and thanking everything you are grateful for, whether you believe in God or not, or the universe, or you just want to thank your family or your friends. Thank yourself for coping. Or thank your medical team, whoever you want to thank, thinking and thanking for all the nice things that you've got in your life, everything that happened to you that day.
Again, could be small, small things, but try and get yourself into that space when before you're almost asleep, you're not quite awake, and you're not quite asleep, it’s when you are in a very suggestible state - theta brain waves (it’s what hypnotists use to hypnotise us) If you can go to bed with a smile on your face in that space, thinking and thanking, hopefully you might have a nice night's sleep.
And while you're in that deep, beautiful sleep, your amazing body will start repairing itself one little cell at a time.
Another tip I would give you is just to focus on one day at a time. So let's just focus on making today a good day, if you're feeling overwhelmed, just one day at a time, and do it the same again tomorrow And again, the day after.
Before you know it, you've had a good week. And if you keep on doing that one baby step in front of the other, before you know it, you've had a good month. So let's work on that one step at a time.
To me I’ve learned that positive thinking on it’s own is not the cure for cancer, unfortunately. But we're all on a journey and none of us know the twists and turns that these journeys are going to take.
So why not choose to live in gratitude? Why not choose to be grateful for what you've got? And as always, please reach out to me if you need help with. Because I'm going to go now and do my thinking and thanking.
Thank you for today. And one of the things that I'm grateful for is the power of the internet and the fact that I can speak to you now and I can connect with people. I have connected with a lovely community now of like-minded people.
When I finished cancer treatment, I thought there was something wrong with me because I didn't feel good. I felt alone. I felt lonely. I was depressed. And actually now I've connected with other people who I realize felt the same. And between us, I've learned some great strategies and some great tips and techniques for climbing out of that dark hole that I was in, and I'm now building a life that I love, a life that is full of joy and happiness.
It's not perfect because nobody's life is perfect, but actually, I'm so grateful for everything I've got in my life and I'm truly grateful for you for reading this.
Thank you so much, I’m here for you if you need anything
Take care. Stay safe, stay sane!
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