You have just been diagnosed with cancer. All of the sudden it seems as if the rug has been pulled out from under you. Perhaps the cancer diagnosis is new and you are caught up in a whirlwind of panic, fear, and anger (all perfectly normal reactions to such a situation, by the way). But then there are also practical decisions related to treatment that need to be made quickly, according to your doctor − putting even more pressure on your already stressed existence. In the midst of all this turmoil, how can you possibly see your diagnosis as a GIFT?
The real question is… How can you afford not to?
A Positive Attitude Can Help Fight Disease
The jury is still out as to whether or not being an optimist is inherently a product of nature or nurture. What is known for sure is that keeping a positive attitude when life challenges arise can be learned. If you are facing a health crisis, this is a skill you want to know about. Study after study has proven that those who learn how to regulate emotions and manage stress responses tend to lead longer and healthier lives overall.
A study over two decades, led by researchers in the Department of Psychology at the University of London, initially surveyed over 5,700 middle-aged people. Fifteen years later, they found that those who were able to “self-regulate” (i.e. able to manage emotions, especially in times of stress) were 50 times more likely to be alive and healthy, without chronic disease, compared to those with the lowest amount of stress management skills.
Another study conducted by the journal of the American Psychological Association found that those who maintained optimism overall had higher number of immune system T Cells.
And a similar study found that men with HIV who displayed positive attitudes had a significantly greater ability to ward off infection as opposed to those who had a more negative attitude.
“We are coming to understand health not as the absence of disease but rather as the process by which individuals maintain their sense of coherence (i.e. sense that life is comprehensible, manageable, and meaningful) and ability to function in the face of challenges in themselves and their relationships with their environment,” says pioneering researcher Dr. Rollin McCraty of the Heart Math Institute.
3 Gifts of Cancer (Ways to Move from Negative to Positive After Being Diagnosed With Cancer )
Here are 3 ways you can move into a more positive space in regards to your cancer diagnosis and some solid reasons (backed by science, of course) why seeing your cancer with at least neutral-colored glasses may be one of the best things you can do on your healing journey.
#1 – The Gift of Support. If you have recently received a cancer diagnosis, you have probably already had your share of doctors’ visits. Believe me, there will be more, with lots of “urgent calls to action” from very concerned doctors, especially if they are in the conventional setting. There will be long diagnosis explanations, courses of action, and timelines and opinions from health professionals as well as concerned loved ones.
Dealing with a cancer diagnosis is enough of a stressor; please don’t consider doing it alone. Getting the help and support of loved ones, support groups, and friends who will really listen can be a saving grace. This is especially so for those who can also be your advocate − your “eyes and ears” when you are just too worn or feeling overwhelmed.
Caring support, and especially group support, may also increase your chances of healing from cancer. Several studies have shown that those who have a strong social network, especially in the form of spiritual support such as being a part of a church group, have a longer life expectancy. And trusting in others may also bring you new friends as well as a deeper closeness to those you care about the most.
#2 – The Gift of Personal Reflection. A cancer diagnosis can be a chance to dive into deep personal reflection about your life in general and your health in particular. After all, this is YOUR body and experience. You are the ultimate decision-maker! I don’t recommend burying your head in the sand or choosing inaction based on fear or paralysis. You have the right (and I would even say the responsibility) to take a moment or an hour or even a whole day when necessary in order to reflect on what is going on, how you are feeling about it, and the best course of action for YOU.
Others, especially conventional doctors, may attempt to force you into what they think would be the “best course of action.” If you are a regular reader of the Truth About Cancer blog, however, you probably already know that there are literally hundreds of ways to approach cancer other than conventional methods.
Reflection first requires calm, however. When you are under a high level of stress, especially over the course of several days, weeks, or months, remember that the ongoing surge of stress hormones may begin to affect your decision-making abilities.
When starting out on any concentrated reflective period, take some time to do a little self-care first in order to get your stress level down. Take a long stroll in nature. Soak in a bath, watch a funny movie, or do some Tapping. Then set a timer for twenty minutes and journal about how you are feeling about your cancer diagnosis. You can also verbalize this into a recorder or sit with a trusted friend. After you have taken care of your body and your mind and are feeling calm, then (and only then) can you begin to review those doctor’s notes, size up the options at hand, and get a sense of how you would like to proceed.
Be sure to write down any questions you may have for your doctor or other healthcare providers as you reflect. And remember − you don’t have to have all the answers right away. More than likely, however, a period of calm reflection will at least allow you to move in the direction of what feels right for you.
#3 – The Gift of Empowerment. Taking charge of your internal environment, who you let into the inner circle of your healing journey, and which course of action to take in regards to your health can only lead to one glorious destination − total health empowerment.
And again, as studies have proven, when we humans feel that we are in control of our own destiny, possibilities open up to us. We feel more alive and therefore we become more alive. In turn, our bodies respond by kicking in the healing responses that can lead to true cancer healing.
In the midst of the turmoil of a cancer diagnosis, is there any way to possibly see your diagnosis as a gift?
Keeping a positive attitude when life challenges arise can be learned. This is a skill you want to know about if you are facing a health crisis.
Multiple studies have shown that those who learn how to regulate emotions and manage stress responses tend to lead longer and healthier lives overall.
Here are 3 ways you can move into a more positive space in regards to your cancer diagnosis:
- The Gift of Support. Caring support, and especially group support, may also increase your chances of healing from cancer. Several studies have shown that those who have a strong social network have a longer life expectancy. Trusting in others may also bring you new friends as well as a deeper closeness to those you care about the most.
- The Gift of Personal Reflection. A cancer diagnosis can be a chance to dive into deep personal reflection about your life in general and your health in particular.
- The Gift of Empowerment. Taking charge of your internal environment, who you let into the inner circle of your healing journey, and which course of action to take in regards to your health leads to total health empowerment. When humans feel we are in control of our own destiny, possibilities open up to us.