When it comes to cancer there’s often a lot of mumbling about having to “stay positive”. This aspect of mind and emotion control is given a lot of gravitas.
It’s interesting to note that the most committed advocates of this “positive or die” mentality have never actually had cancer. Because if they had, they’d realise a) it’s absolutely not that easy, which is very much related to fact b) a lot of the time you’re actually sh*& scared!
Holy crap, you’ve just been staring down the barrel of a gun at a bullet with your name on it! And then some buffoon tells you that the most important thing you can do is to “stay positive”!
You really want to tell them to p*^% off, but a little teeny part of you is worried in case its actually true, and if you don’t “think the right thoughts” often enough then you’ll be in all sorts of trouble.
The problem of course, is that it’s impossible to stop those creeping very-non-positive-doubts popping in your mind. Or that sinking feeling deep in your belly.
Ahhh, thank the universe for the soothing simplicity of my old statistical friends - the numbers. The reliability of science just soothes all that crazy business away like a trainspotting crack hit of goodness.
Numbers are beautiful. I’ve loved them ever since I was 16 and Mrs Woodhouse made me trudge back and forth to her house on a Sunday, clutching my formula of x’s and y’s trying to equal z’s. Back and forth I grumpily went until - like suddenly slipping into nirvana - their simple, elegant logic was revealed. And I was hooked.
Numbers are as reliable as the sun rising. They don’t depend on your mood that day, or whether you view them positively or not. They reflect the item they are applied to. Apply it on a Monday, apply it in Russia, apply it on the moon. They still come out the same.
Even though you feel scared and anxious, and wonder if eating more vegetables will really make a difference, it doesn’t matter what you think because you can look at the research and see that a load of scientists have found that it does make a difference*. Whether you believe in it or not. It doesn’t matter if your thoughts are for or against broccoli, they don’t change the properties of broccoli.
Just like gravity holds us to the earth whether we believe in it or not. We don’t need a positive attitude or a grateful mood to make gravity work. It just does.
What this means is you can do something nourishing and useful for yourself and your health, without having to be responsible for every thought you feel and every emotion you have. What a relief!
It’s actually entirely irrelevant what you happen to be thinking about as you do some exercise (which just for the record will be reducing your risk of breast cancer recurrence by 24%, breast cancer death by 34%, and your risk of any cause of death by 41%**). You just do it anyway, because those stats rather convincingly tell you it’s worth it too.
You don’t have to do it positively, gratefully or joyfully. You could do it grumpily, grudgingly and resentfully, it will still help you.
And weirdly enough, over time you do actually start feeling more positive. Not by forcing or coercing yourself to think or feel a certain way, but because Mrs Woodhouse made you understand statistical significance.
And then you read some studies about some things that can influence your health. Things that you can have some control over.
And then you go and take some action.
And by heck, taking some action feels goooooood!
If you’ve finished cancer treatment recently, you might be noticing that moving forward isn’t as straight forward as you expected.
In fact it can sometimes feel like you’re standing on the edge of a void and the future is hazy, or blank, or just plain dark. That can feel scary.
I know because I’ve been there, but the good news is that you can take control back over your life and body again and I created Life 2.0 to show you how. The first Life 2.0 - how to live life after cancer treatment course finished last year, it was huge success and we’re planning more over the coming months. If you’d like to find out more then click here.
Kathy who was on the last course gave this feedback:
“This course has helped with my sleep and work life. I am happier, feel healthier and my energy levels have really picked up. Do it! It's definitely been productive in moving on after cancer for me.“
For my fellow science nerds!
*Just for the record plenty of science has shown the importance of vegetables in reducing cancer risk. Here are just a few!
**Among breast cancer survivors, physical activity after diagnosis has consistently been associated with reduced risk of breast cancer recurrence and breast cancer-specific mortality. A recent meta-analysis demonstrated that post-diagnosis exercise was associated with a 34% lower risk of breast cancer deaths, a 41% lower risk of all-cause mortality, and a 24% lower risk of breast cancer recurrence.
Want help to move forward after cancer treatment? Then sign up to Life 2.0 and get back to living life!
Ready for change, but don't know how:
Health coach, Mindfulness teacher, Mother, Bee Pollen consumer. "You want health? Well, health costs, and right here is where you start paying in sweat" (tee hee - actually its really rather pleasurable and fun!)