Attitudes and Cancer
One of the most important first steps to take once you receive a cancer
diagnosis is to digest it
emotionally. Cancer affects not only your body, but your emotions and mental
outlook as well. However, this is not to your detriment, as you can control
how you feel and what you think. Coming to terms with your illness, and
then developing a strong, positive mental armor to protect you throughout
the cancer journey is something that will be extremely helpful.
Control What You Can
Cancer can be overwhelming, especially if you feel as though you are not
in control of much. However, if you take a moment to think of what you
have true control over, you might be surprised at how long the list becomes.
You control how you think, what you feel, how and you want to communicate,
and how you spend your time when you are not receiving treatments. That’s
a lot, and the list will only grow as you spend more time brainstorming!
Focusing on what you can control greatly impacts your overall attitude
because it helps reinforce your power:
you are in charge of your complete self, and this includes how you mentally and emotionally to physical obstacles.
Engaging your willpower, “the ability to resist short-term gratification
in pursuit of long-term goals or objectives,” to focus on remaining
positive and the areas of life that you can control will increase your
overall mental strength and help you to take charge of how you think about
and respond to your cancer battle.
Positivity is not just a good practice to make into a habit – it
is scientifically proven to improve your overall life quality. Research
has revealed that “when you are experiencing positive emotions like
joy, contentment, and love, you will see more possibilities in your life.
These findings were among the first that suggested positive emotions broaden
your sense of possibility and open your mind up to more options.” Further, studies have shown that “positive emotions provide is an
enhanced ability to build skills and develop resources for use later in
life… [known] as the ‘broaden and build’ theory.”2 This theory entails that “positive emotions broaden your sense of
possibilities and open your mind, which in turn allows you to build new
skills and resources that can provide value in other areas of your life.”2
Therefore, it is important to adopt a positive attitude, as it is not as
‘just feel happy all the time’ as it seems. Rather, developing
a positive attitude takes time, practice, and mindfulness; it means taking
whatever situation may come your way and learning how to see and make
the best of it, even if you are naturally inclined to do the opposite.
As important as it is to be positive, expressing all of your emotions without
feeling as though you are being held back is even more important. This
is where it is important to have a loving support system that is there
for you unconditionally. Katherine Puckett, PhD, has observed that, “so
often I have heard a loved one say to a cancer patient who is crying,
‘Stop crying. You know you have to be positive... However, when
we make space for people to express all of their feelings, rather than
bottling them up inside, it is then easier for them to be optimistic.
It is OK to allow tears to flow — these can be a healthy release.”
Having a support system of loved ones - which can include family, friends,
co-workers, online communities, or other friendly faces you can rely on
– that you can rely on is essential. They help you to maintain your
positive outlook, but also to express all of your emotions fully. They
are a listening ear for you, a shoulder to cry on, and a source of hope
and love; they are there to help you be your best you as your progress
on your cancer journey. To learn more about support groups, click
CMN firmly believes in a comprehensive treatment plan, meaning we utilize
treatments that addresses and treats your physical, mental, and emotional
health; plans are customized to fit
you and your unique situation. To learn more about some of the treatments we
here. You can also contact our medical team
here; we are happy to assist you.
 “What You Need to Know about Willpower: The Psychological Science
American Psychological Association.
 Clear, James. “The Science of Positive Thinking: How Positive Thoughts
Build Your Skills, Boost Your Health, and Improve Your Work.”
The Huffington Post. 2013.
 “Fischer, Kristen. “Can a positive attitude cure cancer?”