Finding Hope Amongst a Cancer Diagnosis
When you’re told you have cancer, it can feel as if all hope is lost. Your life has been completely transformed and there is no way to go back to the way things were. A cancer diagnoses shifts your outlook on life but if you give yourself the hope to see beyond the darkness, you can transform your mindset for the future.
What is Hope?
When you have hope, you believe that something good will happen despite that “hope” being uncertain and not definite to happen. Therefore, you take each action that you think will positively impact you in the future. Hope is a type of trust, and when you hope for something optimistic to happen, you offer yourself a sense of peace in knowing that things could work out in your favor. What hope is not is being tied to something or an idea, because when the outcome is unfavorable, you will get upset and have negative thoughts.
For example, hope is not expecting to win the lottery the next time you play. It’s not an absolute that is tied to one thing; rather, hope is a feeling, a belief that something will change for the better.
What are the benefits of hope?
There is a long list of benefits when it comes to being hopeful:
- Feelings of overall positivity and optimism
- Improves your immune system
- Increased control over your emotions
- Less stress and anxiety (this is especially important when dealing with cancer)
- More confidence and self-worth
- Better relationship with life and people because you are more optimistic
- May lead to a faster recovery—hopefulness & happiness may increase levels of dopamine, endorphins, and other hormones that aid in healing are released, providing you with more energy.
- Increased productivity and creativity
You’re probably wondering, “Am I hopeful?”
Read the statements below and ask yourself “Do I agree?”
- I see failure as a learning opportunity to help change my future and do better.
- I face challenges with positivity and have an ability to deal with them and problem solve.
- I live in the present moment, with fewer regrets about the past and concerns about the future.
- I am grateful for the life I live and the people around me.
- I am willing to try new experiences to learn what I like and don’t like.
If you found yourself relating to the statements above or
believe you need to work on your hope, here are some
exercises to help you improve your outlook:
Surround yourself with hopeful, optimistic people– you are who you surround yourself with and if those people are positive about aspects of their life, you will find yourself doing the same.
- Do something you enjoy- it could be anything but do it often. This will help to keep you in a positive frame of mind.
- Remember times with you were happy- Remember occasions when you were joyful, whether it was when you got a new job, when you won something, you worked really hard for, or when you were at peace being among family and friends. Whatever it is, going back and thinking about those moments will help you stay optimistic while you face challenges.
- Set Goals and create a plan to achieve them- Doing so will boost your hopefulness as you work toward these goals. Make sure to be persistent and don’t give up and have patience when things don’t always go your way. It’s not a win or lose—it’s a win or learn.
- Create a gratitude list- what are you thankful for? Make a list and write it down. It helps to reference this list when you are going through a hard time. Add to that list every time you think of something you are grateful for.
- Talk to other people who are in your situation- Lastly, find a community who understands what you are going through. Seeing and talking to others who are fighting and overcoming cancer, physically and mentally will help you stay motivated and hopeful.
We would like to know in the comments below what (or who) has helped you keep the hope alive during the most difficult times in your life.