I wrote this article as one of my demo pieces for a new freelance writing gig. While the strategies were written with a chronic illness in mind, the truth is, these practices can be applied to living a happier life in general.
Five Ways to Find Joy While Living with Cancer
Being diagnosed with cancer, alters your life in ways that unless others have experienced it, they will not understand. Facing ones mortality, going through treatment, and finding peace in just everyday life can be a challenge, but there are ways to find happiness while living with cancer. If you can, “find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” Here are five easy ways to do just that.
1. Spend 10-20 minutes a day in meditation, stillness or quiet time. Finding time to still your mind, and to let go of all thoughts pertaining to the diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of your disease is so important. Find a quiet place, where you will not be disturbed, set a timer for 10-20 minutes, and just sit. Pick a sacred word that you can focus, such as peace, healing, love, and just repeat it mentally to yourself as you quiet your mind. If you find that your mind is wondering, gently bring it back to your sacred word. This is the “Be Still” practice that we all crave.
2. Cultivate gratitude. I know it sounds crazy to be thankful while dealing with cancer, but this practice of gratitude has deep implications for your healing, both mentally and physically, if you embrace it. Here we do not ask you to be thankful for the disease but to find appreciation in the life that surrounds you. Start a journal and every day either as soon as you get up in the morning or before you go to bed at night, write down five things you are thankful for. These things can range from being thankful for a good test result to enjoying a cup of hot green tea. Everything counts when you are cultivating gratitude, and once you start this as a daily practice, you will start to go about your day looking for things to be thankful for.
3. Know your worth. Your life has value. You were meant to be completely healed and whole. You have a purpose and meaning in this life. You have a story that needs to be told. As you go through your day, look for one way that you can bring or add value to someone’s life. It could be as simple as a smile, opening a door for a young mom who has her hands full with young ones, or sending a handwritten letter to your 8th grade teacher, thanking him/her for the impact they had in your life. When you find simple ways to add value to someone else’s life, you become aware of your own value. Loving yourself extends to loving others.
4. Living in the present. Everyday becomes a new gift to be unwrapped. Every moment a chance to be thankful and to live life to its fullest. whether it is spending time with a loved one, or being spontaneous and going out for that ice cream cone in the midst of a rain storm, these moments are to be valued. Take time to go for walks, cook your favorite meal, enjoy a friends company with no technology to pull your attention away. As you do these things, you will notice that the world around you gets brighter, with color and life.
5. Drama Free Living. One of the best pieces of advice I received right after I was diagnosed with cancer was this; Get rid of the drama. We all have heard stress can be toxic to our bodies, so while you are on this journey of healing, it is important that you partner with your healing and keep toxic things out. This may mean, mentally going through your list of friends and relationships that bring anxiety and tension in your life and disengaging from them for a time. Right now, your health and mental well being is your “number one” priority and you have to be your best advocate. ‘NO’ becomes your love language as you set boundaries for yourself in what and who brings you joy and what and who doesn’t.
Take this list and put into action just one thing today. The more you practice them, the more it becomes a habit, and after a time you will find that these things have become a natural part of your life.
I would love to hear what practices you use to find PEACE in your everyday life, whether you are dealing with a chronic illness or not.
Leave me a comment.
Have a great day,
If you think someone might benefit from this article, would you mind sharing it. I believe the principals and practices are important for everyone.
Here is a tutorial on how to make your own handmade gratitude journal.