A cancer diagnosis is a life-changing moment that brings you bluntly face-to-face with your own mortality. Cancer treatments are more effective and less intrusive than ever, but they still turn your life upside-down — medically, financially, socially and emotionally.
Anxiety comes first. The mind starts running automated scripts reminding you of everything you should worry about and all the things that could go wrong. You might blame the cancer for, “giving me these thoughts,” but how you stress is the result of mental patterns acquired over years, not of the cancer. With training you can calm the anxiety, find some peace and extend it.
Friends and loved ones are affected by your diagnosis too, sometimes dramatically, but often don’t know how to express it. They may feel guilty for being well. Or, afraid of saying the wrong thing. They may even be afraid of you, because in their minds you and the scary c-word are now one. Even though you’re the patient in need of love and support, it may be up to you to help them through their fears, so you can talk openly about what you’re going through. Mindful communication is a powerful, effective tool to facilitate this.
If you’re being treated for cancer, you need all the courage you can summon up. Some days however, it’s hard to find. Mindfulness training helps you develop courage as an interactive mental factor that depends on other factors such as peace, balance, self-compassion, discernment and integrity.