Frame Your Focus

Cancer survivors, us included, often speak about fighting cancer. This is, of course, because we all hate cancer and work and wish for the day that this horrible disease is no longer able to harm us.

Though the idea of embracing the fight can be powerful and galvanizing, we’ve also found that the moments we are able to envision what we do want – health, physical and mental well-being—rather than on what we don’t want – cancer – we feel even stronger and more peaceful. For example, you might try creating a personal, positive affirmation or mantra, such as “Every day in every way my body is getting healthier.” Or “I am brave, strong and full of life. My body, mind and spirit are in balance.”

Kendall: This is something I have never shared with anyone besides a couple of my closest people, but I created a mantra before I was even diagnosed with cancer – when scans were showing something wasn’t right and my doctor said it could be cancer (yikes!). I was terrified and I needed something positive and grounding on which to focus. So, I am now sharing with you these very special words that helped me through a very difficult time. Here was my mantra:

I am young, healthy and strong.

I am going to live a long, healthy, happy life.

I am going to live until I’m at least 90! :)

This is just a bump in the road.

We will take care of it and move on.

And while there were plenty of times and situations that made me feel that this mantra may not be realistic, it offered me a strong, powerful sense of hope and a positive focus. I typed up these words, printed them and kept them on a little piece of paper in my wallet that I always carried with me. I would take it out and look at it during chemo treatments, while prepping mentally for surgery, before scans and scan results and just about anytime I felt scared. And, let me tell you – it helped! Saying the words aloud made them seem as if they had to be the truth. It made me feel stronger, determined and happier.

As hard as it can be, especially immediately post-diagnosis, we would encourage you to try this approach to framing your focus and see if shifting your thoughts from what you don’t want to what you do want make a difference.

What is YOUR mantra?