There can be few things scarier than being diagnosed with Cancer, I still remember when my mum was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer and given a few years at best to live. As a family we functioned, but in shock and with an almost paralysing sense of fear dragging me down everytime I awoke in the morning. I have regrets over that time because I did wrong, but it was a long a time ago and I lacked the knowledge I have now.
So if I could turn back time what would I do differently? In truth I believe there are many things that contribute towards self healing and being healthy, but I would start with these:
Firstly I believe hope is the most important thing to foster. So watch this now.
Doctors seem paranoid about this and and scared of giving false hope, personally I would be more scared of living without hope because studies have shown that when it comes to beating cancer even ‘denial’ is better than the stoic acceptance that some people think you should have. Hope is crucial because without hope what is the point of doing anything?
I would recommend reading books like: Radical Remission, How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body, You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter etc to read about stories of how other people have survived against the odds and the theories behind how it maybe possible. Once you become open to the possibility that you can survive and thrive in spite of a prognosis to the contrary, you may be surprised at how many others have done so too and maybe you can be one of them. Here is the story on Youtube of one chap who did not consciously do anything, but still survived against the odds.
When you open your mind there is so much out there, and some it from forward thinking Doctors, like that talk from Doctor Lissa Rankin which I find amazingly inspirational.
Secondly it is vital to get into the right state of mind to heal by acknowledging and reducing any fears, stresses or negative beliefs, while promoting positive thoughts and emotions. This is an area that I now specialise in because I know how important it is to regaining health. In simple terms every thought you have, conscious or subconscious starts as an electrical impulse, then creates chemical messengers that flood every cell in your body. Telling your cells which genes to switch on and off, which immune cells to create etc. There are now plenty of studies linking emotions like anger, and fear with various illness and it is well understood that stress or the fight or flight response drastically changes our biological systems which long term have a negative effect on our bodies. So it is vital that you get help to let these go. Find someone with a good reputation, who resonates with you, that can offer techniques such as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) that really do help you let to go of unhelpful thoughts.
As every thought you have does result in chemical messengers that flood every cell in your body, so replacing your fears with more positive thoughts is also important. Starting a gratitude diary may seem tough after a diagnosis of cancer, but blogger Gabi MacEwan credits the practice to her survival and it is a good way to foster positive emotions. Read more in my post: Three Strategies for Gratitude If Your Life is Tough.
Practising a daily meditation/self hypnosis to encourage your body to heal is also vital and there are many such tracks available commercially. Email me if you would like one of mine to listen to.
Thirdly, start eating the right foods! This will probably involve you forgetting everything you have previously been told from ‘authority’ figures, but the evidence is there for doing so. Many people attribute changes to nutrition, often drastic changes, as being responsible for beating cancer. One of those I stumbled across recently is Fred Hatfield, who was given three months to live when he came across the idea that adopting a ‘ketogenic’ (high fat) diet would help him. The story I came across was written a year after he adopted that way of eating and he was still free of cancer. Others like Kriss Carr have found a diet of plant based nutrition has helped them. So here is the dilemma, how should you eat to beat cancer?
Now although initially these may look like drastically different approaches, which they are, if you look at the detail there are many similarities. So while one approach predominately involves starving the cancer sells of their primary energy source and the other predominately involves increasing anti-cancer vegetables, they both have similarities in what is avoided (and I have posted about that before).
In 1931, the Nobel Prize was awarded to Dr. Otto Warburg, who discovered that cancer cells and malignant tumours tend to feed on sugar (glucose and fructose). This theory has been expanded upon by others such as Dr Seyfried and Dr. Dominic D’Agostino and is the basis of using a diet that is high in fat, causing the body to use fat derived ketones for energy. As cancer cells cannot use ketones they die, while the rest of the body functions well, if not better on ketones than glucose.
So while diets like Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet do not aim at ketone generation, many of the meals involve only sugar derived from carbohydrates, which when combined with increasing the intake of vegetables known to be beneficial in fighting cancer, may be enough for you to beat the cancer.
However, after doing a lot of research into healthy eating I would say that the ketogenic approach seems to make more sense and that is what I now recommend. Here are lots of resources you may find useful.
To Round Up:
Other people have survived and thrived and you could be one of them. Nurture your hope and do what ever it takes to believe that you can survive and thrive too. Your thoughts and emotions are vital to your bodies ability to heal and fight cancer, get the help you need to let go of fears and develop a rock solid vision of a healthy happy you. Ditch the standard western diet and follow a ketogenic diet.
If you would like to know more please see my website.
These days I often introduce the idea of a Gratitude Journal by telling the story of Gabi MacEwan. An inspirational lady who decided to start practising gratitude after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. As she says:
“I don’t live in a constant state of bliss. Sometimes I’m frustrated, disillusioned and sad, but I heartily recommend the cumulative effect of noticing and noting the moments of delight, relief or humour each day.”
So with that recommendation I want to give you some strategies for keeping the gratitude alive when life sucks, because being told to keep a Gratitude Journal when you feel your life is going down the pan, things look bleak and your feeling low can be a big ‘ask’. It’s times like this that doing a gratitude journal can be really tough. I’ve had clients say there was just nothing in their day that they felt grateful for, some have said they were writing the same old things and grew tired of the ‘chore’. Ironically of course when life is unfairly hard is exactly when you benefit from the practice the most.
What is this About?
I recently posted on the benefits of keeping a gratitude journal, but as with many good habits you may find yourself too busy to do it when you are feeling good, and too tough when your not. So if you are like some of my original clients, you will keep a journal for a few days and then the practice of being grateful will begin to slide.
The answer is to make it habit and for that happen you need to commit to doing the practice until it becomes a subconscious reaction to think of things you are grateful for. Some people say it takes 21 days to make a habit stick, others 66, whoever is right, you will probably benefit from a strategy and support to really embed this new behaviour and way of thinking.
So having some strategies and support will help you make this positive activity a habit and today I want to focus on one of those strategies that makes keeping a gratefulness journal easy.
Why is this Important?
Because lets face it, there are times when life sucks! Whatever the reason for the ‘suckyness’, the simple act of writing down (or saying out-loud) the things for which we’re grateful gives benefits including better sleep, fewer symptoms of illness, and more happiness among adults and kids alike. Brilliant medicine when life feels like it is going down the pan and things looks bleak.
How do I Use This?
Personally I find that buying a nice journal helped me to keep me committed to the task and you may want to do the same thing. Make a conscious choice now and commit to experiencing more gratitude in your life. Then try these strategies:
- Set aside some time so you can allow yourself the opportunity to really notice the depth of your gratitude. Take time to relish and savour the feelings.
- Pick one person you know and just take time to allow all of the good reasons for having them in your life surface into your consciousness. Whenever possible focus on people and dogs in your life. Apparently whether we think of our pet dogs or children the same area of our brains are activated. So being grateful for your dog is ok!
- Go into depth – Elaborating in detail about a particular thing for which you’re grateful carries more benefits than a superficial list of many things.
If you can think of these things in terms of gifts so much the better, according to Robert Emmons, one of the world’s leading experts on the science of gratitude. His advice is:
“Be aware of your feelings and how you “relish” and “savor” this gift in your imagination. Take the time to be especially aware of the depth of your gratitude.”
I wonder if you maybe surprised at what you have been grateful for today?
The power of gratitude
Gabi MacEwan Blog: Losing the Will To Die
Is your mind busy when it’s time to rest and sleep? Do you have problems switching off at bedtime? Mind active and won’t slow down? Do you toss and turn because your thoughts won’t let you rest?
If that image of being too restless to sleep sounds like you, you have a lot in common with many of the people I help and there is a good chance your flight or fight response is active.
So lets talk about one way to switch off the fight or flight response and quieten the mind down at bedtime. There are many ways to achieve this, and one I really like is to keep a gratitude journal.
Spending a few minutes each night to think about things you are really grateful for is a great way to calm the mind and body and trigger the relaxation response. Focusing on the things you have been grateful for during the day will help you to let go of the things that were worrying you and help you get a good nights sleep.
But you do need to do it properly; robotically going through things you think you should be grateful for is not the same! If you are aware of the work of Candace Pert, you will know that your thoughts trigger the release of chemicals that flood the body, but that does not really happen if you think the thoughts in a detached fashion. You need to think the thoughts with your heart too.
Why is this Important?
It is really important that the fight or flight response is turned off and the relaxation response is triggered for sleep. Normally during sleep our bodies and minds should go through cycles of healing and repair, but these cycles are associated with being in a relaxed state. When we are stressed they are put on hold and your body does not heal and repair as it should.
So if you want to be healthy and happy triggering the relaxation response just before sleep will help.
It seems odd to think we can be stressed while sleeping, but studies have shown that some people, like those with CFS/ME, do actually stay stressed during their sleep. So spending a few minutes contemplating what you are grateful for or what has gone well during the day is one way to switch off the fight or flight response.
Gratitude is great because it focuses you on what you have, not what you want or what you would like. I buy a nice little note pad for those that take part in my workshops, so they can use it as a journal and I urge you to buy something special too. Having a nice book to write in and maybe a nice pen will make the activity special and keep you motivated.
How do I Use This?
Personally I would prefer a paper based journal as modern technology like phones tend to keep us stimulated, alert and possibly stressed. Much better to create your own paper based journal which can become a treasure trove of positivity for you, as it fills with things that you have been grateful for. Something like this is ideal.
Spend a little bit of time composing your thoughts and then write down what you have been grateful for today. Feel the feelings as deeply as possible with your heart.
One lady I was talking too, said how truly grateful she felt for the home she lived in, even though it was nowhere near as nice as she would like. This was something she had moaned about and criticised until hearing of a tragedy the other side of the world where people had lost their homes and were spending night outside. Another lady spent ages trying to think of something only to realise she was grateful for the comfortable warm bed she was laying in.
Another chap said he thought of a different person he knew each night, spending time remembering how they have or had positively contributed to his life. It’s a good thing to vary what you write to keep it fresh and relevant.
Sometimes when times are tough, or we are busy and tired it is easy to answer with our head only. You know what I mean, when you say something but it does not have that emotional resonance, that physical sensation that lets you know you have felt something with your heart. Notice the difference between thinking what you are grateful for and feeling it with your heart. It can help to place your hand on your heart and allow the thoughts of gratitude to flow from there.
I wonder if you maybe surprised at what you have been grateful for today?
The power of gratitude