Coping with a cancer diagnosis, undergoing treatment and dealing with everything else that goes along with it can be overwhelming, to say the least. Experts say that learning to live in the present moment helps to reduce stress and focus on the happy, serene and positive aspects of your life.
This may seem to be easier said than done, but with a little effort it can become second nature for you. Learn some small and simple steps you can take to live more mindfully and find peace in the midst of treatments, checkups and worries.
1. Stop Overthinking
Loosen up and let go. Don’t think about how you should be behaving or what someone watching you might think. If something is funny, throw your head back and laugh. If the music moves you, get up and dance. Sing along with the radio, even if you can’t carry a tune.
2. Savor Small Things
When you sit down for a cup of coffee in the morning, inhale deeply and enjoy the aroma before sipping it slowly to really relish the flavor. Notice the notes of your children’s giggles. Absorb the warmth of your spouse’s smile, the exuberance of the birds singing in your yard or the pure indulgence of a warm bath after a long day.
3. Go With the Flow
Things do not always go as planned and it’s easy to feel thrown off by spur-of-the-moment changes. Sometimes, though, unexpected events can turn out to be some of the most meaningful and memorable ones. Try to roll with changes and unscheduled happenings. Look at them as opportunities for something wonderful to occur.
4. Accept What You Cannot Change
Of course, it is perfectly normal for your emotions to run the gamut when bad things happen. Trying to dodge and ignore those ugly feelings is a common coping mechanism. Rather than avoiding painful issues, try walking towards them –no matter how slowly. Allowing yourself to feel those emotions will lessen much of the anxiety that comes with them and enable you to focus on the here and now.
5. Set a Time to Worry
It’s foolish to tell anyone, “Just don’t worry.” Having anxieties and concerns is natural and even necessary for survival. What you can do is make a daily worrying appointment with yourself. Keep a journal just for this purpose. Set a timer for 15 to 30 minutes at your scheduled time and write every worry that comes to mind until time is up. When anxious thoughts pop into your head at any other time, you can remind yourself that you will have the chance to worry about it later.
6. Be Still
Your life is likely full of things you have to do as well as things you feel pressured to do. Spending time in silence can help refine your reception to the world around you, which makes it easier to be mindful of the present all the time. Spend some time each day in prayer, meditation or simply listening quietly to your surroundings and tuning in to your own heartbeat, breathing and thoughts.
Holding a grudge against a person, a situation or the universe in general limits your ability to live mindfully. It can even be bad for your health. Forgiveness can definitely be difficult, but when you view it as a gift to yourself, you can begin to let go of feelings of anger and resentment.
Becoming free of negativity and immersed in your own, wonderful, present life is one of the most loving things you can do for yourself. And you deserve it.