It’s pretty tough to think about having a good attitude when you’re face-to-face with a breast cancer diagnosis, but I am here to say that “attitude is everything” applies to your breast cancer journey, too. It’s almost always shocking when you get the diagnosis. I know from my experience that the sooner you can get past the shock stage and move to a place of positive action, the better.
As I went through my journey, I kept some things in mind to keep the positive attitude as “up” as I could. Here are a few thoughts I wanted to share on the power of a positive mindset and attitude:
- Studies suggest that optimistic cancer patients have a better quality of life than those who are pessimistic and feel hopelessness (Schou, Ekeberg & Rauland, 2005)
- Carver et al., (1993) examined the ways women cope with treatment for early stage breast cancer and found that optimism was associated with a pattern of reported coping tactics that revolved around accepting the reality of the situation, placing as positive a light on the situation as possible, trying to relieve the situation with humor, and taking active steps to do whatever there was to be done.
- Cruess, Antoni, McGregor, et al. (2000) encouraged 34 women who had just undergone surgery with breast cancer to find meaning in the adversity. Results showed difference in cortisol; the treatment group who received behavior therapy showed lower level of this immune suppressing hormone in blood stream, than the control group.
The truth is, there are going to be some dark moments. I remember a few occasions of feeling sorry for myself. There were tears and feelings of hopelessness – it’s going to happen. The key is to not let it hang around. Acknowledge that things are pretty crappy right now, allow yourself a short pity party and then remind yourself that this is temporary. It will get better!
I believe that a positive attitude is one of your best weapons in this fight. It helps you stay open to treatment options. It allows you to enjoy your life while undergoing cancer treatments. And while a positive attitude alone isn't going to cure cancer, I really do believe it helps your body fight the cancer.