Are you a cancer warrior, or a cancer worrier?

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When I wrote this on a social media post back in July, it divided people (understandably so, at first glance). Of course the title isn’t meant to point the finger or chastise cancer patients for feeling anxious and afraid. Worry is a very natural and normal part of a cancer diagnosis. It’s acknowledging that worry, and what we do with it, that counts.

So I want to preface this blog, a deeper dive into the concept of cancer warrior vs cancer worrier, with an admission. I have been a worrier too!

Yes, I lived for many years with anxiety, and that’s partly why I do what I do. When I started discovering meaningful methods that helped me to live more freely and fully without the shackles of worry, I had to share them with others. That’s how Physiocare Holistics and Soul Aligned Wellness was born – integrating my holistic discoveries within my clinical knowledge and passion for caring for others.

Worrier vs warrior – why is it important?

When facing a cancer diagnosis (or any other serious illness or chronic condition), suffocating anxiety can quickly take over our daily thoughts. Over time this has a very deep and direct influence on our physical health and mental wellbeing.

  • Are you spending every minute of every day worrying?
  • Worrying about your next scan?
  • Worrying about your next doctor's appointment?
  • Worrying about test results or scans that haven't even taken place yet?
  • Worrying about money?
  • Worrying about the school holidays?
  • Wondering how you will entertain your children whilst your chemotherapy treatment continues?

Worrying is normal – especially when it comes to the fear and anxiety that accompanies a cancer diagnosis. It's important to process these worries and thoughts – and it's also important to recognise that worrying isn't helpful.

Worrying won't get you anywhere. Worrying simply drains your energy – in fact, worrying in itself is negative energy. And negative energy pulls us down with it and multiplies.

Negative energy keeps us stuck, feels constrictive, and is the exact opposite of your desire for wellness. What extensive scientific research on the mind-body connection tells us is that the more negative emotions and thoughts we harbour, the more we tend to feel physical effects on the body.

This might all appear obvious – and in reality, escaping the clutches of constant and all-consuming worry can feel impossible. So how do you actually do something about this constant stream of anxious thoughts entering your consciousness on a daily basis?

Taking responsibility

The direction to ‘take responsibility’ often has a negative energy attached to it – and actually, taking responsibility for ourselves and our emotions, how we feel and what we do, is an incredibly powerful and positive thing.

Negative feelings, thoughts and energy feel crippling because they feed off one another and quickly become all-consuming. And recognising that you can be in control of your own emotions and being free to take responsibility, shift your focus and feel better without knowing what’s next or having things all figured out allows us to feel lighter, calmer and happier.

Transforming worry into wellness

People who aren’t worried about something usually oversimplify it for those who are anxious about what may occur in the future. They say things like, ‘well it might never happen’ or ‘just take each day as it comes’ to help us feel better. And the truth is, these things are unknown, and mastering worry is learning to be okay with that, not pretending the worries aren’t a concern for us.

There are several strategies I recommend and share with my clients to help them navigate feelings of worry and anxiety with cancer. One thing that I and many of my clients find helpful is journaling – so I’m sharing a little tip with you today.

Treat yourself to a beautiful notebook and gorgeous pens and begin to write down your thoughts daily, witnessing yourself, giving yourself permission to sit in the negative for a short while. Next look for the positives and the things you can express gratitude and appreciation for, no matter how small. See if you can find even the tiniest thing in your mind, can you feel different if you looked at your situation through a different lens? Journal these positives too. Move your thoughts out of your head into your notebook. Your thoughts are safe here - you are safe to release the worry, right now.

Once you address the daily barrage of worry, it becomes a quieter voice in your head and a reduced influence in your day to day life. It doesn’t mean you’ll have a great day every day or that everything will be smooth sailing. But you’ll be free to be able to enjoy your life and be present and better able to deal with what comes your way without worrying about worrying!

You always have a choice

When you’re feeling worried, remind yourself of your responsibility and sovereignty over your own thoughts and mindset (or appoint a friend to help you at first, if you need a little support). You can choose to sit in this negative energy…or you can choose to take action!

It's okay to look for the positives when living with cancer. In fact, it’s more than okay – it’s essential. These subtle energy shifts, no matter how small, are your first step towards the wellness that you so desire. Thoughts are energy – and energy is everything!

Ready to say goodbye to the Worrier and activate your inner Warrior? Find out about working with me 1:1 or via group programmes such as Thrive here.