Hold On To Hope, Humour And Optimism

HOPE can open your mind up to considering a wide range of possibilities. Consider how people feel when they have been given the diagnosis of something such as cancer. A friend of mine had this type of devastating news some years ago. She died a number of years later whilst in her early forties. For the purposes of this article, I will refer to her as Anne.
I remember how I felt when I first went to visit Anne at home after she had got the news. I felt sad, angry, disappointed, and anxious.

I could not imagine how I would have managed to cope with what I saw as overwhelming and ultimately out of my CONTROL, had I been in her position.

I am aware that what I saw was only snapshots of how she was coping, and that family may have been presented at times with a very different picture .Anne put me at my ease. One of the first comments she made was that she saw this as an OPPORTUNITY for her to take a look at how she was living her life and make CHANGES.


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Anne took PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for finding out as much as she could about her cancer and treatment options and implications of particular choices. She knew at that stage what would be acceptable to her and knew at what time she would resist fighting things further.-A very personal decision.

She had thought about how her job fitted in with her PERSONAL VALUES and how it affected her stress levels and family life and had spoken with her husband about what changes could be made here and on what timescale. Methods of cooking, nutritional value of food, cooking styles and best types of pots to use. Anne said that she had been given a chance to do things differently and there was therefore a POSITIVE aspect to her diagnosis
She continued to have a PURPOSE. That was to live as long as possible, with as much quality as she could and to OPTIMISE the length of time she could be around for her children. She continued to have GOALS and therefore it was necessary to PLAN ahead to increase chances of ACHIEVEMENT.

HOPE motivated her to keep on living for as long as possible.

Anne experienced an increased value from what she had in life and for what most of us take for granted on a daily basis. Small things became more significant to her. At the same time, she had down spells when small things caused distress which she would normally have been able to shrug off. She gained more from all of her close relationships and made the most of each day. Simple things gave her pleasure.
When she had “blown up” because of a course of steroids, it felt right for her not to see friends as she didn’t want to be seen like this. This was the correct decision at that time for her and she was strong enough to ASSERT herself and see it as her right to say “no, I don’t want to see anyone just now.” She was true to herself.

With HOPE comes a POSITIVE attitude.

OPTIMISM makes people more likely to SUCCEED.
OPTIMISM makes you feel that you are in CONTROL.
OPTIMISM boosts the IMMUNE system.
OPTIMISTS tend to be more structured.
OPTIMISTS stick to regimes, programmes more frequently so therefore act upon advice of eg doctors.
When things go wrong, OPTIMISTS are less likely to give up.
OPTIMISTS look for the lessons to be learnt from situations.
OPTIMISTS see CHALLENGES as opposed to problems.
OPTIMISTS surround themselves with other people, reduce personal stress and boost their immune systems.

OPTIMISTS put themselves in a better position to get good social support, encouragement and feedback. They are also more likely to become aware at an earlier stage if things are going wrong.
OPTIMISTIC people settle for REALISTIC OPTIONS and strive for what they want to achieve.


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REMEMBER, OPTIMISTS need to not just feel OPTIMISTIC, but also take RESPONSIBILITY for applying this to their lives, in terms of THOUGHTS, ATTITUDES, and ACTION!

HUMOUR can help to diffuse situations. Anne used this strategy a lot to cope with her hair loss when on chemotherapy and when a psychologist at the hospital had been foolish enough to ask her if she was concerned about her sexuality and her relationship with her husband following major surgery.

Her recounting of this still makes me laugh now! (Unfortunately it is not something I could consider putting down on paper.)

HUMOUR makes you LAUGH and helps to get things into perspective.
HUMOUR is more likely to get you SUPPORT from others than moaning.
Try LAUGHING and being anxious at the same time, IT’S IMPOSSIBLE!
HUMOUR encourages people to want to be around you.

Try and look for the AMUSING aspects in situations.
MUSIC, LIGHT HEARTED reading, COMEDY can all help to raise your spirits.

Thank you for taking the time to read our article.

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