This 3-part series focuses on getting your life back on track after surviving cancer treatments and being pronounced in remission, cured or well enough to watch and wait. Part 1 identified 4 pitfalls to avoid that can keep you stuck. We talked about identifying the inner critic and using the TEA model to consciously choose your thoughts, emotions and actions so you live more fully in the moment.

In this second part of the series, we focus on ways move beyond fears and allow them to be replaced by appreciation for what is, by applying a DO, BE, HAVE approach to living in the NOW.

Are you familiar with the Serenity Prayer? It supports living in the now, and goes like this:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time…”

DO: The Things We Can for Optimal Health and Well-being
Rather than focusing on the things that are out of our control, let’s focus our energy on the things we do control. What are some of the things we do to take care of ourselves, stave off fears and live in the moment? Here are a few things on my list:

  • Make the appointments for follow-up visits to the doctor, MRI/CT scans, and other tests. These basics help us to keep track of what’s going on in our bodies below the surface. You don’t have to “worry” about the future when you know you are doing what you need to do to stay on top of the issues.
  • Eat wholesome, fresh foods to nourish your body. Pay attention to how you feel after eating different foods. Which foods give you energy, filling you up in a good way without feeling heavy and sluggish?
    • I’ve developed quite a few food allergies/sensitivities in recent years, so this has become a way of life. My body has a hard time with highly processed foods and all the additives.
    • Optimal: Planting a garden (or containers) and growing your own produce during growing seasons. You KNOW what’s been put on the plants and in the soil. You’ll be amazed at the flavors too.
  • Move your body with your favorite exercise. My favorites include walking, dancing and yoga. Notice how your mood changes as you move your body. Focus on the movements, rhythm and flow. Notice small improvements from one practice to the next.

BE: Mindful, in the Moment
When we live in the moment, right NOW and NOW and NOW… we allow ourselves time to experience being alive. This present moment, here and now, is all we ever have. The past is gone, and the future doesn’t yet exist, and when it arrives it will be…NOW! How can we allow ourselves to BE who we really are and who we want to be in this moment? By being conscious and intentional: what we think about, how we feel and what we do. (Remember the T.E.A. model from the last post?)

How we feel, show up, and act, all come from within. How would you like to feel in this moment? Imagine yourself feeling those feelings and being grateful for being alive in this moment. Let go of the expectations and pressures (the “should” messages), breathe and enjoy this brief moment. Perhaps there is a favorite memory, song, movie or person in your life that brings you joy in the moment. My daily ritual right now includes watching and listening to Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy” – gets me moving and smiling every time!

HAVE: The Things and People in Our Lives We Truly Appreciate
Think of all the things and people in your life right now that you are grateful for/appreciate. Start listing them all, aloud or mentally to yourself, or in writing. The list can get quite long before you know it! If you’d like the list to be longer, you have some choices to make: Let go of the things and people that aren’t serving your best interests and replace them with those that do.

Another tip is to incorporate the “Three Best Things” exercise into your daily routine. Simply start each day looking for and logging the 3 best things of each day as you notice them. Keep replacing items on the list with new best things you notice as the day progresses. Best things can be simple like seeing a beautiful red cardinal sitting in a tree outside your window, or savoring a juicy piece of fruit, or sharing a funny story with a friend.

Do the “Three Best Things” exercise every day; I wonder just how good you begin to feel.  Rather than dwelling on the things that you have no control over and/or that generate fear or worry, you’re retraining your brain to look for the best experiences in your life to savor and appreciate.

Mindfulness. Consciousness. Intention. Choice. Appreciation. Sense of well-being. Repeat often. Wishing you a flourishing life, one day at a time, right now.

Photo by Bec Brown

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Beth A. Williams, a brain cancer survivor, executive coach, career and survivor coach, created Your Flourishing Life Coaching to help survivors navigate through the transition period between the end of treatments and what’s next, to live fearlessly, with purpose, passion and presence. She and her team focus on what nourishes your mind, body and spirit, so you can reduce stress and experience more joy, health and overall well-being.

About The Author

Beth A. Williams, a brain cancer survivor, executive coach, career and survivor coach, created Your Flourishing Life Coaching to help survivors navigate through the transition period between the end of treatments and what’s next, to live fearlessly, with purpose, passion and presence. She and her team focus on what nourishes your mind, body and spirit, so you can reduce stress and experience more joy, health and overall well-being.

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