This blog post is shared through Tigerlily Foundation’s partnership with CTCA.
What does it really mean to revive? Simply put, it means “to make something operative or valid again.” So what is it about your spirit that has been inoperative or lost its validity? Here’s a quick test: Do you find yourself brooding over everyday life irritations? Do you have trouble remembering the last time you felt truly joyful?
It may be that your inner spirit needs an “awakening” and spring is a great time to take stock and take action toward a happier, anxiety-free outlook! Here are three suggestions to help revive your spirit plus our Cancer Fighters® members share “5 Inspiring Quotes” to get you started.
1. Strengthen Your Core
When we focus on strengthening our spirit, the core of who we are, our whole being is conditioned to perform better – emotionally, mentally and physically. Depending on your individual interests, some exercises to strengthen your spiritual core may include:
- Writing in a journal
- Reading scripture or other inspiration materials
- Attending worship services
- Conscious acts of forgiveness
- Finding a safe place and person to talk to
- Engaging in nature walks, art therapy or music therapy
- Deep breathing
Really, any activity that puts you in touch with – not distracted from – your thoughts and feelings can increase your capacity to live joyfully in the present moment. Some experts refer to these types of activities as “mindfulness”. Several studiespublished in the Journal of Clinical Oncology showed that mindfulness can help improve overall mood, promote emotional, physical and social well-being, and decrease anxiety, depression and anger.
In the blog, Revive Yourself, Your Spirit and Your Health, Percy McCray, Jr., Director of Faith-Based Programs at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) warns what can happen when we don’t invest the time to develop our spiritual health.
“It’s important to pause and reflect. If we don’t, we end up spending our time shopping, eating, drinking and socializing in often futile attempts to revive our souls.” Rev. Percy says, “instead of feeling re-energized, these indulgences can leave us feeling lethargic and without purpose. Yet, at the core of every person there is a thirst, hunger and desire to have real meaning, value and purpose in life.
2. Build (or Re-build) Healthy Relationships
For many people, living with cancer gives them a new perspective, one in which they value relationships above everything else. However, given the stress of a cancer diagnosis and treatment, it’s not surprising that problems often arise in relationships, especially between couples. Michael Uhl, MA, MDiv, LMFT, Mind-Body Therapist at CTCA® in Zion, Illinois tells couples to “fight the cancer, not each other”. He offers the following strategies for building
(or re-building) healthy relationships:
- Keep the lines of communication open and draw on past experience. Any time there’s a crisis, strive to increase communication. The goal should be mutual understanding, but not necessarily an agreement. It may hurt to share feelings but unshared feelings are what diminish relationships.
- Shore up your support network. Even if your partner is willing to do it all, bringing friends and other family members on board can provide a much-needed break from caregiving responsibilities. Both patients and caregivers need some “away time” to process the many feelings and emotions experienced through cancer treatment, recovery and survivorship.
- Talk with a therapist with a background in cancer. Speaking with a therapist, who is unbiased and has experience with other cancer patients, can help couples express their emotions and confirm that the feelings they are experiencing are normal. Discussing all the emotions—fear, anger or grief—either together or separately gets them out in the open and also helps build useful coping tools.
Right relationships with people you love–a spouse, family or close friends – and enjoying things that you love doing together, are energizing. They have a restoring and renewing quality.
3. Mind Your Mind
What do you spend your time thinking about? It’s natural for people to ask “why me?” when faced with a serious illness. However, focusing on this question can get you stuck and frustrated. On the contrary, focusing your thoughts on things that bring you hope can make you feel empowered and revive your spirit.
We asked members of our Cancer Fighters community, all cancer survivors, to share words of encouragement that they find “uplifting to their spirit”. Here are five of their “Inspiring Quotes” to encourage you:
“Per Ardua.” This Latin phrase means “through difficulties” and it is the McIntyre family motto. Shared by: Richard A. McIntyre, Hanover Township, Pennsylvania.
“God’s got the cancer, the cancer doesn’t have me!” Shared by: Viola Jones, Olathe, Kansas.
“We decide the first day of our cancer diagnosis whether we are going to be victims or survivors. We decide to muster up all our strength to fight to win. We decide to stay positive and not let cancer define us. We decide how we are going to handle each day. There are good days and bad days, but our attitudes determine each day… ” (Originally by: Ann, founder of www.lymphomaclub.com) Shared by Stacy Foltz, Bristol, Wisconsin.
David Brown and Kathy Mosley, a patient and caregiver from Fairbanks, Alaska, say they find great comfort and peace from one of the Baha’i prayers from Baha’u’llah in the Baha’i Prayer book:
“Thy name is my healing, O my God, and remembrance of Thee is my remedy. Nearness to Thee is my hope, and love for Thee is my companion. Thy mercy to me is my healing and my succor in both this world and the world to come. Thou, verily, art the All-Bountiful, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.”
Kimalea Conrad, a cancer survivor from Telluride, Colorado says she finds inspiration in Bible verses; the one cited below is among her favorites. Conrad says, ““To me, this verse means that cancer has no power to make me afraid unless I allow it.”
“For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
As every survivor and caregiver knows, overcoming cancer often requires a heroic amount of physical, emotional and spiritual strength. “Connecting to a higher source of power can provide that balance, stability and grounding, Rev. Percy says. “Many of us forget to look for meaning, value and purpose in the most obvious places: service, forgiveness, hope, peace and faith. In many ways, connecting to these universal forces of empowerment is the easiest way to revive our spirit.”
Learn about spiritual support at Cancer Treatment Centers of America.