I wasn’t always so mentally strong, in fact when I was younger, in my early twenties, I suffered terribly with anxiety and struggled to manage my emotions and how I reacted to certain situations. I even went through a stage of self harming to relieve the stress and tension I held inside.
At twenty-four years old I was involved in a pretty horrific car accident with one of my best friends and was rushed to hospital and told that I had broken my neck.
Surgery had been arranged and I was told that there would be a 70% chance that I’d never walk again. I remember my Mum being so upset but I took in what the doctors had told me and focused on the positives of the situation. The main one being: I was alive.
It could have been much worse, in fact the firemen at the scene of the accident said that my friend and I shouldn’t have survived the crash – the impact was so bad.
That mindset helped me to remain calm during my stay in hospital where I was strapped to the bed, rocking a bright yellow head brace and told that any movement I made could result in paralysis.
Ordinarily, I’d have been hyperventilating and breaking down in tears but something just switched in me that day and I was able to think clearly and assess the situation.
Miraculously, after a second scan, five days later, it transpired that I hadn’t broken my neck. The cut they had seen in my spine on the first scan had somehow disappeared. To this day the doctors can’t explain it.
I walked out of the hospital with a broken tooth, whiplash, cuts across my stomach and chest and a cut on my head. I walked.
Throughout my cancer diagnosis and treatment, I’ve tried to maintain that same mindset. It sucked getting cancer but I was determined to come out the other side and although recurrence and secondary cancer is scary as hell, I’m working really hard on trying to push those thoughts to the back of mind and focus on living my new life, being thankful everyday for everything I have.
Below is a list of things I try to do to help stay positive and happy in life:
Accept discomfort: Tolerate the unhappy feelings you have but don’t allow yourself to be controlled by them.
Think of things that make you happy: Replace the negative thoughts that pop into your head with happy thoughts and let your focus be on these things.
Celebrate the success of others: Don’t resent other people’s wins. Be happy for other people when something good happens in their life.
Adapt: Change is good, embrace new challenges and accept that more often than not, most things don’t stay the same.
Move on: When your life is impacted by negativity, move on. Don’t feel sorry for yourself.
Take risks: Do something that scares you. Don’t let fear rule your life and decisions.
Be happy in your own company: Don’t fear being alone.
Work hard: The world doesn’t owe you anything and you don’t get anywhere by sitting on your backside thinking of ideas but not acting on them. Put a bit of effort in and you’ll see the rewards pay off.
Be kind: There are far too many negative people hating on others be it IRL or online. That’s their karma – how you handle it is your karma. Think about how you treat someone and ask yourself if you would like to be treated the same way.
Accept responsibility: Accept that you have made mistakes in the past and learn from them.
Accept failure: Failure is part of the progress of success. Each time you fail, you learn something new and see it as a chance to improve.
Give compliments: It’s nice to be nice and a compliment can really make someones day.
Reflect: Take time to consider your daily achievements and where you want to be.
Be thankful: Focus on the good. Cultivate a life filled with gratitude and be thankful for the experiences that life has given you each day. Train yourself to find blessing in everything because a grateful heart is a magnet for a positive life.
I do have days where I panic and think that the world is ending because Sainsbury’s has run out of goji berries but I just have a quiet word with myself and stand back…