It is effortless for cancer survivors to fall into the rut of feeling scared, sad, regretful and even shame. It’s easy to ask, “Why me? I did nothing to deserve this?” Instead of beating yourself up, counteract that talk with gratitude. Retrain your brain to replace pessimistic talk with expressions of gratitude. The more you practice gratitude talk, the better you get at it.

Which of these resonate with you?

  • I’m grateful I have such supportive friends
  • I’m grateful I can still hug and kiss you.
  • I’m grateful we live in a quiet neighborhood where I can get the rest I need.
  • I’m grateful for hot baths and a good heating system when I feel cold.
  • I’m grateful for parents, a spouse, and children who stick around and help me.
  • I’m grateful for all your love.
  • I’m grateful our employers are understanding and flexible.
  • I’m grateful for our religious community who help with meals.
  • I’m grateful I can still laugh at a joke.

    Sharing gratitude moments not only helps the cancer survivor stay positive, it helps the whole family. Children are always watching and listening. They see how the stress of a cancer diagnosis is handled. They observe how feelings are expressed. They soak in all that information like little sponges. Even when you think children aren’t paying attention, it’s essential to find gratitude in the midst of dealing with a cancer diagnosis.

    When cancer comes to visit, emotions are heightened for every member of the family. Telling a child how to feel simply isn’t productive. Saying, “Don’t be scared. I’m going to be okay,” is not very comforting and possibly not believable. It’s far more effective to focus on the positive: gratitude.

    Life is a balancing act of bittersweet: Finding the sweet outweighs the bitter. Despite the challenging environment cancer brings, there is always gratitude worth recognizing. Practice gratitude talk and the whole family will be able to cope with the cancer in a healthier way.

    Go ahead. Take that first step and try it right now: I’m so grateful for…. (finish the sentence in the comments below).

    Looking for a children’s book to help with promoting dialogue and addressing the feelings children experience when someone they know has cancer? ‘M.C. Plays Hide & Seek’, explains what cancer is, the role of doctors, feelings children experience and ways to make a difference.

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