Living with cancer blog

Choose to be hopeful

By Sheryl M. Ness, R.N. August 2, 2013

We've talked about related topics on the blog — including resiliency and the power of positive thinking — however, this week I'd like to discuss hope. Keeping a sense of hope can improve your resilience and add to your ability to endure difficult moments.

While you can't change what happened in the past, you can be hopeful for the future. Hope can help you deal with change, and have a positive impact on your recovery and healing.

People who are hopeful have a positive outlook on the future. This positive outlook provides a motivation to take better care of themselves, practice healthy behaviors, accept and overcome obstacles, and adhere to their treatment plan.

Researchers have shown a strong link between hope and emotional well-being. This link can in turn, affect our physical well-being. Being hopeful can help shield you from the effects of stress and anxiety.

I thought I'd add a few thoughts on being hopeful that might be helpful to consider:

  • Be true to yourself. Make sure that you are doing activities and involved in relationships that keep your sense of self and identity separate from your diagnosis of cancer.
  • Stay connected. Both formal and informal relationships provide a positive impact on your life.
  • Set goals for the future. This will give you a sense of power over your own health and well-being.
  • Find ways to give back. Use what you've learned to help others.
  • Stay in touch with your spirituality. This is defined by your personal sense of spirit and may be religious or meditative in nature.

Having hope can help you navigate the ups and downs of living with cancer. How has being hopeful made a difference for you?


Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.

Aug. 02, 2013