Learning to stay positive even in bad situations
October is Cancer Awareness Month in Bermuda. It was also in October, four years ago, that my husband, Bill, and I flew to Miami to have my first chemotherapy treatment.
It was the day before Hurricane Nicole and as I look back, I can clearly see myself: I was a weak, terrified, crying soul, devastated and shocked to the very core, with an unknown future and a long, exhausting battle ahead.
From these ashes, like the Phoenix, I slowly unfolded wings I never knew I had and flew high above the ruins of my dreams.
I grew into a strong, happy and confident woman and I developed a love for life that I cherish every day.
I learnt that most people consider everything that happens to them in life as either a blessing or a curse.
But, when your back is against the wall, there is only one way to see your life: as a challenge.
You can rise to that challenge and make the most of the time you have, or you can sink into helplessness and self-pity.
The choice is yours, and that choice can be a blessing in disguise.
During the ensuing years, I learnt how to deal with negative emotions and fears that often overwhelmed me.
I found a way to sleep without pills, cope with stress and anxiety, to smile and laugh even through pain, and to appreciate and enjoy the moment.
I swam silently with shimmering fish in the coral gardens of our south shore, learnt “laughing therapy” on a beach in Miami, went forest bathing in the wilderness of Minnesota, meditated in a Buddhist monastery up in the mountains of Burma.
I also practised deep breathing and personal energy work in the ancient capital of Bali, and ultimately studied with Master Chia, the founder of the Universal Healing Tao System at his spiritual retreat in Northern Thailand.
These healing experiences changed my life.
Not a single one of them would have happened without my determination to meet the challenge of my illness head on.
During these years, I learnt these and many other techniques that made an enormous difference in my outlook on life and wellbeing.
I strongly believe I have a calling to share what I have learnt with people who need it.
Together with Pals, I created Pink Ribbon Tuesdays.
This programme is designed to support cancer patients and survivors to stay strong, energetic, and positive during difficult times.
It will help restore your energy during and after cancer treatments, and is a road map to cope with stress, relieve anxiety, improve sleep and bring your mind and body into harmony and balance.
These outdoor classes are free, and they are easy to follow and practise, either with me or at home. We will practise social-distancing, follow government guidelines and take extra care with our immune systems.
Here are a few examples:
• Meditate and smile
Together, we will start a powerful journey of getting rid of negative emotions using the ancient wisdom of Chinese Tao.
I will teach you the Six Healing Sounds and the Inner Smile meditation designed for health and healing.
These will help you to convert the negative energy stored in your organs into healing and positive light, transform stress into vitality and bring balance and calmness.
• Laugh and feel positive
You will learn how to stay positive with wonderful laughter therapy.
We will do simple laughter exercises, laugh and smile together to feel happy, elevate mood, reduce anxiety and stress, cope with sadness, relieve pain and boost the immune system.
Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh.
• Walk and relax
Go for a “nature bathing” walk to feel calmer and relax, improve your sleep and elevate your mood.
These easy and quiet walks are proven to reduce stress hormone production, improve feelings of happiness, boost the immune system and accelerate recovery from illness.
• Breathe and calm down
Whenever someone asks if there is anything simple they can do to feel better I often answer, “Learn how to breathe.”
My journey with breathing began with practising this very simple exercise and it helped me to get off sleeping pills. I was quite sceptical at the beginning, but quickly changed my mind.
The 4-7-8 breathing technique, also known as “relaxing breath” involves breathing in for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds. With proper timing and repetition, it works like a miracle.
The most important thing I finally understood was that I have two ways to live.
One is to be a victim and complain that life is unfair to me and another is to stay positive, resilient and do my best even in the worst life situation.
I can show you techniques that work and help you take the first step.
You will discover you have enormous power to make an inner shift and change your life. You are not alone. We can walk this road together. I am here to motivate and support you!
• Pink Ribbon Tuesdays begin next week. Register with Nina London on 516-4536, or Pals on 236-7257.
• Nina London is a certified wellness and weight-management coach. Her mission is to support and inspire mature women to make positive changes in their body and mind. Share your inspirational stories with her at www.ninalondon.com