Happiness and Savoring Life’s Pleasures When You Have Cancer
In my opinion, happiness is not simply the absence of unhappiness or stress. This is not to say that unhappiness and stress will not interfere with your sense of happiness, but to say that you should want to be happy, and be ready to take action to experience happiness.
There is a curious biological fact about happiness that is worth understanding. There are various molecules, such as endorphins and dopamine, released in your brain to produce a sense of satisfaction and enjoyment. By design, the effects of these are short-lived compared to the effects of molecules such as adrenaline and cortisol released in the body in response to stress or unhappy events. What this means is that you have to have stimuli, planned or unplanned, to force the release of neurochemicals in your brain if you want to experience happiness.
Look back at your life to remember the pleasant things that have happened. Think of your life as a snapshot of all your experiences. You feel good reminiscing. When you look through a photo album, you can recall incidents that still elicit happy memories. Now, train your mind to dwell on experiences before they happen and get more pleasure out of them. In other words, anticipate the pleasant things in life before they actually occur. The neurochemical releasing neurons do not know the difference between a current event, one in the memory, or one that has not happened yet.
When you are alone, appreciate the solitude, as it is the only way to experience the mystery of what life and living is all about. Develop a new awareness of who you are, and how unique you are compared to everyone around you. Like a word in a sentence, you complete the meaning of the existence of those who came before you and those who will follow. Imagine the world as you would like it to be—harmonious, loving, and peaceful. Call the exercise meditation, if you like, but keep the sensation of it for as long as you can experience it. If it helps, sit down comfortably, and listen to recorded music of your choice and stay there, lost in the melody.
Watch this short video: “The Importance of Reducing Stress When You Have Cancer”
Each time you step outside and encounter anything—a shrub, a tree, an animal, or another person—appreciate how each one is unique in its own way. Look deeply into a lovely flower. Take a moment to really appreciate the shape, color, curvature and arrangement of the petals. What caused the plant to put that flower in that particular place? How did the plant know what type of pigments and how much of them were needed by that flower? What caused the bud to open up not too soon but to wait for the petals to be ready? How did the flower know its pollen would attract a honeybee or its nectar would feed a hummingbird? Will the flower ever know how much it was appreciated?
To feel the fullness of life, you need to experience love that would immerse your body and soul in it. To create that love, you need to accomplish an objective. To accomplish an objective, you need a reason. Some people find the two, love and reason combined, in accomplishments achieved through a vocation or calling.
When you feel lonely, look at things around you and form an opinion. When you hear people talk, form an opinion. When you express your opinion to others, you get a response. You are not alone anymore. Ultimately, the love you get from others is one of the best experiences you cherish in your life.
This post is an excerpt taken from Surviving Cancer. Get the book if you want to learn more about reducing stress and Cancer.
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