Fighting For Your Life

Recently the well known American news anchor Peter Jennings died of lung cancer, just a few months after he publicly announced that he had the disease and that he was going to fight it with everything he had.

After his death, I read some of the tributes that poured in about the life of Peter Jennings. One of the common themes that appeared in the statements made by his friends and colleagues was that they remembered what a determined, competitive man he was.

They said that he took on his battle with cancer head on, and that he fought his cancer the way he battled everything, with steely will and determination. And unfortunately he didn't win.

Reading about Peter Jennings' losing battle with lung cancer reminded me of another conversation about living with cancer that illustrated a very different approach to the disease. recently.

Last week I had a meeting with one of my business associates, a man named Brian, to discuss some business matters.

After our business meeting was finished, Brian started telling me about his mother's experience of living with cancer. A lot of what Brian had to say was very thought provoking to me.

Brian told me that his mother had been diagnosed with a bad type of bone cancer and doctors had told her that she had only a very short time to live. Yet in spite of the fact that her cancer kept spreading to other parts of her body, she managed to live fourteen years longer than what her doctors had originally predicted.

Brian said that he often wondered why his mother managed to live such a long time with cancer when many of his younger friends who got cancer died of it quite quickly.

Brian told me "I come from a sports and and athletic background, and so a lot of my friends are athletes. My athletic friends tend to be very focussed and competitive people, and they're used to being very aggressive. When they were diagnosed with cancer, I watched them go into their competitive and athletic mode, and they would say 'I'm going to fight this thing'.

They would fight their cancer the same way they fought their athletic battles, with gritted teeth and courage and determination.

Brian said, "What I noticed about these guys who were so tough and fought cancer so hard was that in a lot of cases they burned out really soon.

When my mother got cancer, Brian continued, "Her approach was kind of the opposite. She wanted to live, but she never said she was going to fight this cancer. One of the things I watched her do is that she decided to drop everything that was stressful from her life."

Shopping was stressful for her, so she dropped it. Driving a car was stressful so she stopped driving. In fact, she stopped doing everything she didn't want to do, and she only kept the things she really enjoyed.

And she made a point of becoming very relaxed and enjoying her life.

Then Brian told me, "This experience made me think that maybe the idea of fighting for your life when you have cancer is like trying to fight off insomnia."

"If you decide to fight insomnia by gritting your teeth and saying 'I'm tough, I've fought lots of battles successfully, I'm going to fight this insomnia and I'm going to beat this thing, well, you'll never fall asleep. It won't work."

Now I can't say that what seemed to work for Brian's mother in living with cancer is the miracle key for anyone else who has cancer. This wasn't a scientific study, and many other factors are involved.

But Brian's comments about his mother's approach to living with cancer, and his comments about trying to use will power to fight insomnia are worth keeping in mind when we are facing a problem. Not every problem can be solved with will power and determination.

In such fields as business and sports, an attitude of determination and competitiveness can be very useful, and can be highly rewarded. If we have been very successful in these fields by being high powered, determined and aggressive, we may try to use the same approach to tackle every problem. Aggressively and head-on. With grit and determination.

However, being aggressive and determined does not work on every kind of problem.

For example, if your mate is unhappy in your marriage, or your child has a serious illness, or if you have too much stress in your life, then using determination and aggression will not solve these problems. In these situations, aggressiveness does not work.

We need to recognize those situations where another approach might work better.

Sometimes what we need to do is relax more, let go of our illusion that we can control everything, become more humble, and be open to living in the moment even when we don't know all the answers.

Royane Real is the author of several self help books, including "Your Quick Guide to Improving Your Learning Ability" Sign up today for her free newsletter filled with life improving tips at http://www.royanereal.com

In The News:

Managing pandemic stress  centraljersey.com
3 relaxation exercises to decrease stress  The Philadelphia Inquirer
Living With Diabetes  ResponseSource
No stress!  The News International
Still Determined: Mending Minds of Color  Charlottesville Tomorrow
Be your own heart advocate  Alton Telegraph
Stress Management for Nurses  www.oncnursingnews.com/
5 Ways to Manage Stress During the Coronavirus Outbreak  Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic

[Emotional Health] Are You Feeling In Control?

When it is all said and done, do you feel... Read More

Stress Secrets: How To Remove Hidden Sources Of Stress

Most people find it easy to identify the sources of... Read More

7 Tips to Help You De-stress & Handle Your Problems

Life would be so wonderful if it weren't for other... Read More

Stress Relief for Busy Business People - 11 Easy Ways

Make stress less of an issue for you in your... Read More

How To Avoid Stress By Staying in The Present Moment

The future is nothing but a fantasy or a daydream,... Read More

Treat Your Anxiety Disorder Effectively

If you find symptoms of anxiety disorder in any of... Read More

Sometimes C.O.P.I.N.G Is All We Can Do

We strive for excellence in our lives, going at full... Read More

Are YOU Controlling Stress So Stress Does Not Control YOU?

Have you recently moved or started a new job? Do... Read More

Stress Managment and Mastery: 6 Stress Busting Tips

In a hectic world, it's all too easy to reach... Read More

How to Cope With Stress and Anxiety

Among the hardest parts of living in the modern world... Read More

How To Eliminate Or Manage Stress

Are you a "worry wart?" Is that term familiar to... Read More

Stress Impacts Your Health

Health Impacts of StressStress is a funny concept, try to... Read More

Stress Management and Relief Techniques - Quit Running from Bears!

Fear, and its accompanying seriousness, causes our suffering. Fear restricts... Read More

Overcoming Stress: Successful Living The Easy Way

So many of us live a stressful life. Unfortunately, when... Read More

Brain Diet : Right Diet prevents Memory Loss

These days, when people have become so conscious about what... Read More

Let Go of Stress: Slow Down! Survive!

Don't wait to have a life-threatening disease to learn what... Read More

6 Ways to Release Stress

We are currently living in a capitalist society where money... Read More

Why Stress Is Not Necessary

We are not designed for long term stress.It causes us... Read More

Entertaining Without Stress

Let's face it. If you are stressed, agitated and flitting... Read More

Army Ranger Reveals How to Control Corporate Stress

"Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into... Read More

Stress Management: The Power of a Day

I learned a valuable lesson recently. A short while ago,... Read More

Panic Is No Laughing Matter

Burt Reynolds revealed his vulnerable side when he realized he... Read More

Dont Be a Worry Wort!

Everyone worries. As bothersome as it is, worry isn't all... Read More

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About How to Get a Life, But Didnt Know Whom to Ask

Question 1"How do I get more time to play?"Answer: Schedule... Read More

Stress: Daily Self-Care Habits to Manage Stress

Today we have more stress in our lives than ever... Read More