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Being told to stay positive - love it or hate it?

Blanka_CBlanka_C Posts: 406 Community Admin
When I'm moderating our Facebook group, the topic of keeping a positive attitude during cancer treatment (and beyond) is one that comes up time and time again.

It seems that people feel really strongly one way or the other, either finding it helpful or condescending.. What do you think about it? Do you find it inspiring or infuriating? 


  • CarolCarol Posts: 5
    I range from finding it mildly irritating when I take a deep breath and remind myself that people don’t know what to say for the best. I’m known as having an extremely positive and resilient nature so if I get told / advised to be positive when I’m terrified of a scan result or having a bad day - then I find it infuriating 
  • TerminalTerminal Posts: 1
    I have terminal cancer yet still taking chemo, so it is when the nurses say be positive I want to screem
  • One of my oncologists told me they see a big difference in outcomes between those who have a positive outlook and those that don't, we don't necessarily see the effect our mind has on our body. 
    I've heard this too! And I've also read somewhere recently about a study showing that simply talking about your feelings can help improve your health outcomes - hoping this is the case for all our forum members! 
  • annalondonannalondon Posts: 6
    I think this is a really tricky one. Of course staying positive is really important, there is a book called It's the thought that counts by David R. Hamilton (full disclosure, I haven't actually read it yet!) which was given to me by a friend who had gone through cancer and treatment. It talks about the mind and emotions playing a part in our wellbeing. The individual staying positive is different from other people telling you to stay positive. I think it depends on the relationship that you have with the person and your own mood at that time! If your Oncologist is telling you that feels different from a work colleague for example. Agree with other comments here that often people are at a loss what to say and they mean well, however, we are all human, we are really trying to remain positive (more than others probably realise) and we have days when we don't feel very positive at all, in fact the opposite and that is also part of the process we are going through. I've been through it this week and realised rather than fighting it that occasionally it's OK to allow yourself to feel sorry for what's going on, and if someone told me to stay positive whilst I was in the middle of having a rare 'poor me' moment I think my newly found 'cancer rage' might appear!  @Terminal, my heart goes out to you.
  • LindaLinda Posts: 9
    I agree with Connie, I had stage 4 ovarian cancer, did the wrong thing by looking it up and the survival rate was very low, I have had 18months of chemo and an operation and am clear at the moment. It is so easy to go down hill and get negative and a lot harder to stay positive, and it does get annoying when people tell you to keep positive, but like Connie I was determined not to let it take over my life completely, I still walked my dog everyday did gardening and housework, although I had to rest a lot in between, but keeping active is very important, cancer does change you but let it change you in a good way.
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