[MOL] Challanging Cancer Series..... [00772] Medicine On Line

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[MOL] Challanging Cancer Series.....


Learned Optimism

Dr. Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania has done intensive research on what creates learned helplessness. In his book, Learned Optimism, he reports on three specific patterns of beliefs that cause us to feel helpless. He calls these three categories permanence, pervasiveness, and personal.

Cancer survivors:


Emotional needs include the need for bonding (physical closeness coupled with emotional openness), and emotional expression. We will show physical and emotional symptoms if we are consistently deprived of having our bonding needs met.

Pain, anger, and fear are danger emotions that provide feedback to us around our survival being threatened. Our survival is threatened if we are not getting our emotional needs met for bonding, because it is a biologically-based need. Having access to all of our emotional responses is important so that we have continuous feedback about what we need. If we repress our danger emotions over a long period of time, we will then think through the filters of anger, pain, and fear. We will create images and thought patterns that reflect these bottled up emotions. Emotional expression is important because emotions are the body's biofeedback mechanism. There are five physiology-based emotions, as mentioned earlier in this section: pain, anger, fear (the danger emotions — signaling us of deprivation), love, and pleasure (emotions signaling us of satisfaction of our needs).

Danger Emotions


Comfort Emotions



Denied hopelessness is the emotional state that most often precedes the development of cancer. We experience hopelessness when we do not get our emotional and psychological needs met over a long period of time. Because deprivation is a painful experience, we learn to protect ourselves by repressing and denying the pain, anger, and fear that are the real emotions associated with deprivation. We begin to give up unconsciously about ever getting what we really want. Eventually, we may completely lose awareness of our deep-rooted sense of hopelessness.

Shifting from hopelessness to hope is an attitudinal, behavioral, and emotional process. Internalizing the attitude that "I'm entitled to pleasure," and "I can get what I want and need" is an essential part of the healing process. Behaviorally, beginning to get what I want in life reinforces this attitude so that my experience of beginning to get my needs met becomes real. Expressing more emotional pleasure produces a healthy physiological response.


My psychological work in getting well is:

    To open up to pleasure without emotional pain.

    Express any old emotional pain, anger, fear that is getting in the way of my feeling love and pleasure.


    I'm entitled to pleasure without pain. I'm lovable.
    I'm good enough, without having to be perfect.
    I need. My needs are real, and they are important
    I feel. And all of my emotions are okay.


    Taking in love and pleasure. Expressing emotions.

Strengthen Beliefs:

    I have all the time I need to make the changes I want to make.
    I have everything I need to get well.
    As I enrich my life, my cancer or illness will go away, my body's defense system will be enhanced, and my recovery potential maximized.


There are potentially hundreds of emotions any one of us could experience in any period of time. In most cases, though, human beings have a small number of habitual emotions that they experience on a consistent basis.


Ways to interrupt patterns:

To change your limiting beliefs (or to change any belief):

  1. Identify the disempowering emotion. For example, fear or anxiety.
  2. Identify the limiting belief. For example, "I can't get well."
  3. Determine the experiences or past references that support the unwanted or disempowering belief. For example, "My doctor told me that I would only live six months, and I know two other people who have the same diagnosis and they are doing well."
  4. Use questions, statements, stories, or metaphors of counter-examples to create doubt about the remaining experiences, and thus about the belief. Who are some people I could meet who have a similar diagnosis and are doing well?
  5. Demonstrate to yourself how the belief violates your efforts to reach your short- and long-term goals (thus violating your sense of personal power).
  6. Make a commitment to change the belief. Get leverage on yourself to motivate yourself to change. For example, "If I don't change the belief that I can't get well, what is it going to cost me?"
  7. Practice the new belief with consistency. Make a gesture of victory with your fist, for example, as you state, "I decide to get well."
  8. Anchor your new belief by reinforcing it, and creating new experi-ences.
  9. Create a new experience that violates past belief, using your personal power. For example, enroll in a class; plan on building a new home; design a five-year dream, etc.


Our life experience is based upon where we focus. These questions are designed to cause you to experience more happiness, excitement, pride, gratitude, joy, commitment, and love every day of your life. Remember, the quality of your life is in the quality of the questions you ask yourself daily.

The Morning Power Questions:

Come up with two or three answers to all of these questions and feel fully associated. If you have difficulty discovering an answer, simply add the word "could."

  1. What am I most happy about in my life now?
    What about this makes me happy? How does this make me feel?
  2. What am I most excited about in my life now?
    What about this makes me excited? How often does this make me feel excited?
  3. What am I most proud about in my life now?
    What about this makes me proud? How does this make me feel?
  4. What am I most grateful about in my life now?
    What about this makes me grateful? How does this make me feel?
  5. What am I enjoying most in my life right now?
    What about this do I enjoy? How does this make me feel?
  6. What am I committed to in my life right now?
    What about this makes me committed? How does this make me feel?
  7. Who do I love? Who loves ME?
    What about them makes me loving? How does this make me feel?


The Problem Solving Questions
(or How to Face the Day):

  1. What is right/great about this problem/day?
  2. What is not perfect yet?
  3. What am I willing to do to make it the way I want it?
  4. What am I willing not to do to make it the way I want it?
  5. How can I enjoy doing the things necessary to make it the way I want it?


"Excite" Your Emotions

A key to your recovery success is to get yourself to experience your most highly valued emotional states through creating a compelling future.

Questions to ask yourself:

  1. What do I really want, and why do I want it?
  2. How will I know when I am getting it?
  3. What feelings do I want to experience most?

Values are the states we believe are the most important for us to experience or avoid.

Human beings are motivated by their desire to achieve or avoid various states. However, some states are more important to us than others.

To discover your values, you must ask yourself the question:

    "What is most important to me about...?

    For example: "What is most important to me about getting well?"

It is essential for you to not only discover what your values are, but also how you will know when your values are being met.

The question to ask yourself, to discover your evidence procedure, is:

    "What needs to happen in order for me to feel...?

    For example: "What has to happen in order for me to feel well or to feel healthy?"


Decisions shape our destiny, so why don't some people make the decision to get well?

If a person is not making the decision to get well, it is simply because they fear that making that commitment may be more painful than putting it off and not making it at all.

To get yourself to commit to making the decision to get well, you must overcome your fear and get yourself to focus on all the value (pleasure) you will receive by being well and healthy. The process of getting well needs to be associated with pleasure instead of pain.

The quickest way to control you focus daily in regard to this is asking yourself empowering questions.

How Can I Shape My Destiny?

Everything that we do as human beings, we do for one of two reasons: either to avoid pain or to gain pleasure.

People will do more to avoid pain than they will ever do to gain pleasure.

What We Link Pleasure To
and What We Link Pain To Creates Our Destiny


  1. Nothing in life has any meaning, except the meaning we give it.
  2. The quality of our life is the quality of our evaluations.
  3. Superior evaluations equal superior life results.
  4. Our beliefs and attitudes influence our emotions.
  5. Our emotions significantly influence our health (which certainly includes cancer).
  6. We can change our limiting beliefs and attitudes and learn to master our emotional states.
  7. Our emotions are a strong driving force in our neuro-endocrine, immune, and other healing systems.
  8. To maximize recovery:

      Feel and acknowledge emotions.
      Learn and practice emotional mastery; increase pleasurable emotions and decrease painful emotions.


Reinforce Your Desired Emotions

An anchor is a sensory stimulus linked to a specific set of states. It can be a word or a phrase, a touch, or an object. It can be something we see, hear, feel, taste, or smell. Anchors have great power because they can instantly access powerful states.

You can see people and instantly go into an emotional state — good or bad, depending on the feelings you have associated with them. You can hear a song and have an instantaneous change of state. All are the results of powerful anchors.

Anchoring is a way to give an experience permanence. With anchoring you can create a consistent triggering mechanism that will automatically cause you to create the state you desire in any situation without having to think about it.

Anchoring is a created association of thoughts, ideas, feelings, or states with a specific stimulus.


How do anchors get created?

Whenever a person is in an intense state where the mind and body are strongly involved together and a specific stimulus is consistently and simultaneously provided at the peak of the state, the stimulus and the state become neurologically linked. Then, anytime the stimulus is provided, the intense state automatically results.

Keys to Anchoring:

Rules for anchoring:

  1. For an anchor to be effective, when you provide the stimulus you must have the person in a fully associated, congruent state, with his whole body fully involved. The more intense a person's emotional state, the easier it is to anchor, and the longer the anchor will last.
  2. You must provide the stimulus at the peak of the experience.
  3. You should chose a unique stimulus. The best anchors combine several representational systems — visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and so forth — at one time to form a unique stimulus that the brain can more easily associate with a specific meaning.
  4. For an anchor to work, you must replicate it exactly.


How to Access the Best Software Package in Your Brain

How To Access The Best Software Package In Your Brain

Questions immediately change what we are focusing on and therefore how we feel.

Questions provide you with actual reasons to feel the emotion.

We can change how we feel in an instant, just by changing what our minds are focusing on.

Learning to ask yourself empowering questions at a time like this when your health and well-being is at stake is an essential skill.

One of the ways to increase the quality of your life is to model the habitual questions of people who have succeeded in getting well.


  1. What is the opportunity for growth in having cancer?
  2. How can I believe more in my treatment and medical team?
  3. How can I strengthen my belief that I can get well?


Questions have the power to affect our beliefs and thus what we consider possible or impossible.

"Why do bad things always happen to me?"

This is a disempowering question. A better question to ask is:

"What can I learn from having the experience of cancer ... and how can I better contribute to the world as a result of this?"


The path to success consists of knowing your outcome, taking action, knowing what results you're getting, and having the flexibility to change until you're successful. The same is true of beliefs. You have to find the beliefs that support your outcome — the beliefs that get you where you want to go.

To model excellence, we have to start with the belief systems of excellence. Anthony Robbins, of Robbins Research International, found that the following seven beliefs have empowered people to use more, do more, take greater action, and produce greater results.

Belief #1

Everything happens for a reason and a purpose, and it serves us.

Belief #2

There is no such thing as failure. There are only results.

Belief #3

Whatever happens, take responsibility.

Belief #4

It is not necessary to understand everything to be able to use everything.

Belief #5

People are your greatest resources.

Belief #6

Work is play.

Belief #7

There is no abiding success without commitment.


The answers we receive depend upon the questions we are willing to ask.

"How can I improve my life, from my current situation of having cancer?"

This kind of question will force you to change your focus, your physical and emotional state, and the results you are getting.

A better question yields a better answer...

Better answers mean feeling better...better quality of health...having a superior life...

Emotional mastery is the art of health!