Some Important Elements of a Wellness Doctrine

Healing and health promotion of the whole person is vitally necessary despite the course a physical disease may take. Wellness means striving for the best health you can achieve. Some important beliefs that enhance wellness during a cancer diagnosis are listed below.

  1. There are a large number of health factors that I can control or modify in taking responsibility for my health. I will explore all areas that can improve my health.
  2. A disease, like any crisis, represents an opportunity to change my life in a positive direction. I didn’t need it and I don’t have to be a good sport about it! Having some intense feelings does not mean I am not coping.
  3. While I cannot change my diagnosis, I can control my attitude and reaction, particularly in the way I handle stress and my emotions. The past is unimportant unless I make it so. The future has not happened yet. The only reality is being fully alive in the present.
  4. Like everyone on this plane, I am a finite energy system, therefore, I need to redirect my energy from unproductive emotions such as worry, anger, fear, and resentment, into acceptance, love, and healing.
  5. A positive attitude refers more to dealing honestly with my feelings rather than maintaining a happy face. I will try not to avoid any of the feelings I experience.
  6. I do not have to be a professional patient. That is not my occupation and there are many other aspects to my life.
  7. I have the power to make a difference in my care. I need to look within myself for proper direction.
  8. My medical team and I are partners. We both have things to learn. I will be comfortable and confident with the treatment path I choose. I need to combine their rational knowledge and expertise with my own intuitive wisdom to make the best decisions.
  9. Any disease is a social disease. Improving the quality of relationships can become a source of healing support for me. This also includes my spiritual relationships.
  10. Acceptance is not giving in. As Norman Cousins’ said, “Don’t deny the diagnosis. Try to defy the verdict.” Keep in mind; statistics apply to groups, not a given individual.
  11. There is always hope, but what I hope for may change over time. As Dr. Carl Simonton said, “In the face of uncertainty, there is nothing wrong with hope.”
  12. My personal dignity and quality of life are always the best measures of success. It takes only a split second to die and all the rest of my time goes to living as best and joyfully as possible. Death is not a failure.

Adopted and enlarged from David F. Cella, Ph.D., “Health Promotion in Oncology: A Cancer Wellness Doctrine” Journal of Psychosocial Oncology, Vol. 8(1) 1990, pp. 17-31

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