Why Princess Kate is right to focus on 'mind, body and spirit' as she battles cancer

Why Princess Kate is right to focus on 'mind, body and spirit' as she battles cancer

The Princess of Wales was right to project positivity in her heartbreaking video

Kensington Palace
Adam Chapman

By Adam Chapman

Published: 27/03/2024

- 15:08

Updated: 27/03/2024

- 15:14

Maintaining a positive mindset can be a vital tool in helping fight cancer, writes Lynn Crilly

Princess Kate is right to focus on "mind, body and spirit" as she undergoes treatment for an unspecified form of cancer, says a leading mental health expert.

It comes less than a week after Kate bravely revealed her cancer diagnosis to the world in an emotional video.

Kate revealed that she is undergoing preventative chemotherapy after tests following her abdominal surgery found cancer.

Sitting on a park bench and looking directly to camera, Kate broke the heartbreaking news to the nation.

As part of that deeply moving address, she said: "I am well and getting stronger every day by focusing on the things that will help me heal in my mind, body and spirit."

Lynn Crilly

Lynn Crilly believes adopting a positive mindset can help overcome cancer

Lynn Crilly

Author and counsellor Lynn Crilly says the Princess Of Wales' decision to reference “mind and spirit” when revealing her illness could prove a pivotal moment in the approach to the illness.

Lynn, who has written about this issue in her book Hope With Depression, said: “When I watched the Princess of Wales’ statement I was very struck by the fact she mentioned ‘body, mind and spirit’.

“When you are battling cancer you obviously have to put a lot of faith in doctors to provide the treatment which will hopefully ensure your body can heal and recover.

“But a positive spirit has to come from within and this can be hugely beneficial in successfully overcoming cancer.”

As the counsellor explains, serious physical illness does not just take its toll on the body: every area of life can be affected, from home life to relationships and careers.

It can leave you feeling isolated, fearful and anxious about the future and not feel in control of their own life.

"All of this can leave a huge emotional mark on a person's life, leaving those most vulnerable to mental illness at risk of developing depression, but virtually anyone can be affected," she told GB News.

More research is needed to know how a person's attitude might affect their cancer experience. Some studies have shown being optimistic and having a positive attitude can lead to a better quality of life for people with cancer.

But it's important here to distinguish between quality of life and cancer outcomes. There's no convincing evidence that adopting a positive attitude changes a person's chance of survival or the course of their disease.

That's not to say there's no utility in remaining positive. As Lynn rightly points out, a positive mindset can help you cope with uncertainty and reduce the risk of attendant complications, such as depression.

She recommends the following 10 tips:

Stay Informed but avoid overwhelming yourself: Knowledge is power, but too much information can be overwhelming. Stick to reliable sources and ask your healthcare team for guidance.

Focus on what you can control
: Cancer treatment often involves uncertainty, but focus on what you can control can empower you. Whether it's adhering to your treatment plan, practising self-care, or maintaining a healthy lifestyle, small actions can make a big difference in your well-being.

Seek support: Surround yourself with a supportive network of family and friends who uplift and encourage you. Share your feelings openly with them, and don't hesitate to ask for help when needed

Practice mindfulness: Incorporate mindfulness practices such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga into your daily routine. These techniques can help reduce stress, promote relaxation, and enhance your overall sense of well-being.

Engage in activities that bring joy: Whether it's spending time with loved ones, pursuing a hobby, or enjoying nature, prioritising moments of joy can uplift your spirits and provide a welcome distraction from cancer-related stress.

Stay positive through visualisation: Visualise yourself overcoming challenges and visualise your body healing. Affirmations can be powerful tools for maintaining a positive mindset.

Set realistic goals and celebrate achievements: Break down your cancer journey into manageable steps and set realistic goals for yourself. Celebrate each milestone, no matter how small.

Stay Connected: Joining support groups or seeking counselling can provide invaluable emotional support. Sharing experiences and coping strategies can help alleviate feelings of isolation and provide new perspectives

Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Prioritise self-care by nourishing your body with healthy foods, staying hydrated, and get regular exercise within your capabilities. A healthy lifestyle can boost your energy levels, improve your mood, and support your body's ability to tolerate treatment

Embrace positivity: While cancer treatment may present challenges, maintaining hope and a positive outlook can be a powerful source of resilience. Cherish each day, and believe in your ability to overcome obstacles on your journey to healing

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