The Foundation is Love and Support
We might debate which of the six pillars should lead off because they are all key. Although to some it might seem an unusual choice, we have chosen to put social support in the top spot. While diet and exercise are critical, of course— along with the other pillars— what we have found is that support is the backbone on which all other lifestyle changes will either succeed or fail, whether it is logistical (having someone take care of the kids while you attend a new yoga class), motivational (to help overcome entrenched eating habits), or psychological (to uncover deep emotional issues that keep you from being the person you want to be). The people you enlist to support you are key to your success. Establishing an effective, personally tailored support network is where anticancer living begins, not where it ends. It is the root required for the tree to stand, the foundation upon which the house can be built, and the stability that will ground and balance you as you move forward.
People who have a purpose in life tend to be happier and healthier than their counterparts who are less purpose driven. They also tend to be more connected to their community and to form deeper bonds with friends, which research shows has an effect on their health down to the cellular level. For most of us, our relationships and support of others is a key aspect of our life purpose.
The diagnosis of cancer, or any life- threatening illness, can often lead people to reconnect with loved ones, reprioritize their lives, and discover and define a clear life purpose. As with focusing on the positive and learning to be grateful, purposeful living leads directly to improved social connections and a sense of belonging, two essential components in building your anticancer team. It can be challenging to see the positive in a life- threatening experience like cancer, especially for those whose prognosis is grim. Viktor Frankl, the famous Viennese psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, addresses this issue eloquently in his book Viktor Frankl, the famous Viennese psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, addresses this issue eloquently in his book Man’s Search for Meaning when he says: “In some way, suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning”.