Strengthening the Spirit

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Life changes in many ways when you or a loved one develops cancer. You might find yourself turning to your spiritual side more often to help you to cope. Or, you may begin to question your faith. Both of these reactions are normal as you try to re-orient your life during a time of crisis. It's important to remember that you're not alone at this time – many people have taken this spiritual journey before you.

How a Sense of Spirituality Can Help

A sense of meaning, purpose, and connection beyond yourself can help you to have a better quality of life during cancer. Some studies show that people with cancer have less anxiety, depression and pain when they feel spiritually connected.

Spirituality can also help you to put your problems in perspective. Practices such as prayer, meditation and worship can help you to calm and restore yourself. Many people also find the support of other members of spiritual communities to be a great source of practical and emotional help.

Tips for Cultivating Your Spirituality

Take time regularly to meditate or pray. This can bring a sense of calm and stability during difficult times.

Read spiritual writings. These can include the Bible, Koran, Bhagavad Gita, or other faith-based texts. Delving into sacred texts can put you in touch with ancient traditions of wisdom and give you a sense of connection with a more divine reality. Recently published books on spirituality can also give new insights.

Seek the help of others. You might begin an ongoing dialogue with your clergy or counselor, or join a group for meditation, prayer and support.

Retreat to spiritual spaces, natural settings, or concerts and museums. Visiting such places may help you cultivate a sense of peace.

Keep a journal to express your feelings, thoughts and memories. This can contribute to your process of self-discovery and development.

Above all, remember that you are a spiritual person. A diagnosis of cancer can start a process of looking inward for a stronger connection to what is most meaningful and sacred. Out of the turmoil of this crisis, you can find strength and deeper meaning in your life.

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