What Does It Mean to Be Healthy? A Cancer Survivor Shares Her Healing Journey & the Power of the Mind-Body Connection by Veronica Villanueva
In all honesty, right before I was diagnosed with cancer at age 49, I felt invincible. Obviously, I had heard horror stories about other people getting ill, but I never thought that would happen to me. I thought I was the epitome of healthy living. So when doctors told me that I had stage four metastatic lung cancer, I learned a real lesson in humility.
I refused to accept the doctors’ six-month prognosis, and today, years later, I am still here, living my best life. It wasn’t an easy healing journey, and one of the first things I had to accept was that I had never fully understood what being healthy meant.
The Connection Between the Mind and Body
Before I got sick, I experienced years of chronic negative emotions stemming from an unhappy marriage. I suffered from intense loneliness and guilt for not being happy when everyone thought I had everything: a successful husband, three beautiful children, a large home and trips around the world.
I had expected to have an amicable divorce with my husband. Little did I know, he had been collecting years of “evidence” to paint me in a poor light. When I realized he had built an extensive case against me while I had nothing to defend myself with, the shock was unbelievable. I believe that was the moment that triggered the cancer.
This may sound overly simplistic, but we sorely underestimate the strength of the connection between our minds and bodies. Neuroscience tells us our thoughts influence our biochemistry. Spirituality says that life doesn’t happen to us, it unfolds from us. If we are not healthy mentally and spiritually, we cannot be healthy physically.
Becoming Mentally Healthy
Once I realized the mind/body connection, I wholeheartedly believed I had the power to undo the damage I had inflicted on myself. I decided to heal my body and my mind to become the absolute best version of myself.
To get rid of my tumors, I became mentally healthy while keeping up my physically healthy lifestyle and following my doctors’ care plans. I made a concerted effort to change my perspective by identifying the sources of negativity in my life, adopting a positive outlook and meditating. I focused on self-love, compassion and gratitude instead of anger, anxiety and sorrow.
Any time I found myself asking, “Why me?” I empowered myself by asking instead, “What lessons am I meant to learn from this?”
Learn to Be Happy and You Will Be Healthy
If you want to be healthy, don’t just focus on your body. A healthy life also requires inner work. Revisit the core questions that will reshape your life.
- What kind of life are you fighting for?
- How do you want to transform yourself?
- Where is the incredible life that you are supposed to have?
As you push through pain and humility, you will find the greatness of life.
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