Guest Post: Mental Focus


Lisette Nolan

The start of this new year of blogging has brought some terrific guest bloggers my way and due to the number of submissions, I have had to keep some in reserve and time their release. So when I was getting ready to publish today’s guest post, imagine my delight when reading over it, I saw so many of the themes I’ve been writing on over the past few days reflected here.   

Today’s guest blogger Lisette echos so much of what I have writing about – how much our attitude to our pain can add or lessen our suffering and how much the kindness and caring of others can add to the healing process.  

Mental Focus

While undergoing chemotherapy, another patient told me that her doctor advised her she would look back on her time with cancer and consider it one of the best years of her life.

A shocking concept you might think! However, her words stayed with me and I found myself constantly asking myself “What did she mean by this?” “In what way could this be one of the best years of my life?” “What’s good about it?” “What could I do to make it good?”

These words, casually spoken, gave me a totally different perspective on my journey with cancer and its treatment. I was enormously grateful for the relentless arrival of cards, flowers and well-wishers. Family, friends, work colleagues and even clients, had taken precious time out their own busy lives to let me know that they were thinking of me. To this day, the thought of their love and warmth fills me with a feeling of wellbeing. Don’t ever underestimate the joy of a small coloured envelope arriving through the letterbox and landing in the hall – what better way to start the day than to know that someone, somewhere is thinking of you and sending warm and sincere wishes your way.

For the first time since I had left school and started to work, I had time to myself; time to read, watch a movie, simply slow down and be with myself. I was home when my children returned from school and had more time with my family. There were no demands on me, no expectations, other than I rest. The support and care that I experienced were matched by the huge appreciation I had for it.

These are only a few of the huge number of things I was grateful for. I believe that I would have been grateful for this love and warmth anyway, however, the words spoken by that doctor prompted me to focus on these aspects and by doing so I gave as little attention as possible to the cancer itself.

Luckily, my cancer had been diagnosed early and the prognosis was good. My oncologist advised me to allow him to take care of the medical treatments and allow myself to concentrate on my recovery – and I took him literally! I trusted him and the treatment he subscribed for me, and I put all my attention and energy into being with my family, enjoying every moment with them, and maintaining a positive mental emotional state.

I didn’t enjoy being ill. I didn’t enjoy the disruption to my life. I didn’t enjoy the uncertainty and fear related to having cancer.

However, I did enjoy being the recipient of such love and care. I did enjoy the slower pace I choose to adopt. I did enjoy spending more time at home with my family. I did enjoy being a positive influence on others as they took my lead and focused on all the things we were grateful for.

We can’t always control what happens to us in life, but we can control how we respond. It may not have been the best year of my life, but by focusing on all the positive aspects, it was definitely a year filled with lots of happy experiences and new perspectives – a good year!

“The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose ones attitude in any given circumstance.” ~ Viktor Frankl


About today’s guest blogger

Lisette Nolan is a life and business coach and together with her business partner Jan Harte is the author of the forthcoming book, Stress Less, which can be pre-ordered from their website