Question for Bernie:
I am from London, England, now based in NYC where I am having treatment for breast cancer at Sloan-Kettering. My doctors say that I’m in the early stages of the disease. Can you advise on how to deal with stress and overwhelming fear and anxiety? My stomach is turning and my heart pounding all the time.
I am more anxious about my dad who is back in London. He has prostate cancer that has metastasized to his bones. I haven’t told him about me as I am concerned that it would devastate him and cause him to decline, which I want to avoid at all costs.
Do you have any suggestions as to how to deal with my fear and anxiety? I have tried meditating and yoga but nothing works. I want to transform my fear to healing to help my dad.
First of all, the emotions of fear and worry accomplish nothing, and they arise from using our mind in exactly the wrong way—visualizing only negative outcomes. In understanding and using the Mind-Body-Spirit connection to help us heal, we emphasize using the power of our minds for our wellbeing. Visualize the power of your adult mind confidently deciding what you will think and feel—and dispense with wasting energy on worry and fear, which are left-overs from childhood training.
You must learn to acknowledge and respect how powerful your mind is and learn to direct it positively. If you do that, you will naturally move away from the negative “programming” from early childhood that led to being afraid and worrying. Now you are an adult and can decide for yourself what you will think and feel. To reinforce your intention to eliminate worry and fear, do this: As you are getting ready to go out and are looking in a mirror, take a moment to make eye contact with yourself and simply say, “I am no longer thinking as a child—as an adult, I am the only person who decides what I think and feel.”
To retrain your mind to think in a positive way, look for a CD on visualization and use it daily until your mind recognizes how to block negative emotions like fear and worry. You can browse through those that I have on my website, and others that appeal to you. As an example from my own CDs, you might like “Guided Imagery and Meditation.”
Studies have shown that laughter actually changes our body chemistry for the better, supporting the immune system. So think of something in your recent or distant past that made you laugh out loud. Maybe it is a joke someone told you, or maybe it is a memory of something hilarious that happened to you, a friend, or a member of your family. Whatever it is, think about it several times a day enjoy a “good laugh.”
Express gratitude—just think about thanking special people for all they have given you throughout your life so far—or allowed you to give to them. Say to them, “Thank you for everything. “ Imagine giving that gratitude to your spiritual guide.
And share your love with your dad verbally and through sending him healing energy. Do that by seeing him, in your mind’s eye, being healthy and vibrant again. Do the same thing for yourself.
Love is immortal and death isn’t the worst outcome, or the end of your consciousness.
Question for Bernie:
Bernie, you have said that people have addictions because their parents didn’t love them. My youngest son is smoking. It is an addiction too, isn’t it?
Now what? How can I know how to love my children (I’ve always thought I did love them with all my heart and still do)? I’m confused.
Your son is looking for something to make him feel good. You can dislike what your child does but still love the child. Praising children often is critically important to good parenting. Constructive criticism must be balanced equally with genuine expressions of praise for a job well done. This approach teaches a child that he or she is valuable and is loved while still imparting important lessons learned through mistakes. You also raise children who are unafraid to come to you and talk things over when they are struggling with peer pressure.
Ask yourself this question, “Why would people do things that are unhealthy?”
My answer to that question is they do those things because they don’t feel good about themselves. If you love yourself, you can’t do harmful things to your body.
Talk to your son about his smoking and let him know you love him. Then ask him if there is anything you did to hurt him. Tell him you need to know so that you can be a better parent. (I presume you don’t smoke).
Keep talking to him and even more importantly, keep listening to him. When you give him room to hear himself talk, he is likely to see the issue much more clearly. It is not a contest between you and your son. It is about helping him know that he is a loved and valuable person who needs to learn to love himself, his body, and his life.
Question for Bernie:
I am visiting with a friend tomorrow. She was just told by her doctor that she only has three months to live.
How can I encourage her to keep her hope alive and shift her thinking? She was very positive until the doctor told her that. Thank you.
Bet her doctor $10,000 that your friend doesn’t die in three months, and see if he takes the bet.
Please get her my first book, Love, Medicine & Miracles, and my latest, The Art of Healing: Uncovering Your Inner Wisdom and Potential for Self-Healing. Read them with her if you can.
I run groups in Connecticut, so if she is near us, bring her to these great gatherings. We can point her to many doctors who will offer her options and hope.
Tell her she can e-mail me, too, and see if she has the survivor personality. Have her visit my website if she has access to a computer.