Finding Meaning in Life

Guest Blog by Philip Booth (www.myunexpectedguide.blogspot.com) who recently attended the Integrative Medicine Talks at G Live on the 22nd September organised by the Holistic Centre

Grant Hatch; what matters in life?

Grant talking at Wellness Day in Guildford

It was great to hear Grant Hatch talk about his cancer journey and in particular the importance of finding meaning in life. I caught up with him at the Guildford Wellness Day where I also spoke with other thrivers like Kris Hallenga and Jane McLelland. In my interview with Grant below he shares his top three questions to consider.

The author, Dr Kelly A. Turner, of the wonderful ‘Radical Remission, Surviving Cancer Against All Odds’ (i), looked at over a thousand cases of radical remission, people who have defied a serious or terminal cancer diagnosis with a complete reversal of the disease. She pulled out common factors amongst those who had healed their cancer and found that nine of these emerged more often; one of these was having strong reasons to live.
In her research Kelly found that this desire to live ‘had to come from the deepest core of his or her being, and it has to be unquestioning.’ This is again about that mind-body connection, the mind leading the body. We know the power of this, a thought or emotion can lead to powerful hormones being released that can have beneficial or detrimental effects on our immune system. Kelly notes that to get excited about living we often need to get in touch with our deepest desires or callings, putting creativity back in our lives.

Well I’m fortunate to have much meaning in life, but have recently been wondering about the joy in it. There is a study from the University of Pittsburgh showing that a sense of joy, is the second most important factor for predicting cancer recovery (ii). Yet somehow I manage to be stuck too often in my 'to-do list world' of doing this and doing that. Yes there are many times in my day to appreciate nature like the mushroom I found in Standish Woods (see photo), laugh with a colleague or love the smell and taste of my morning coffee. I’m good at joy like that, but often find stress creeping into my schedules….and we know very well the connection between stress and cancer (iii). How can there be more joy?

Standish Woods

I can feel another blog coming on in the future about stress and how we manage it, but for now there is no question that cancer has given me a wake up call. Grant’s talk was a great reminder that we need to consider what does really matter. For me this is all linked, so means revisiting deepest desires, finding better ways to manage my ‘to-do list’, looking again at stress and much more! Cancer certainly gives us lots to think about  - and work on!

Notes

(i) Kelly A. Turner, of the bestseller ‘Radical Remission, Surviving Cancer Against All Odds’ (2014): https://radicalremission.com/about/the-book/

The 9 key factors identified were:

Changing your diet
Taking herbs and supplements
Taking control over your treatment
Having a social support structure
Releasing suppressed emotions
Following your intuition
Increasing positive emotions
Deepening your spiritual connection
Having Strong reasons for living
(ii) Survival hazards analysis in first recurrent breast cancer patients: seven-year follow-up:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3186895
(iii) Impact of stress on cancer metastasis: