It’s a Choice: Enhance — or Kill — Your Joy This Holiday Season

It’s a Choice: Enhance — or Kill — Your Joy This Holiday Season

Living & Loving with Prostate Cancer
In November, Hallmark began the countdown to Christmas with special holiday movies. I’m a sucker for all the movies about a single, widowed or a divorced parent finding love during the holiday season. I’m not ashamed to admit I enjoy stories with happily-ever-after endings.

Deep in our hearts there is a strong desire to experience a Hallmark Holiday. That’s why I believe coping with prostate cancer during the holidays can dampen your experience of joy.

As I’ve observed my own behavior during the holidays, I’ve discovered what I call “joy killers” and “joy enhancers.”

Joy Killers:

* Clinging to the expectation you deserve a Hallmark Holiday while raging against your current circumstances.
* Trying to forget about your current reality is a great way to develop an obsession with your current reality.
* Withdrawing from friends and family.
* Using alcohol or drugs to numb your feelings.

Joy Enhancers:

* Treat yourself and others in your life with kindness, compassion, tenderness and love.
* Take time to acknowledge and grieve the losses you face this year as a result of cancer.
* Don’t push yourself or expect to do everything you are accustomed to doing. For example, you might not be physically or emotionally ready to go to the office Christmas Party or drive/fly long distances to be with family.
* Limit your activities to a few things you’ll truly enjoy.
* Spend time with the people you love.
* If you are able, do something nice for someone in need.
* Develop new holiday traditions you are able to enjoy.
* Spend time each day counting your blessings to enable you to develop an attitude of daily gratitude.
* Draw strength from your faith. If you do not believe in God, now is a good time to question that assumption.

Your capacity to experience joy and gratitude this holiday season is not dependent on your diagnosis or prognosis. It depends on your attitude, decisions and behavior. You can choose to experience joy and gratitude while coping with prostate cancer this — and every  holiday season.

Note: Prostate Cancer News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Prostate Cancer News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to prostate cancer.

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Rick Redner received his master’s degree in social work from Michigan State University. He has spent many years working as a medical and psychiatric social worker He is the author of the award winning book I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where's Yours? His second book Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Erectile Dysfunction and Penile Implants won the Beverly Hills International Book Awards in Men's Health in 2016.

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