“Fear is imagination based for the most part,” says Jacqueline Wales, author, life coach, and Cinco Vidas expert. “It leads you to imagine the worst. You’re mind is on overdrive with, ‘Oh no, I’m going to lose my looks and feel all this pain and what about my family and I could die and…’ On and on with the worst-case scenario. Don’t listen to the gremlins in the mind. Reverse it. Think, ‘Right now my body is fighting these cells, and it’s producing new and healthy ones, and I can see what they look like. I can see a picture of me with all the hair on my head, and I’m thriving.’”
No stranger to fear herself, Jacqueline had a rough childhood growing up with an abusive, alcoholic father who eventually succumbed to throat and stomach cancer. Reeling from a young life of poverty and crippled self esteem, she spent years lost in destructive behaviors before making the decision to change her life. “I wrote The Fearless Factor because I know what that stuff is all about. That was my life. I made a choice to be healthy so my kids could be healthy.”
Now married for over 30 years with children, Jacqueline has devoted her life to helping others avoid the fear trap. “Ask yourself: How are your fears, your negativity, and your anxiety serving you right now? Can you make a different sort of investment?”
Changing your thoughts is the core message behind Jacqueline’s strategy. “Always question yourself. If you slip into negative thinking, ask, ‘Is that really the truth?’ The mind is always chattering, but most of it is jibberish. I call it the ‘yadda-yadda radio.’ It’s on 24/7, and it brings you down with every negative thought possible. Quieting that chatter is paramount to strength and healing.”
Jacqueline suggests meditation, positive-thinking seminars, and books and audio programs from inspirational authors and speakers such as Caroline Myss, Wayne Dyer, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Noah benShea, Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, and Dr. Martin Seligman. She also strongly recommends you get support. “Do not do this alone. It’s impossible. You need someone to listen to you; people in your life who can help you find balance when things get overwhelming.”
In the end, the key to getting past fear is to engage in its opposite: trust. “A lot of what fear is about is we don’t trust we’re going to get the right kind of outcome. Try not to get ahead of yourself. Trust in whatever power you believe in, and live in the present. You’ll get to the future in plenty of time, and by then, the answers and solutions will have all become clear.”
Jacqueline also says that we can regain some sense of control by remembering our power to choose. “Know that you have choices. You didn’t choose the cancer, but you can choose how to deal with it every day. When you’re feeling really anxious, sit down and take a few deep breaths. Concentrate on the breath, not the muddled thinking in your head, and choose to see an image of yourself as a healthy, whole human being.”
website. If you have ideas for handling fear when going through cancer-or when caring for someone who is-please share them with us.