There is little consistent evidence that psychological coping styles play an important part in survival from or the recurrence of cancer, but a ‘fighting spirit‘ is commonly thought to influence outcomes.
On the flip side however, there is research, notably for people who have been given a cancer diagnosis, which shows that the ‘feeling of helplessness‘ has a major impact on health, which can often be the case when people ‘feel‘ that they have no control over their situation.
What does it mean to have a ‘strong fighting spirit‘ and is this something that can be developed or rediscovered?
Let’s firstly look at some definitions to help put this concept in perspective:
- ‘Fighting spirit is that will to live that goes beyond our normal physical limitations’.
- ‘Somebody whose heart and soul refuse to give up when going through a difficult time’
- ‘Courage and determination expressed in a willingness to fight or struggle’
- ‘Fighting spirit” is the will to persevere even when faced with difficult obstacles or opponents’
It does appear that we are all created with an innate ‘fighting spirit‘ as part of our survival mechanism, but in the modern world there is no real need to use it and therefore it remains dormant. However, it does appear that we can reconnect and rediscover this ‘inbuilt sense of power‘, as is taught in the world of martial arts, to better equip fighters to go into battle with their opponents.
‘Life is always worth fighting for and every day is a gift’
An excerpt from a book written by Cancer Psychologist, Andrew Kneier, who has devoted his career to helping patients master the many challenges and dilemmas that come with a cancer diagnosis, explains:
‘Some people feel powerless to influence the course of their illness yet it is more common for people to see it as a challenge that requires a strong fighting spirit’
It often takes extraordinary circumstances to reignite and mentally reconnect to find our inner strength, so that our ‘fighting spirit‘ can come to the fore when faced with adversity.
“When life rearranges itself unexpectedly in front of you. When familiarity and understanding vanish from beneath you. When logic and reason are no longer able to explain away the events unfolding around you. Hold on to the strength, hope and love inside you.” ~Author Unknown