A woman's head is reflected and faced back to back - one of the brains encompasses vibrant colorful flowers, while the other includes dark and wilted flowers


It turns out, I talk out loud to myself. It’s a habit I seldom notice unless my wife is in the room. It drives her nuts. She always thinks I'm talking to her.

So, I’ve tried my best to quit. That doesn’t mean I’ve stopped talking to myself, I just try to shut up about it. But the conversation still goes on silently in my mind.

Bad-mouthing myself

The thing is, I’ve noticed lately that I’m pretty hard on myself. I’d never talk to anyone else that way.

I wouldn’t call up a friend and, through grinding teeth, say, “You’re an idiot. What is it with you anyway? Can’t you do anything right? You stupid jerk.” Yet at one time or another, I’ve hurled those very words at myself.

Developing healthy habits after leukemia diagnosis

There’s a lot I do to try and stay as healthy as possible while fighting my leukemia. I eat well (okay, I sometimes eat well), I exercise, and I try to get enough sleep.

That should be good enough, right? After all, if I take better care of my body it should make a difference.

But there’s one organ in me that needs more than just a good diet and exercise No one knows how this hunk of grey matter generates our thoughts, but it’s those very thoughts that feed our mind, affect our attitude, and thereby contribute to our general health.

The problem is, our brain believes everything we tell it. Pretty soon, we start believing we really are of little value. What we think becomes what we are.

As Descartes once put it, “I think therefore I am.” He was talking about the nature of existence, but the quote still applies.

Which leads me to one of my favorite jokes:

So, Descartes walks into a bar. The bartender asks, “Would you like a beer?” Descartes answers, “I think not.” Then, poof, he disappears.

Where was I? Oh yeah, self-talk.

Learning to take it easy on ourselves

Many of us dealing with cancer have a certain amount of angst floating around in our heads. I mean, who wouldn’t? We have a potentially terminal disease for god’s sake.

The problem, though, is when we turn our inner worry and tension into self-flagellation.

It turns out, what we think, particularly about ourselves, has powerful effects on our lives. Okay, I’m not an oncologist or psychologist or any other ologist. I don’t even know if there are any studies on this. But I firmly believe our thoughts are a driving force behind our physical health.

So, we all, myself included, need to take it easy on ourselves. This is particularly hard for perfectionists. Luckily, I am not a perfectionist. (Damn, “ologist” isn’t a real word. Hemingway would never have used such a non-word. I should change it. No. Yes. No. Geez, what kind of a writer am I anyway? If I can’t do something right I shouldn’t do it at all.)

Oh, Sorry.

Gee, Jim, you’re really a nice guy and it’s okay to write “ologist.” No one minds.

Ahhh. I feel better now.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Blood-Cancer.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.