January is a month of sharp contrast – a time of looking forward and looking back. And too it is tempting to focus on the bad news – it’s what we’re wired to do. And let’s face it, there is a fair selection of bad news around at the moment. Disaster news is the no 1 category in the news interest index and yet, even though exposure to bad news can cause anxiety, mood disorders and raises stress levels we still seek it out. Images too change the way we process information. Bad news disrupts our thinking, it changes our brain and it creates stress – our cortisol levels rise.
We know that living with a brain tumour keeps us in the space of bad news. It robs us of our ability to see the positive in any aspect of our lives. The counter to this is that we need to feel safe if we are to think clearly, make informed decisions that are right for us, connect deeply with each other, play, find joy in the everyday. We need to be confident and feel able to have a difficult conversation, express painful feelings and repair ourselves.
So we looked at our most visited web pages in 2022 to see if the information shared would enable anyone living with a brain tumour to be in a space of feeling in control. Top of the list is brain tumour symptoms and diagnosis, at just under 22,500 visits, where people sought information to navigate a potentially life changing diagnosis. Next in popularity are the patient stories – people felt a need to be connected to a community. Third (and this always surprises us) is our resource about end of life care. Death is the one sure certainty for us all, yet we rarely discuss end-of-life care and what our final wishes would be. Having all the relevant information allows you to begin the conversation, make sure any requests are in place and ensure that you feel in control.
So let 2023 be the year when we go easy on ourselves, when we seek information that makes us feel resourced and resilient. Take a moment to breathe and think about all the good things that came our way in 2022. Dial up the good things and dial down the bad things. Positive news increases happiness and resilience. Give yourself a moment to list all the good things that happened to you in 2022. Make this your 2023 habit. Once a month, every month. What good things happened to you in January?