Renowned sports psychologist Dr Rudi Webster's detailed account on what cancer-stricken Yuvraj needs to do to get back on track...
Yuvraj Singh should be happy to know that his cancer is curable and that he is in very good hands. The odds of success are in his favour. His chemotherapy will not just affect his cancer cells, but also his healthy cells and will give rise to side effects that can be quite distressing. Instead of allowing himself to get depressed by these side effects, he should change the way he looks at them. Each time he has one of these bad experiences he should see it as a signal that he is one step closer to getting better.
If he gets really tired in a cricket game and thinks that his tiredness is a sign that he has passed his best effort, he would slow down or stop. But if he sees his tiredness as a signal that he is only just approaching his best effort, he would find the energy to go on and overcome his tiredness. That is the power of perception.
Dr Rudi Webster
Yuvraj's thinking, attitude and mental state will be critical in his recovery because they will enable him to tap into the enormous healing powers that already lie within him. For centuries yogis have been telling us about the powerful effects of the mind on the health and function of the body.
Today, two new fields of science substantiate their claims - signal transduction and epigenetics. These fields have shown how our mind and the perception of our environment select, modify and regulate the activity of our genes and the fate of the trillions of cells in our body, particularly their function, survival and even their death.
These new fields have shown how our genes are constantly being remoulded by life's experiences and by our perception and interpretation of those experiences.
Yuvraj will change the path and trajectory of his recovery if he changes the limiting beliefs and values, and the negative thinking and mental pictures that are likely to hold him back. The values, thoughts and pictures that he puts in his mind today will determine what he becomes tomorrow.
A Cherokee chief once explained the power of self-talk to his grandson by telling him that each person has two wolves inside of him. One wolf represents positive thinking --love, kindness, hope, joy, optimism and happiness -- and the other negative thinking -- fear, anger, animosity, pessimism, sadness and despair.
When he explained to his grandson that these two wolves were in a constant battle the grandson asked which one would win. The chief simply replied, "the one you feed." Yuvraj must feed the right wolf. So too must the millions of people in India who want him to get better.
They could be an important part of his therapy. In that respect, he should build a positive and supportive network of friends and supporters to eliminate the negative energies and influences in his immediate environment. Forces like humour, comedy, laughter and light-heartedness should be important parts of his healing environment.
Instead of focusing on his illness, on what has been, and on what he fears Yuvraj should concentrate strongly on what he wants to become. Everyday, he should create and constantly replay images of himself as a healthy, kind, and loving person representing his country as one of its fittest and best cricketers. The more he imagines and replays these images, the quicker he will heal. His brain cannot differentiate between something that it experiences and something that it vividly imagines. His brain will not just create these images; it will do all in its power to make them a reality.
Finally, he should remember the powerful healing power of prayer, meditation and belief is a higher power. As soon as his chemotherapy is over, he should take control of his recovery and integrate the physical, mental, environmental and spiritual components of healing. Today we tend to focus too strongly on just the physical and in the process we forget or ignore the other vital parts of treatment. There is more to therapy than the knife and chemical substances.
It is fitting to end this article by asking Yuvraj to pay close attention to the wise words of the great Mahatma Gandhi: "Your beliefs become your thoughts; your thoughts become your words; your words become your actions; your actions become your habits; your habits become your values; your values become your destiny."
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