4 Steps to Finding Hope

Louise Lubin is a licensed clinical psychologist with 40 years of experience. She shares a tool to work towards finding hope from her book, Your Journey Beyond Breast Cancer: Tools for the Road. Below is the transcription from her video.


Hi, I’m Louise Lubin, and I’ve had the privilege as a psychologist to work with women with breast cancer for 40 years. Today I want to talk to you about hope. Obviously, what each of you has as your hopes and dreams are as unique and individual as each of you.

However, what’s hope? Hope is a way of thinking and believing that you have the power to create change in your life. Hope is like a muscle that requires exercise. Hope’s been called a verb because it requires action. Of course, what you hope for has to change as life circumstances change. But we all need hope, and we all need tools to help us maintain that hope after a diagnosis like cancer.

One of the tools in my book, Your Journey Beyond Breast Cancer, is from Dr. Rick Hanson. It’s called “Take in the Good.” Each of our brains is wired to anticipate the worst, and we worry about things—it’s all very normal. However, negative experiences tend to stick like Velcro, whereas positive experiences tend to be more like Teflon. We easily forget them.

So, we have to work because we can rewire our brain. We have to work at creating the connections that allow us to hold onto more positive experiences, which bring a sense of hope.

I want you to think about the word “heal.”

  • H of heal means have a positive experience. Create a small daily pleasure. It could be something as simple as listening to the birds or having a time to create, watching a child do something adorable. Something small, but allow yourself to find a positive experience.
  • The E in heal is enrich that experience, meaning you want that experience to soak into your body. You may want to lower your shoulders or relax your face or breathe deeply but allow the experience and the sense of it in your body and take an extra 10, 20, even 30 seconds to let it into your body and experience it through your body.
  • The A in heal is absorb it. Really savor it, and bring that experience into your body.
  • The L is to link that experience—if you can. When you’re having a tough time, try to remember parts of that positive experience and the way it felt inside your body.

This is not a one-stop fix. We have to keep trying and trying to rewire our brains to be able to maintain and hold onto those positive experiences. But I hope this is a helpful one for you, and I wish you all the best as you move forward on your healing journey. Take care.

Read Louise’s three-part blog series on navigating fear and uncertainty with tools to harness fear and restore your mind, body, and spirit here.

National Breast Cancer Foundation is here for you and your loved ones. Whether you need support, education, or help during treatment, we have a team dedicated to getting you the help you deserve.

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