top of page

A Gratitude Practice Can Support People Living With Cancer

Written by: Kathryn White, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Living with cancer has its challenges to say the least. Finding gratitude can be one of them. The overwhelm of the health situation, the trips to appointments and tests, and the sheer overwhelm and exhaustion both physically and mentally can make finding the good things in life difficult. However, many studies have found there are numerous benefits in making gratitude a lifestyle habit. This can be especially valuable to people living with cancer.

Here are five benefits cancer patients can gain from developing an attitude of gratitude.

Benefit No. 1 – More Patience

Research has found that people who feel grateful for the everyday things in their lives are more patient and better able to make sensible decisions, compared to those who don’t feel thankful on a daily basis. This is important to cancer patients as they are faced with both medical and everyday life decisions regularly. Patience and clarity can ease the decision-making process and allow the individual to feel calmer, which in turn supports their mental and physical health.

Benefit No. 2 – Improved Relationships

Feeling grateful for even the little things in life can have a positive impact on and improve numerous aspects of your relationships with friends and family. This includes stronger feelings of connectedness, which can often be difficult to feel, as cancer can be very lonely and isolating. Taking a few moments each day to feel grateful for what shows up in your life (ex. a sunny day, a hot bath, a walk in the woods, an outing with friends) can significantly help your state of mind and your relationship with others.

Benefit No.3 – Improved Sleep

Feeling grateful can help you sleep better and for longer. This is most likely because you have more positive thoughts before you go to sleep, which can help to soothe the nervous system, which is often highly active in cancer patients as they navigate chronic cancer-related stress. If you are going to make a daily gratitude list, or keep a gratitude journal, studies have shown that it is best to do this right before bed. This allows you to sink into bed reflecting on the good things in your life.

Benefit No.4 – Eases Depression

Gratitude is powerful. Cancer patients can sometimes have difficulty seeing good things around them when their life is based around tests, treatments, and surgeries, and then waiting for results. Recent studies have shown that by practicing the "three good things" exercise daily, you can see considerable improvements in depression and overall happiness, sometimes in as little as a few weeks. The activity prompts you to think of three good things or moments that happened during the day. These can be added to a gratitude list or journal, or just enjoyed in the moment for the joy they bring.

Benefit No5 – Gives You Happiness that Lasts

Numerous things can give you a boost of happiness, from a compliment to a smile. Unfortunately, these kinds of instant gratification can quickly disappear and leave you craving more. Gratitude, on the other hand, is something that can lead to a much more sustainable form of happiness because it isn't based in that immediate gratification, but rather a state of mind. If you take the time to regularly express gratitude and thankfulness for the things in your life, you are more than likely to see long-lasting happiness.

Gratitude doesn't take a lot of fancy equipment to practice, but can significantly change your life. Taking just a few minutes a day to show your thanks can have substantial benefits on both your mental and physical health.

To enjoy the many mental and physical benefits of gratitude all it takes is a little bit of introspection and perhaps also some support to get started. As a cancer support coach I support my clients in finding ways to bring gratitude into their life. The results in their outlook and their daily quality of life can be seen in our coaching sessions.

If you want to work with me personally, I have a 6 Month Cancer Support Coaching Program that I offer to help people living with cancer, whether you are actively in treatment or are moving into the next stages of reclaiming your life. Working with a Cancer Support Coach is the key to moving beyond just surviving and into THRIVING in life. Go to my website and grab all the details:

I am currently running a Free 3-day workshop, Thrive with Cancer: moving beyond just surviving, once a month so that individuals living with cancer can access my strategies, get to know me, and get some insight into what working with a Cancer Support Coach looks like. It is open to anyone who is living with cancer, is living life after cancer, or is a caregiver. You can register for my workshop here.

You can learn more about living life with cancer on my Living to Thrive with Cancer Podcast. Episodes are available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


Kathryn White, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine Kathryn White is a Cancer Coach with a passion for serving others. In 2015 Kathryn was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer. Almost 7 years later she is living a happy and healthy life which she attributes to her amazing medical team, her belief in her ability to rise above her diagnosis, significant lifestyle changes, and the love of her family.

Kathryn merges her experience with cancer with her former profession as a public school teacher to coach others living with cancer, and cancer survivors on how to reclaim their health and happiness. At the heart of her coaching is the belief that we are not our diagnosis and that with support it is possible to navigate a life with cancer.

As a trained teacher, Certified Nutrition Educator, 500 Hour Registered Yoga Teacher, and Certified Holistic Cancer Coach, Kathryn integrates nutrition, movement, mindfulness, and other healing modalities into her coaching. The integration of these modalities truly makes Kathryn's Cancer Coaching a body, mind, and spirit focused process.

Kathryn has taken her experience and knowledge and shared it with others through workshops and speaking events, where she strives to inspire others to make lifestyle changes that can build health and prevent dis-ease in the body. She is the host of The Living to Thrive Podcast, which is focused on educating people on how to be more health-full and stress-less. Kathryn has built her life with cancer around the mantra: Live to Thrive.



  • linkedin-brainz
  • facebook-brainz
  • instagram-04


bottom of page