5 Steps Sean Swarner Took to Beat Cancer & Scale the Highest Peaks

sean swarner

“I want to be normal again. I want to live.”  I was 13 when I first learned about the mind-body connection after being diagnosed with Stage IV Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I wondered what I had done to deserve this, why me? Why do I only get 90-days to live at 13? While I knew most things were out of my control, there was one thing that I could control… my thoughts! The way I saw it, I had two options: fight for my life or give up and die. I’d later be faced with the same dilemma as I worked to summit Mount Everest — among other feats. From my hospital bed on, I knew that I could achieve anything if I had hope and visualized myself succeeding. 5 Steps to Utilize Visualization to Transform Your Life 1. Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life As soon as I shifted my way of thinking, I transformed my death sentence into another hurdle on my path. I was going to make it. I was going to live. By changing my thoughts, I was redefining my reality. While my body may have been saying, “give up,” my mind said, “go on.” I could do this! Altering my thoughts, changed my perspective, which created a different feeling/emotion inside of me, leading to a different action. What I did wasn’t unique. All I did was activate my mind-body connection. And you can too. The next time you find yourself telling yourself that you are not enough or that you cannot achieve your dreams, stop. Inhale: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Exhale: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Then transform your inner dialogue. 2. One Step at a Time I spent about a year battling cancer (the first time). While receiving treatment, I gained 70 pounds and lost every strand of hair on my body. I lost myself for a while. I lost my life for a while. But I never lost sight of my goal — winning the 50m breaststroke. Having goals keeps your mind on the future. Having goals keeps you alive just another day. Since the 50m breaststroke was a lofty goal, I did what I could and set a smaller goal — running a 5k race. In between treatment, I ran around the neighborhood. I finished the 5k, dead last, but I finished it. And eventually, I not only swam the 50m breaststroke, but I won! In the process, my lungs screamed for air. Just one more step. Just one more stroke. Later, when I summited Everest, I realized that it was is the same as finishing the 5k or 50m— one step at a time. 3. Relax  I began my journey to Everest the same way I started everything in my life: I visualized myself on the top and successful before I even began. Before even beginning my training, as I lay down to sleep, I relaxed my body and more importantly, my mind. I took a few deep breaths in my belly […]…read more