05/27/2014 09:58 am ET Updated Jul 27, 2014

Cancer and the Case for Gratitude

A doctor who studied hundreds of cancer patients said she found most of them suffered from some important emotional crisis before the disease set in and these people were unable to find effective outlets for their deep feelings and emotions.

Another doctor said 62 percent of his cancer patients told stories of loss, intense grief, depression and despair.

When I come across information like this, I realize how important it is to make a case for gratitude. Perspective is everything and gratitude is like a shaft of light in a dense forest. It helps us remember the big picture, but it also gives us fortitude of spirit.

When you make a commitment to embrace gratitude, you develop tremendous inner resolve to find your way to it despite the obstacles that stand in your way. Mind you, I am not making light of an emotional crisis or loss, intense grief, depression or despair. I'm not saying gloss over it with a smile of gratitude because true gratitude is deep, not some quick trick to gloss over anything.

When you live your life with a deep sense of gratitude, when you're "gratitude fit," you begin to embrace everything in your life as a lesson -- even the most difficult of circumstances. Gratitude will help you see there is a spot of good in everything and the challenge is finding that good. For instance, if you have cancer perhaps the spot of good is your determination to overcome it and help others with your experience. Perhaps you can give them that crucial outlet for their deep emotions.

My friend told me once that when she found out she had cancer, she thought it was the most horrible thing imaginable, but then she realized it wasn't. She said without cancer, she would have never known the depth of love people had for her as they supported her through it with flowers, dinners and kindnesses of every kind imaginable. Now that she's on the other side it, she's using her experience to help others.

If you're suffering right now, can you find the spot of good in your struggle?

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