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Making Mindful Changes

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Overcoming cancer is a life-changing experience. For Anita Mahaffey, it allowed her to re-think her lifestyle. Through exercise, healthy foods, and a positive attitude, Anita is helping to reestablish her sense self, while encouraging others to do the same. Anita may have suffered from the damaging effects of cancer physically, but she is stronger than ever now in every other aspect of her life with her new found identity. 

By Anita Mahaffey

After beating cancer three times and losing my left eye and eyelid in the process, I decided that my only insurance policy would be to be more mindful and live life in the best way possible.

It was not in my nature to sulk in a corner and hide behind my prosthetic face. Instead I decided to accept the fact that I was going to have to live with this deformity, but also decided to make some serious changes knowing that I never wanted to suffer through another bout of cancer in my lifetime.

After accepting myself and working on the best prosthesis that I could get, I have slowly become more mindful about my body, my words and my thoughts. I try to nourish my soul on a daily bassis. This has been my key to staying healthy and balanced. Let me explain some of the mindful changes that I've made.

A Positive Procedure

I always stay positive and take steps toward any problems that I might have. Inaction causes worry and worry causes me to waste precious energy. This is a mindset that I have chosen to make part of my being since I choose to use my energy for positive purposes.

Paying It Forward

I start my day by thinking how I can make life good for those around me. I try to commit to at least 10 random acts of kindness each day. By doing this, I'm also encouraging those around me to do the same. When those around me are positive and happy, it comes back to me in a big way.

Working It Out

I exercise each and every day. When I'm tired or worn out, I listen to my body and go on a mellow walk or practice restorative yoga. When I'm more energetic, I go on a long hike, run or practice Pilates or strength yoga. The key point is that I've committed to exercising every day for the rest of my life.

Naturally Delicious

I eat close to nature and try to stick with natural unprocessed foods fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grain breads and cereals, nuts, lean proteins and low fat dairy. I don't drink soda, just water, tea, coffee and an an occasional glass of wine or champagne. Life is a continuous celebration which should never be squandered.


Chocolate. I love chocolate, so I indulge in a little bit each day, but always just an ounce or two. Around 4 p.m. each day, I have my chocolate, my latte and I think about all the things that I'm grateful for, especially my health.

Finding Passion

I do what I love and I love what I do. If I don't love it anymore, I don't do it anymore. This philosophy is simple. My passions include my family, my business Cool-jams, a wicking pajama company which manufactures pajamas for night sweats and temperature regulation, public speaking, mentoring young business women, reading, volunteering with Voices For Children and exercise.

My hope is to inspire and encourage others to accept the things in their lives that cannot be changed, yet still have the courage to make mindful, positive efforts to change the problems/issues that are in their control. This simple philosophy has allowed me to stay energetic, happy and healthy despite the difficulties I've faced.

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About the author



Identity is a National online magazine that empowers women to Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.™ Through a hand-selected team of writers and expert Q & A columns, our mission is to empower women to get all A’s in the game of life by accepting, appreciating, and achieving. We believe that once you accept a situation or circumstance and show gratitude and appreciation for what you currently have, it is then that you can achieve at a greater level within yourself and your life.