Dr. Itami’s Meaningful Life Therapy Guidelines for People Affected by Illness

1) Be active in the treatment of your illness and the recovery of your health.

2) Set short-term and meaningful purposes and take daily steps to work with what you love and what is important to you.

3) Do something positive for the benefit of others and contribute to other’s well-being. Help yourself by helping others. (not at the expense of your health)

4) Learn to co-exist with uncertainty and to cope effectively with anxiety and fear, including the fear of death.

5) Acknowledge death as a natural event for all of us, and prepare for one’s death as practically as possible.

Dr. Jinroh Itami is a physician, researcher and visionary who has devoted his life to the well-being of cancer patients. He has taken them to climb Mont Blanc and Mt Fuji; travelled to the North West Territories to see the Aurora Borealis and inspired patients at home to live active, creative, purposeful lives while looking for moments of good humour and ways to be helpful to others. He pioneered understanding the importance of exercise and the creative arts to promote the well-being of cancer patients.

What is also true is that these guidelines are available and helpful to anyone dealing with a difficult illness, including caregivers. They are universal. With a debt of gratitude, I pass on his principles of living well with illness to others. A deep bow to Dr. Itami, who is now in his 80s and persists as a dedicated advocate for his cancer patients.