Mindfulness support for cancer patients teaches you to be present. During treatment, we tend to focus on next steps. We forget about living in the moment. By learning awareness, you renew your appreciation of everyday things. Accepting your thoughts and feelings helps you recognize and cope with stress.
As a patient, mindfulness can even help with symptoms and treatment side effects. And, mindfulness support can:
- Relieve pain and stress
- Lower blood pressure
- Improve your sleep
- Reduce anxiety
- Boost memory
- Give you a sense of control
The Practice of Mindfulness
Living with cancer, chronic disease or comorbidity is not only taxing on the body but on the mind. Kim Penberthy, PhD, ABPP, speaks to her work in mindfulness-based therapies. View mindfulness transcript.
Mindfulness Support How-To
Anyone can learn how to be mindful. Several different ways to practice exist. If one method doesn’t work for you, try another.
Here's some ways to get started.
Take three deep breaths. With each breath, become aware of your body, thoughts and emotions. As you exhale, let go of the negative thoughts and emotions.
During treatment, you may not have been able to do something as simple as enjoying a meal. The next time you eat, stop for a moment and be aware of what you are experiencing and how your senses respond.
On a daily basis, list five things you are grateful for. Include simple things, like having warm clothes.
Look at a cloud or a flower for two minutes. Focus on it like you're seeing it for the first time. Pay attention to the details you wouldn’t normally notice.
Pick a song you’ve never heard and listen to it. Don't judge it. Allow yourself to experience the music. This will teach you how to hear without preconceived notions.
Don't rush through washing the dishes. Instead, notice every piece of the activity. Pay attention to the temperature of the water, the feel of the soap, the sensation of scrubbing a dish. By doing this, you may discover something you enjoy about this chore.
Helpful Meditation Tips
Remove barriers to a successful practice:
- Find a quiet place to practice.
- Let others know that you need this alone time.
- Set a daily time and task so that this becomes a habit.
- Be comfortable and find a relaxing space.
- Breathe deeply as you focus on your breath.
A mindful practice can change the way you respond to stress. But be patient with yourself. Mindfulness isn't something to master. Just practice.