Mindfulness is often suggested for persons who are living with cancer to reduce high levels of anxiety and distress associated with diagnosis, treatment and anticipation of possible disease recurrence. Both the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the Society of Integrative Oncology (SIO) recommend meditation as part of a multidisciplinary approach to reduce stress, depression, and mood disturbance, and to improve the quality of life in cancer patients.
At our Cancer Center, we have found the practice of mindfulness to be very helpful for many of our patients. If you are new to mindfulness, there are resources through the Supportive Care Team to assist you in developing and understanding mindfulness. Please reach out to us or speak with your medical team about developing this meditation.
5 tips for practicing mindfulness during cancer treatment:
- Choose one daily activity to practice mindfully (e.g. eating your lunch, brushing your teeth or taking a shower). During this activity notice your breath and activity of your mind for a few moments.
- Take a pause throughout your day. During your day, find a moment to stop and take 5 deep breaths with your eyes closed.
- Kindly acknowledge a moment you’re experiencing a difficulty by putting your hand on your heart and saying, “I feel my pain. How can I be kind to myself in this moment?”
- Get curious about your emotions. Experiment with welcoming your emotions as they come, instead of pushing them away.
- Become aware when you’re in a rush. Ask yourself, “Do I really need to hurry?”
So as you begin this week, slow your breathing down, choose to be kind to yourself this day, accepting what is happening in you and around you. May this be a gentle week for you.
Note: SurvivorNet is a helpful resource that you may want to look at. The bulk of this post comes from their website.