Receiving a breast cancer diagnosis is a shocking and fearful moment, which can easily become overwhelming and stressful with concerns about treatment options, side effects, finances and so much more. Whether you are a newly diagnosed breast cancer patient, in process of treatment, or in the post-treatment period, you may be experiencing high levels of anxiety. It is totally natural to feel stressed; all we need to do is find a healthy way to cope with that stress.
Have you considered meditation?
Meditation is a widely accepted and utilized mind-body technique for creating and maintaining holistic health and wellness. It can help reduce stress, improve mood, improve quality of sleep, and reduce fatigue.
It has been shown that meditation helps create a positive mindset while reducing or eliminating negative feelings.
A study conducted by the Duke Cancer Institute demonstrated that meditation can ease pain and anxiety resulting from a breast cancer biopsy. In addition, according to Dr. Horowitz’s article “Health Benefits of Meditation: what the newest research shows”, newly diagnosed breast cancer patients who meditated on a regular basis had significant improvements on measures of mindfulness, depression, distress and quality of life. The article also indicated that survivors of breast cancer who meditate have significant improvements in psychological status and quality of life compared to survivors who do not meditate.
Want to start meditation?
Here are some easy tips to get started. First a quiet and calming location is an ideal place to start. Next, find a comfortable posture; you can either sit, stand or lay down. Please keep in mind that meditation is a focusing practice. When you are settled in, gently close your eyes and focus on your breath, your body, or on a positive word or phrase. You can start with just two to five minutes a day; if it goes well, you can slowly increase your mediation time.
During the process of meditation, you may be tempted to lose focus – don’t worry. Just gently observe and accept the thoughts that come and go as you complete your meditation. As you come close to the end of the meditation, open your eyes slowly and gradually. Take a few calm, deep breaths and enjoy the feeling of tranquility. Most importantly, enjoy yourself – this is a wonderful time for you to let go of stress and invite peace into your experience.
PS: Yoga is also a wonderful way to practice on focusing your mind. Please refer to our post “Benefit of Yoga”.