Fighting cancer is emotional, stressful and exhausting.
The good news: Some cancer centers have found that meditation may counter these feelings and improve the lives of patients. They now offer it as an alternative treatment.
Let’s take a look at what meditation is and how it can benefit people with cancer.
Meditation uses different techniques to increase focus in order to achieve a clear mental state and calm emotions. It’s been practiced for thousands of years as part of many religious traditions and belief systems all over the globe.
Meditation takes place in quiet locations, either alone or with a group. It can be self-directed or guided by a coach. Steps are taken to clear the mind of negative thoughts about things that happened in the past and anxieties about what could occur in the future. This allows participants to focus on the present. The ultimate goal is to calm the mind and body so you can be present in the moment without distractions.
Reaching a meditative state might involve focusing on a sensation, such as breathing, or an object. Some people recite a verse or repeat a mantra over and over. Others are able to stay silent and let their mind go blank to slip into a meditative state.
Meditation provides many health benefits and it is known to enhance overall well-being. It’s been found to:
For cancer patients, meditation can:
Be aware: Meditation is safe for most people living with cancer. In some cases, patients may feel anxious or become disoriented when they practice it. Also, the effectiveness of meditation can vary among different patients.
Several well-known cancer centers offer meditation classes. These can be a great way to try out meditation and experience it’s benefits.
If your hospital or cancer center doesn’t offer classes, ask a medical professional or cancer specialist if he or she knows of any practitioners or classes in your area.
If you can’t locate anyone, you can learn and practice meditation at home using videos or online classes and sessions.