What Is Mindfulness and How Can It Help Cope With Cancer?


“The process of healing begins when we mindfully breathe in.” – Thich Nhat Hahn

What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness in simple terms refers to the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.

Mindfulness is an overall mental state that is achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment – away from the past and the future. Mindfulness has to do with acknowledging and accepting one’s thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations without judgment. 

Mindfulness Practices

There are many forms of mindfulness practices such as meditation, breathing exercises, visualizations, journaling, sensory exercises, creativity (to name a few). By practicing mindfulness techniques you begin to focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation.

In fact, mindfulness practices serve as highly therapeutic and beneficial to one’s mental, physical, and emotional state, especially when going through your cancer journey.

Through the practice of mindfulness, you begin to fully relax the body and mind, in term helping you reduce stress. Mindfulness techniques are a great tool to use to help you cope with cancer treatment and a cancer diagnosis.

Why Practice Mindfulness?

Mindfulness can assist you with regaining your overall help. It helps you to become fully present in the moment, aware of where you are and where you are going. Many times we are operating on autopilot – and fear. Fear keeps us in a negative mental state, which can lead to increased anxiety and depression. Mindfulness exercises take us out of this emotional hijack to better cope with life’s stresses, such as cancer.

Mindfulness and Cancer

It is said that mindfulness practices for cancer can create better outcomes for patients by helping them focus on the present moment, taking them away from the worry of the unknown that cancer brings.

Stress and anxiety occurs when you are thinking of what has happened to you in the past, and/or what is going to happen in the future. Constantly thinking and worrying about your cancer diagnosis can lead to increased stress, depression, and deterioration of overall health.

By practicing mindfulness for cancer patients, you begin to not think about what is going to happen in the past or the future. And instead, can observe what is happening right here and right now in this moment.

Connecting Back To Yourself

Mindfulness for cancer patients can assist you in connecting within yourself – back to who you truly are. Many times we can abandon ourselves and forget to take care of our basic needs.

We tend to put others before ourselves, which can leave us feeling drained. It is very important to fill your own cup first before others. We cannot give to others which we do not have ourselves.

Through mindfulness practices, you begin to fill your own cup and self worth, even while going through cancer treatment. Just taking a few moments to yourself to practice meditation and to mindfully breathe, you begin to connect back to YOU. Your cup becomes more full and life tends to become more positive and bright.

Taking a moment to pause to practice mindfulness for just a few minutes at different times throughout the day can help you feel much better, and heal much faster, from cancer.

Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness:

  • Reduces stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Improves sleep
  • Reduces chronic pain
  • Improves concentration
  • Assists with weight loss
  • Restores emotional balance
  • Increases resiliency

How to Practice Mindfulness:

  • Take three deep breaths
  • Practice Meditation and/or Yoga
  • Give gratitude
  • Observe your thoughts and feelings
  • Take a mindful walk
  • Journaling

To kick start your mindfulness journey, make sure to check out the OncoPower App for guided meditations, affirmations, and deep breathing exercises.

On the app you can also find cancer care specialists, treatment recommendations, and a cancer support community.

Our Mindfulness coach and Meditation teacher, Natalie Thomas, is also available for 1:1 support. CLICK HERE to sign up for your free meditation class with Natalie. 

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