What is one of the biggest daily challenges of a cancer patient? It’s not the knowledge that they have cancer – although that is shocking and unnerving enough. It’s not the announcement that your doctor made telling you that you have Stage 3 or Stage 4 Cancer.
The real challenge is to calm and relax the mind so that we don’t feel anxious or stressed out to know we do have cancer.
In short, how to live our everyday lives feeling relaxed and composed while refusing the urge to bury our heads in the ground and just wait for the sky to fall on us! Because for a lot of cancer patients, a declaration of you being sick with cancer is like receiving a death sentence.
So what does a cancer patient do? He/She meditates.
Fortunately, we are still blessed with the knowledge of Mindfulness Meditation.
Mindfulness Meditation – The Solution to our Health Problems?
People meditate because they want to keep calm, not feel anxious and gain some clarity, understanding and peace of mind about their situation. Among cancer patients, this is a very important activity.
We cannot think well or clearly about our situation – meaning our disease – if we are all stressed out and at our wit’s end. So Mindfulness Meditation is very important to a cancer patient’s life.
How is Mindfulness Meditation Different from Other Types of Meditation? How do we practice it?
Mindfulness Meditation is the state of being aware of the present moment of your daily life. A technique that Mindfulness meditators use to remain in the present moment is to observe the ins and outs of your breathing. Slow breathing and monitoring of your breath keeps you focused on what is at hand.
Mindfulness Meditation is no different from the other practices of Meditation. Each Meditation technique seeks to quiet the mind by focusing only on one thought at a time. The traditional method of Meditation is to empty the mind of all disturbing and time-consuming thoughts – easier said than done. So the trade-off is sometimes just to focus on one thing – which in Mindfulness Meditation is one’s breath. Sometimes, a Sanskrit mantra is given by your Meditation Mentor to keep your mind focused on one thing.
But the biggest benefit of Mindfulness Meditation right now is a gentle awareness and acceptance of one’s thoughts and emotions, without being reactive to them all the time (this usually triggers the anxiety and stress, particularly about issues that cancer patients have to face on a daily basis). The objective is to allow these thoughts to occur but to let them pass, and to be more compassionate and forgiving of yourself.
Mindfulness Meditation’s Benefits to Cancer Victims
This is an area of medicine that is still being studied and tested now – is it really true that Mindfulness Meditation can positively impact cancer patients? Many studies have been conducted on the relation between Meditation and Cancer. One of the more known benefits is reduced stress and anxiety on the cancer patient. Some cancer patients experience insomnia or lack of appetite because of what they have to face on a daily basis. Mindfulness Meditation helps in these situations.
One of the latest studies on Meditation and its effect on Cancer patients was revealed just a few years ago. A group of researchers managed to discover that meditation complemented by yoga and constant attendance of a cancer support group was able to keep a patient’s telomeres (the protein element on the tips of our DNA chromosome) intact despite invasive cancer treatment like chemotherapy (chemotherapy has been reported to destroy a patient’s DNA).
What are your thoughts on Mindfulness Meditation as a panacea for the effects of cancer on cancer patients?
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