Managing Anxiety and Stress for Cancer Patients
We all know about the physical toll cancer can have on the body, but what about the mental implications it can have on one’s health? There are a lot of emotions to process when you find out you have cancer, which does not change when you are undergoing treatment. Not only is it emotional and exhausting, but it can be stressful as well. From coordinating appointments and treatments to the mental and emotional strain it can cause for both you and your family members, the stress can quickly mount up and get overwhelming.
It’s surprising to what extent diet, exercise and sleep affect your stress levels, so make
sure you are on top of your day with that. Meditation however, is extremely effective and has proven to have profound effects on stress and your physiological state of being. Breathing and pranayama are also very effective at keeping anxiety and stress levels low. Start your day with some quiet time where you can focus on your breath and rest your mind. You can start with just 5 minutes a day and work your way up. Do this just before sleeping as well, to help give a restful sleep.
5 Ways to manage stress
1. Spend time outdoors
Getting fresh air and a dose of greenery can be incredibly relaxing and refreshing. Outdoors is a great remedy for feelings of depression, anxiety and stress. Walking in nature can be therapeutic and can substantially improve your mental health.
2. Limit alcohol, caffeine and nicotine
Though often considered a stress-relieving vice, alcohol, nicotine and caffeine often cause sleeplessness and anxiety which contribute to the body’s stress response.
3. Ask for or accept help
Many people will offer to help in various ways when they hear you are ill. Even though it may feel awkward or uncomfortable, when someone asks if you need help to run errands or do the laundry, say “yes”. People would not offer if they did not want to find some way to help you. Just sharing some responsibility can be an extremely effective way to manage your stress.
4. Exercise and meditation
Physical activity will help you stay in better shape, keep your body active and energized and is known for improving mental health and eliminating stress. Exercise is truly one of your biggest tools in the fight against stress during cancer treatment. Meditation has proven to have a significant impact on one’s stress and anxiety. It helps induce relaxation into the body and has astounding results in managing stress for the long run.
5. Join a support group
Sometimes, even when friends and family have the best of intentions, they cannot understand what you are going through when you are undergoing cancer treatment. A support group can alleviate a lot of stress because you can talk about your cancer related issues with a group of people who truly understand. They may be able to offer helpful advice, guidance, a shoulder to cry on or more and this will drastically reduce your stress levels.
Tags: stress, anxiety, managing stress, cancer, cancer patients, support groups, exercise, meditation, sleep, diet