Stress Relief in 5 Minutes—or Less!

With mindfulness meditation, you're just minutes away from reducing the stress that having metastatic cancer can bring. Here’s how.

Susan Amoruso

Meeting work deadlines. Making treatment decisions. Worrying about your latest scan results. When you’re living with metastatic cancer, you have to deal with the garden-variety stressors—and then some.

While you can't fully eliminate stress, you can learn to tame tension levels and find your inner calm. One path: mindfulness meditation. An essential part of Buddhist tradition, the technique focuses on bringing your attention to the present moment—whether you’re folding laundry or chopping onions. Having a heightened awareness of the here and now allows you put aside thoughts of the past and future, and the result is impressive: reduced stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure and enhanced immune function.

In fact, researchers at the University of California–San Francisco found that schoolteachers who took an eight-week course in mindfulness training were less anxious and depressed and had a greater ability to face a stressor than those in a control group.

Best of all, mindfulness meditation doesn’t require a big time commitment. You can incorporate it into your daily routine—while you’re walking, showering or just hanging out with family and friends. 

5 more ways to be mindful with metastatic cancer
Here are five exercises that take five minutes each. Don’t worry if your mind wanders to hospital bills or bone scans—that’s perfectly normal. The trick is to acknowledge these thoughts and then quiet your mind by switching back to the meditation at hand.

October 2012