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

Scan your body. Whether it’s before you wake up or before you go to sleep, take a moment to lie in bed with your eyes closed and think intently about each part of your body. Start at your feet, and slowly work your way upward, moving from your toes to your ankles, calves, knees, thighs, pelvic region, lower back, stomach, mid/upper back, chest, shoulders, arms, wrists, fingers, neck and head. Envision the blood flowing through your body. Concentrate on the areas where you hold the most tension, and try to relax them.

Home in on your hello. Be mindful when you greet loved ones. Look at their eyes, note their facial features and observe their body language. Listen and hear what they’re saying, without thinking of your to-do list. 

Focus on your feet. Retreat to a quiet spot in your home. Slowly walk back and forth and around in circles. Take special note of your feet—how they make contact with the floor, how one foot lifts before the other touches the ground, how your weight shifts, how the floor creaks with each step.

Mind your morning shower. You can find respite in the shower if you concentrate on what you’re doing right then and there. Use your senses: Listen to the peaceful sound of the water, feel the sensation of the water flowing over you, smell the shampoo and the soap, watch the suds flow into the drain.

Concentrate on brushing your teeth. Even the everyday event of brushing your teeth can be transformed into a mindfulness meditation. Observe how the toothpaste squeezes out of the tube and onto the toothbrush. Focus on the smell and on the feel of the toothbrush on your gums. Really taste the toothpaste and note the coolness of the water as you swish it in your mouth.

These are just a few examples of how you can incorporate mindfulness meditation into your daily routine. Get creative and come up with your own techniques. The more you meditate, the quicker you’ll start enjoying its health benefits.   

October 2012