Stress Management. . . for Cancer Survivors and Their Loved Ones
Living with a serious disease is difficult. Cancer patients and their families face many challenges. Coping is less stressful when people understand stress and have helpful information and support services.
Stress is the body’s physical and emotional response to a challenging situation. The stress response is automatic. The mind becomes alert, muscles tighten, heart rate and blood pressure increase, perspiration may increase and the stomach may feel uneasy. Stress can become harmful if it is continuous over a long period of time because it diverts energy needed for healing.
Symptoms of Stress
Reduce Your Stress
Stress reduction begins with strengthening the body and the mind. Stretching, routine exercise, massage, relaxation techniques, good nutrition, conversation, positive thinking, goal setting, paced activity, helpful information and supportive people can help reduce stress while coping with cancer. Feelings are never “right” or “wrong;” it is important to handle your emotions in a way that is best for you.
Get Physical! Find an exercise that fits your style, health and ability; then
stick to it.
- Walk–Even short walks are effective, and a walking partner can keep you motivated and energetic.
- Exercise –Stretching and rhythmic exercise strengthens and relaxes muscles, relieves temporary depression, increases energy and boosts self esteem. Regular low to moderate exercise at an ideal pace is effective.. When it is possible to talk, but not sing, during exercise the pace is probably correct. Make a plan and remember that exercise should become a ritualistic and relaxing part of your day. Check with your physician if you are in treatment for disease before you start.
Relaxation techniques can greatly reduce stress. Use what works best for you.
- Deep breathing relaxes muscles. Inhale slowly and through your nose, hold the breath for a few seconds, think RELAX and exhale through your mouth; repeat the exercise several times. Make this a routine.
- Clear your mind–Allow 5 to 10 minutes daily to practice clearing the mind. Sit comfortably and loosen any tight clothing. Close your eyes and begin to breathe slowly and deeply. Focus on something peaceful. Stretch your body when you are finished.
- Use mental cues–tell your body how to feel. Tell yourself that your left arm is warm and heavy. Try to feel it getting warmer and heavier. Repeat the same suggestion for the other arm, each leg and so on. Visualize feeling warm and relaxed. Picture a quiet setting.
The body needs the proper rest and nutrition to cope with stress.
- Enjoy leisure time. Don’t cram your days. Get enough sleep.
- Eat a healthy diet. The body uses more nutrients faster and less efficiently when we are stressed. A healthy diet helps us cope. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water–it rebalances the system.
|Taking care of your emotions is critical. The following are tips endorsed by the National Cancer Institute:|
LAUGH AT LEAST ONCE A DAY. Laughter can relieve some of the physical effects of stress.
Healthy Living Article List
|For Women||For Seniors||Fighting Cancer||Your Heart||Emergency 101|
|Work Smart||Bones, Muscles and Joints||Nutrition News||Advice From Our Docs|