Cancer is a damaging disease. Any type of cancer wreaks havoc and can quickly spread to other parts of the body without timely treatment. And cancer treatment is notoriously difficult and typically involves radiation treatment, chemotherapy, and intense medications that can entail a host of negative side effects.
While there is a wide variety of treatments, therapies, and medications available for cancer recovery, many people find success with alternative therapies. While it may take a leap of faith for people to try using the power of their minds to fight cancer, learning how to meditate and practicing mindfulness exercises can help overcome the negative effects of cancer treatments and help boost the overall recovery process.
What Is Mindfulness?
“Mindfulness” is a word to describe one’s awareness of and presence in the moment. This can be difficult in today’s fast-paced, high-stress world, but practicing mindfulness can help overcome the stress of cancer recovery. One of the best ways to practice mindfulness is through mindfulness meditation.
Some people may find it difficult to meditate, and mindfulness exercises help improve the quality of meditation and boost its healing properties. During meditation, it is easy for intrusive thoughts and stress to distract a person, and mindfulness exercises teach a person to bring his or her attention away from these thoughts and back to the present moment. Like most meditations, the breath is the anchor for most people to push away distractions and focus on the moment. Slow, controlled breaths help balance a person during meditation and provide something simple on which he or she can focus and remain in the moment.
Meditation And Mindfulness In Cancer Treatment
Cancer involves a tremendous amount of stress. The heartbreaking news of a cancer diagnosis, starting treatment, and dealing with the symptoms of the disease and the side effects of chemotherapy create an overwhelmingly negative experience. Over time, the physical effects of cancer and treatment can take a toll on the mind. Stress and a negative attitude have a measurable effect on healing, ultimately creating a destructive cycle that makes it harder to fully recover.
Mindfulness meditation can help a person manage these issues more effectively. While it is much easier said than done, learning how to effectively meditate can be a tremendously profound experience. Ultimately, meditation promotes healing throughout the body,* especially with the psychological effects of cancer.
The Human Body Learns At The Cellular Level
Meditation’s effects increase over time as you become more adept at focusing on the moment and eliminating distractions. Our bodies’ cells adapt to changing environmental factors, nutrition intake, exposure to harmful substances and pathogens, and our mental outlook. Eventually, your whole body will benefit from the stress reduction that meditation offers down to the cellular level.
The cells in your body respond to stress. When you experience acute stress, different areas of the body increase their function while others decline in performance. Serious stress can increase cortisol levels, the body’s natural stress hormone. This is a natural defense mechanism to kick-start the “fight or flight” response and help a person avoid danger, but it can also create serious physical problems after long periods of severe stress. Eventually, organ function may decline, the immune system may struggle to fight off minor infections and diseases, and serious psychological problems may arise and interrupt the efficacy of cancer treatment.
The Power Of The Human Mind
Many people have trouble starting to meditate. They may not believe it will work, or they may set their expectations too high and stop trying if they believe it to be ineffective. Patience and consistency are crucial if you want to get the most out of meditation, and visualization tools** are available if you want some guided assistance with your meditations.
Visualization And Healing
As you hone your meditation skills, you can focus your attention on specific parts of the body. Concentrate deeply on the parts of your body causing you the most problems and focus your energy toward those points. It may sound farfetched to some, but the mind has the power to speed up the healing process through willpower and clarity of thought. While you cannot physically destroy cancer cells or tumors with your mind, you can limit the stressful effects that cancer and treatment can have on your body and improve your overall healing experience.
Finding Help With Alternative Therapies
Synergy Lifestyle Medicine offers a wide range of alternative treatments and holistic therapies for several types of cancer, including breast cancer, lung cancer, lymphoma, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, and more. Treating cancer is a multifaceted process. Conventional treatments may help eliminate cancer cells and address the symptoms of the disease, but it’s rare to find a conventional treatment center that offers a comprehensive selection of treatments that provide relief for the entire body and mind.
Cancer treatment is almost always a balancing act between preserving healthy cells while destroying cancerous cells. Some cancers require surgical procedures, chemotherapy, and a host of other medical treatments and undergoing such extensive care is taxing. Learning mindfulness and meditation is a free and simple way to overcome the side effects of cancer. Once you become adept at controlling your thoughts, you can start focusing your energy on healing and manage stress in healthier ways.
Learn more about the cancer treatments we offer and the other therapeutic services available to patients with various cancers and chronic conditions.