Mindfulness as a self-care strategy for people affected by cancer is sometimes overlooked, but it is a critical part of managing stress levels and overall well-being. It helps people cope with the elevated stress levels that often accompany a cancer diagnosis. Prioritising your own health and well-being during a cancer journey can help to manage the adverse effects of treatment and symptoms.
Some simple self-care practices may be just looking after the basics, including eating well, sleeping well, moving your body, getting outside if possible and taking regular breaks. Finding activities that give you energy and help you to relax and re-energize all have positive benefits.
Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you're sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress. Mindfulness helps people respond rather than react to distress, to communicate better and get the support that they need.
If you think mindfulness might be useful for you or someone you know, there are a lot of people who can help. Anyone can go and see a trained psychologist at the Cancer Society by calling 0800 CANCER or visiting their website www.cancernz.org.nz . Their service is free and it's available to anyone.
There are also a number of really useful apps including Headspace and Calm. For more information, have a look at an episode of Canopy TV, Under the Canopy - Mindfulness.
Increasing your capacity for mindfulness supports many attitudes that contribute to a satisfied life. Being mindful makes it easier to savour the pleasures in life as they occur, helps you become fully engaged in activities, and creates a greater capacity to deal with adverse events