Mindfulness and meditation encourage us to focus our minds on the present.
Passing thoughts are seen and acknowledged, but we remain in a calm headspace during a session of mindfulness meditation.
For breast cancer survivors, mindfulness meditation can potentially relieve stress, anxiety, and fatigue.
Research has shown that consistently practising mindfulness meditation can have numerous positive effects for breast cancer survivors.
Interested in getting started with meditation and mindfulness? Learn more about introducing mindful meditation into your routine with this guide.
What Are Mindfulness And Meditation?
Mindfulness meditation is a form of meditation that focuses on exploring thoughts and emotions in a tranquil environment.
Instead of completely clearing your mind, as is often the aim of meditation, mindfulness meditation encourages staying engaged with your mind.
This can assist you in recognizing your emotions.
During mindfulness meditation, you are encouraged to slow down your thoughts.
Start by finding a peaceful environment where you can sit comfortably and focus (meditation).
Throughout the process, you focus on the now, letting go of negativity and acknowledging thoughts and emotions without judgement (mindfulness).
At the end of a session, you should feel calmer both physically and mentally.
Mindfulness meditation is recommended as a method for dealing with stress, depression, anxiety, fluctuating moods, and fatigue.
The benefits of mindfulness meditation have been widely studied.
The best way to experience the benefits of mindfulness meditation is to make it part of your routine.
Frequent practice will make it easier for you to slip into the mindfulness headspace.
This will not only make your meditation more successful but can also help you use these techniques in everyday life.
If you struggle to find a minute to yourself, it’s possible to fit mindfulness meditation into a busy routine.
How Can Mindfulness Meditation Benefit Breast Cancer Survivors?
Breast cancer treatment is a highly stressful time for any woman. At the end of a successful treatment, these feelings of stress and fear don’t just fade into the background.
It’s normal for breast cancer survivors to struggle with depression and anxiety.
After the emotional rollercoaster of treatment, the emotional and physical crash can be hugely disruptive.
It’s also perfectly normal to feel anger and resentment following the shock of cancer treatment.
The physical changes left by cancer treatment can cause stress and concern, and you may feel less comfortable in your body than before diagnosis.
All these feelings are normal, but that doesn’t mean they’re easy to deal with.
Following the successful treatment of breast cancer, it can be hard to find the space to deal with complex emotions.
You might even feel guilty for experiencing negative feelings following your successful treatment.
Mindfulness meditation can have many benefits for breast cancer survivors.
Focusing on calming the mind and acknowledging your feelings, mindfulness meditation can:
Mindfulness meditation encourages you to slow down both your mental and physical being.
It’s a moment in which you can step back from the everyday world, focus your thoughts, and remove that jumbled stream of panic that can plague stressful moments.
Frequently practising mindfulness meditation means you can use it throughout your day.
If things start to get on top of you, take a step back to reassess and centre yourself.
How many of us have been kept up at night due to a brain that won’t go quiet?
Swirling thoughts can make it impossible to settle, leading to fatigue the next day, increased stress, and a low mood.
Practising mindfulness meditation before bed slows down the mind. You can find the calm and tranquillity you need for a truly good night’s sleep.
Help Relieve Symptoms Of Anxiety And Depression
Studies have shown that mindfulness meditation can be particularly helpful in relieving symptoms of depression in younger breast cancer survivors.
Consistent and focused practice of mindfulness meditation can help with even long-term treatment of depression and anxiety.
Disrupt Negative Thought Patterns
While you were undergoing treatment, you had to consistently face stressful and scary situations.
Even with successful treatment, these feelings won’t immediately go away. It’s so easy to get trapped in a negative thought spiral during the day-to-day.
The calming and focusing effect of mindfulness meditation can help you redirect your thoughts when negative patterns take hold.
You can transition yourself into a more positive headspace, helping you keep control of your moods.
Provide A Safe Space To Acknowledge Your Feelings
Surviving breast cancer (see also: Is Inflammatory Breast Cancer Hereditary?)is something to celebrate, but the treatment is likely to have left you feeling physically and mentally compromised.
However, in a time that feels like it should be filled with positivity, it can be hard to find a space to deal with the more complex emotions that arise post-treatment.
Mindfulness meditation encourages us to acknowledge our thoughts.
Support Your Immune System
Stress can play havoc with the body, especially the immune system. Practising mindfulness meditation can help lower stress levels, which in turn can support your immune system.
Practising Mindfulness Meditation
Interested in getting started? Anyone can have a go at mindfulness meditation! We recommend setting aside a few minutes every day to practise mindfulness.
Just before bed is an excellent way to calm the body for sleep, but choose a time that works for you.
Find A Comfortable Place To Sit
If you’re uncomfortable during meditation, you won’t be able to focus on anything other than the discomfort.
Before you start, change into loose and breathable clothing. You can sit on a chair or the floor — whatever works for you.
Your body should be relaxed. Keep your back straight, but not stiff. If you’re on the floor, cross your legs and rest your arms on your knees.
If you’re on a chair, rest your feet on the floor and your arms on your lap.
Follow Your Breathing
When you’re in a comfortable position, close your eyes and start to feel your breath as it moves through your body.
Focus on the feeling of each breath moving up through your chest and out your nostrils, how it feels colder on the inhale and warmer on the exhale, and how your belly expands and contracts.
Acknowledge Your Thoughts
Your primary focus should be on your breath. This is what you want to keep returning to throughout meditation.
However, it’s difficult to stay completely focused on your breathing.
When thoughts pop up, don’t panic! Simply acknowledge them and let them pass on by.
Then, return the focus to your breathing. Repeat this until your mind is calmer.
At the end of your meditation session, open your eyes and look around. Feel yourself return to your body and notice how you feel both inside and out.
When stress strikes again, try focusing on your breath to return to this feeling.
Consistent practice of mindfulness meditation (see also: Can Meditation Improve Fertility? (Best Practices Explained))can be highly beneficial for breast cancer survivors.
Spend a few minutes every day with the calm and serenity of meditation to help reduce stress and fatigue.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re struggling to engage with mindfulness meditation, consider using guided meditation.
Guided meditation sessions can be found online. Alternatively, look for resources and classes in your area.
For beginners, 10 minutes a day should be enough to feel the benefits of meditation without losing focus.
When you’re comfortable with the technique, consider increasing your meditation time.