Living with cancer blog

Relaxation can help relieve stress of having cancer

By Sheryl M. Ness, R.N. April 23, 2011

Relaxation therapies may help alleviate certain symptoms of cancer, relieve side effects of treatment, and improve your sense of well-being.

Many relaxation methods, such as massage therapy, meditation and guided imagery may be helpful in managing stress and anxiety. In addition, research studies show that relaxation techniques can lower blood pressure, reduce pain, and ease some side effects of chemotherapy.

Having cancer is stressful, so it may not be possible to eliminate all sources of stress. But you should consider the sources of stress that you can reduce. For example, ask for help with household chores, social responsibilities or work demands. Seek out effective strategies for coping with stress or simplify your life by saying "no" to the extra demands as much as possible.

Common relaxation techniques include:

  • Yoga
  • Tai chi
  • Listening to music
  • Exercise
  • Hypnosis
  • Guided imagery
  • Massage therapy

Relaxation techniques involve refocusing your attention from the stress to something calming.

For me, it's taking a daily hike and being mindful of the changes in nature around me. It might be the sound of the birds chirping, new leaves on the trees, the beauty of the clouds against the blue sky, or a neighbor, cat or dog that welcomes me along the way.

I return refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the day. Choose a relaxation technique that works best for you and incorporate it into your daily routine. Share with others through this blog what has worked for you.

With

Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.

Follow on Twitter: @SherylNess1

Join the discussion at #livingwithcancer.

Apr. 23, 2011