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Stress - II. Symptoms and Strategies
Cancer is an added stress!
Stress is an inherent component of a cancer diagnosis for both the patient and the family and friends. The mind's natural tendency is to run off in an infinite number of directions, each with its own stress and fear. This can cause strain that adversely affects the body, mind, and spirit.
Mindful meditation is the practice of bringing the mind into the finite experience of the present moment, of breathing and feeling the body as it breathes. This settles the mind and reduces stress. Mindfulness meditation does not require any special state of mind other than a presence with ourselves that is honest and direct. Even if we are anxious or frightened, we respond to ourselves in a soothing way. We can respond with kindness, concern, and even peace.
Stress reduction techniques, such as self-hypnosis, yoga, biofeedback, meditation, tai chi, qi gong, acupuncture, acupressure, healing massage, or keeping a journal cultivate inner peace and may even benefit your immune system. Some of these techniques may be unfamiliar to you. Biofeedback training can help a patient alter physiological responses, such as the stress response and its immunosuppressive effects. By electronically monitoring these responses, the patient can get immediate feedback about small changes in his/her response. The patient learns to control how he/she react to stress. Tai chi is a gentle mind/body exercise program, which can strengthen muscles, improve coordination and balance, and promote peace of mind. Qi gong, which combines movement with meditation and breath awareness, strives for conscious control of the body's energetic system. Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine, which involves inserting very tiny needles into the body. It has been endorsed by the National Institutes of Health to reduce the symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and chronic pain. Using these and other relaxation techniques can be very helpful in improving your quality of life.
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