This amazing guest post was written by Holly Bertone, CNHP, PMP, and CEO of Pink Fortitude! We encourage you to check out her website here!
Whether you are practicing a healthy lifestyle to prevent cancer or you are actively fighting a cancer diagnosis, meditation should be an integral part of your day. The best part about meditation is that there are many different types and you can practice it wherever you are. Regardless of your faith or spiritual journey, meditation is an important component to achieving overall health and wellness.
Everyone has stress in their lives. Stress causes cancer-promoting inflammation in your body. Fortunately, it has been scientifically proven that meditation helps to reduce stress. For those who are fighting cancer, the normal daily stress is heightened. Cancer patients often deal with depression, anxiety, feelings of despair, financial issues, self-esteem issues due to body image, and relationship issues.
How do you meditate? Here are five examples.
5 Ways to Meditate
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was started in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn and is offered in over 200 medical centers and clinics around the world. It is traditionally taught by health professionals to create a partnership between the patient and medical team.
The technique uses both breath and body awareness, where you focus on your breathing, and focus your attention on your body starting at the toes and working your way up. This practice is great for beginners, even if you don’t have access to a teacher. It is helpful for anyone suffering from chronic pain, illness, and anxiety.
Transcendental Meditation (TM) was founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and uses a mantra or series of Sanskrit words. The mantra will vary from person to person, depending on factors such as birth year and gender. TM is a seated meditation. TM is helpful for those who are looking for more structure in their meditation.
Yoga Nidra is the Sanskrit phrase for yogic sleep. It is a restful, deeply relaxing practice. You can practice Yoga Nidra either lying down or seated in a comfortable position. The meditation involves visualization and guided instructions that lead you into a deep state of conscious relaxation. It is great for releasing stress.
Speaking of yoga, the practice itself is not a form of meditation, but you can easily meditate during yoga. Yoga promotes blood flow and flexibility, which is especially beneficial for cancer survivors who have had surgery.
This type of meditation is your communication to God in prayer. During prayer, you are calm and quiet, and your focus is on your question or problem and your relationship with God.
There have been numerous research studies on the positive impact of meditation. One specific study in Canada found evidence to suggest that meditation and yoga can actually alter the cellular activity of cancer survivors.
These mind-body practices have a positive effect on quality of life, and help with biological processes such as immunity and hormone functions. When you meditate, you learn to relax, manage your stress, and access a deeper awareness to your mind, body, and spirit.
Meditation can help to:
- Decrease anxiety and negative emotions
- Improve sleep
- Improve memory and cognitive function
- Increase spiritual awareness and the sense of well-being
- Regulate blood pressure and relax the body
Breathing is an important component in meditation. Deep breathing from the stomach is recommended. Not only does it enhance the meditation experience, up to 80% of toxins can be removed from the lungs as opposed to only 10% of toxins from shallow breathing. Regardless of which type of meditation you practice, it is an important part of overall health and wellness and the mind-body-spirit connection.