Stress Management During Cancer

Author: Shannon Miller Lifestyle

Are you dealing with cancer?

Is a close loved one dealing with cancer?

Stress management during cancer is important to your health, to avoid physical and mental injury.

Part of the process and part of the self-defeating mechanism is the issue of stress within the cancer diagnosis and treatment. Stress and anxiety cause an increase in hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. When those stress hormones rise unopposed by relief, the outcome can be:

  • heart disease
  • sleep disorders
  • digestive problems
  • depression
  • obesity
  • memory impairment
  • skin issues

Most of the above symptoms can also be symptoms of cancer treatments themselves. Imagine them magnified by adding stress hormones to the mix.

Doctors and other health professionals around the world agree that managing stress from cancer diagnoses and treatments is highly important in healing and recovery from cancer and all of the cancer symptoms. If stress is not managed well, the months and years following cancer can be compounded with difficulties. In some cases, this is a true life or death issue.

Massage and Essential Oil Treatments for stress relief

Many Cancer Centers, including MD Anderson, in Houston, Texas, offer cancer patients massage therapy with essential oils. The massage is great for tired and achy body parts. Many cancer patients say “everything hurts” during and after treatments. Massage therapy can help relieve that. The use of essential oils in their purest form is becoming more and more common in cancer treatment centers, and other hospitals as well. Oils such as lavender, bergamot, peppermint, vetiver, and yling ylang, when massaged into the skin on certain pressure points, or diffused through the air, are scientifically proven to help with stress symptoms.

Laughter Therapy for stress relief

Laughter releases dopamine, the feel-good hormone, which combats cortisol and adrenaline. MD Anderson offers laughter-yoga class with humor and simulated laughing yoga activities designed to relax the body, free the mind, and help the spirit. What a GREAT idea!

Yoga for stress relief

Many cancer hospitals offer yoga classes. These gentle, accommodating stretching activities help release the body tightness and stiffness, and help refocus mind and body. Yogis know that perseverance takes quiet focus and presence, and these classes help students find their inner strength while relieving the mind from worry.

Janna Audey, musician and yoga instructor, performed yoga with meditation practices throughout her cancer treatment. She says that is what got her through. Though her mind would tell her it was hurting, she knew that yoga movements would relieve the pressure and pain she was feeling.

Community and Family Support for stress relief

Frances says that the love of her community and family was what got her through breast cancer. Highly involved in her church, she says that her commitment to her church, her faith, and her circle helped her stay positive, bringing her through the experience.

Nutrition for stress relief

Staci also had breast cancer. She credits her stress relief to great nutrition. Many times, cancer patients have a hard time eating, because of physical aversions to taste, nausea, and mouth sores. Staci knew that if she kept a regimen of a vitamin drink in the morning and a Shakeology during the day, that she would at least be feeding her body the nutrients that it would need to get her through each day with strength and stamina.

Have you had cancer? What got you through?

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