Modern Meditation: A Self-Care Solution for Killer Stress

by 00Cancer Patients, Caregivers, Meditations, PeopleTags: , , , , , , , , ,

Stress is killing us – it’s linked to the six major causes of death: cancer, lung ailments, heart disease, accidents, suicide and cirrhosis of the liver. And over 75 percent of all visits to the doctor’s office are for stress-related complaints and ailments.

What self-care solutions are available to reduce this harmful distress? Several easy and simple mindfulness meditation techniques can help. You can even do some standing in a checkout line, awaiting the doctor or while sitting in traffic. Along with yoga and repetitive prayer, mindful practices are known to evoke the “relaxation response”, which is the counterpart to the stress response. Meditators enjoy greater emotional clarity and mental resilience, and meditation can actually increase the amount of gray matter in your brain (which is a good thing!)

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One Essential Ingredient Your Waiting Room Needs

by 00Cancer Patients, Caregivers, MeditationsTags: , , , , , , , , ,

Is the waiting room stressing your patients and their families?

What if there’s an easy, cost-effective solution for transforming your wait area into a relaxing, restorative environment?

When I was diagnosed with stage IV cancer in 2013, my caregiving wife and I embarked on an oncological odyssey to dozens of medical facilities, doctor’s offices and hospitals. These appointments included stress-inducing scans, biopsies, consultations, radiation treatments, chemo infusions, follow-ups and surgeries. We spent a lot of time sitting in waiting rooms.

It was all too common to hear the TV emanating intense, dramatic bulletins with banners flashing, “News Alert!” Or, we’d hear chatty talk shows and rowdy game shows with strident voices, buzzers, canned laughter and applause. Unless the staff turned down the volume or changed the channel, there was no relief from the intrusive programs. In one major hospital, an oncologist admitted he had no control over the intense shows on the waiting room TV because the staff behind the counter controlled the programs, tuning to the channels they wanted to watch.

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Cancer Stress Reduction You Can Start Doing Today

by 22Cancer Patients, Caregivers, Meditations, PeopleTags: , , , , , , , , ,

DECISIVE DOCTOR VISIT

About a year after my initial diagnosis of stage IV head and neck cancer, I had a follow-up visit with my oncologist Dr. C. After my vitals were taken and blood drawn, we had a brief wait in the bleak exam room. Then Dr. C. entered, greeting in his usual style, “How are you, David! You look great!”

During this exam, Dr. C. announced that my scans were clear and I was now officially cancer-free. He commented, “That was not an easy regimen (chemo, radiation and surgery) you just had, but you did phenomenally well!” He asked if there was actually something I did which helped me get through treatment in such good emotional and physical shape. I replied that I’d used a mindful wellness practice, listening to programs at the infusion center. His eyes lit up as he suddenly proclaimed, “That’s what I want for all of my patients!” He desired a way his patients could become calm before their exams or treatments.

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CAREGIVING: A Time For Self Care

by 02Cancer Patients, Caregivers, PeopleTags: , , , ,

“It is not the load that breaks you down. It’s the way you carry it.” — Lena Horne, singer

If you are caregiving a child (or children), spouse and/or aging parent, there is a good chance you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed and even burned out. In fact, you may be one of the growing number of people who are trying to balance everyone’s needs – the Sandwich Generation. Even though this is a huge challenge in your life, I wonder if you can also view it as an opportunity for self-care?

When I was caregiving my husband with stage IV cancer, everyday, I made a point to accompany him to the infusion center where he received radiation and chemotherapy. I was also caring for our 13 year old son who had Lyme disease. Every morning, I drove him to school and sometimes had to turn right around to pick him up early because he wasn’t feeling well. During all of this, I continued to work full time in my psychotherapy and coaching practices while regularly checking in with my aging parents and in-laws.

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