Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
I am feeling very stressed about my cancer diagnosis. What is the best way to relax?
Michael Baime, MD, Director, Penn Program for Mindfulness, responds:
It's a really good question, and like most good questions, there isn't a simple answer. Here are some thoughts. First of all, take some time to think about what helps YOU the most. Then, make sure that you make that activity a priority. Cancer treatment is intensely demanding; you can become so busy with all of the activity of appointments, tests, and treatments that you don't set aside the time that you need to renew and restore your own resources for coping.
Some things that many people find helpful include time with loved ones, yoga and meditation, gentle exercise, counseling, and medication. No one answer is right for everyone. Maybe the most important thing is to accept that this period will have turbulent moments. It's just the truth of how things are right now. But even the most difficult moment doesn't last. Keep breathing, do whatever it is that you find helps the most, and remember that by taking care of yourself you are doing one of the most important things. You are the person who knows best how to take care of yourself. We train cancer patients in mindfulness meditation as a tool for coping; more information is available on our web site, www.pennhealth.org/mindfulness.
This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. See the full transcript from IntegrativeTherapies in Cancer Care.