When it comes to stressful experiences, being diagnosed with breast cancer is at the top of the chart. That’s why it’s important to find ways to reduce the pressure. Some women find the following techniques helpful and calming. Choose the ones that work best for you.
"Even the tasks of daily living can seem overwhelming when you’re stressed out."
1. Talk about it. Sharing your feelings and concerns with your spouse/partner, a close friend, co-workers, a counselor or another person can help release some of the tension associated with your illness. Many women find joining a support group especially helpful.
2. Indulge yourself. Take a break from your worries by doing something you really enjoy whether it’s gardening, painting, reading, shopping or listening to music.
3. Choose wisely. When you’re feeling overwhelmed by the pressures of life, step back and prioritize. Eliminate or postpone activities that aren’t absolutely necessary. Delegate certain tasks. Ask for help when you need it.
4. Get moving. Physical activity—walking, running, swimming, lifting weights—benefits both the body and mind. Discuss any exercise plan with your doctor before getting started.
5. Imagine that. Close your eyes, visualize a peaceful setting, and breathe deeply. This technique is called imagery and, with practice, can help you create a feeling of relaxation any time you wish.
6. Keep the faith. Many women find their faith is a great comfort and rely on prayer as well as other spiritual activities to help relieve stress.
7. Write it down. Set aside time each day to write about your thoughts, hopes, fears and dreams. Just putting your thoughts down on paper in a diary or journal can help ease your mind.
8. Learn to relax. Yoga, massage therapy, tai chi, breathing techniques, aromatherapy, meditation and imagery are all relaxation techniques that can help reduce stress and possibly even improve your immune-system response.
9. Laugh it up. Watch a funny movie, read the comic strip, tell a joke. Humor can be a powerful antidote to stress. Seeing the lighter side of things helps put suffering in perspective, fills you with hope and takes your mind of pain.
10. Tackle one thing at a time. Even the tasks of daily living can seem overwhelming when you’re stressed out. The best way to cope is to concentrate on one task at a time. “Checking off” chores gives you a positive feeling and will help motivate you to keep going.