Coping With Stress and Anxiety During Cancer Treatment

Newly Diagnosed

Just hearing that you have cancer is likely to cause you stress, anxiety and fear.  But unfortunately, even if you receive a diagnosis with a fairly positive outlook, most cancer patients are going to continue to deal with stress and anxiety during treatment and sometimes after treatment has ended.  Cancer is complex and sometimes, no matter how positive an outlook you choose to have, those fears creep in and the coordination of treatment, appointments, schedules and more, coupled with how you feel as a result of having cancer and undergoing treatment quickly turns to stress and anxiety.  If you are experiencing this, you are not alone.  Things like upcoming scans, meetings with the doctor, or waiting for lab work can quickly rattle anyone and breed anxiety and stress that is not only frustrating but makes dealing with daily life difficult.  Below we discuss 5 ways to mitigate stress and anxiety so that you can live a more full, productive and happy life.

1. Exercise

  • Working up a good sweat is not only good for your body but can also help manage anxiety and stress.  If you have been cleared for exercise by your physician, you should absolutely take advantage of getting those endorphins going through physical activity.  Whether you enjoy a long jog, aerobics, swimming, hiking or lifting weights – any exercise is better than none.   Endorphins help increase your mood and better manage your feelings.

2. Prayer

  • Many patients who are religious find prayer to be an immense help in dealing with anxiety and stress.  Prayer offers an opportunity to relinquish control, accept loss of control over the situation and help calm and ease fears about the future.

3. Hobbies

  • Whether  you had a hobby before your cancer diagnosis or not, during treatment and after it is a great idea to focus on a hobby to help mitigate stress and anxiety.  A hobby provides a much needed distraction and allows you to focus on something you truly enjoy and that brings you happiness which will help drive any negative feelings away, at least for a break.  Hobbies could be anything that range from seeing movies, to arts and crafts, to sewing, to collections and much more.  The good news about hobbies is that there a wide variety so if you grow tired of one you can always focus on another.

4. Help Someone Else

  • One way many cancer patients, and even more so, survivors, reduce anxiety and stress is by helping others.  There are always charitable organizations that can use volunteers, or you could simply help a friend in need.  Many cancer survivors find it helpful to be of service to someone else who is going through cancer as a source of support.  By focusing on helping someone else you can distract yourself from stress.

5. Yoga & Meditation

  • Much like prayer and exercise, yoga and meditation can help drive out anxiety and stress.  Yoga and meditation centers you, relaxes you and helps you focus on positive thoughts and energy rather than negativity and fear.

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