Take the stress out of blood cancer

Mindfulness: it’s a bit of a buzzword at the moment, with people spruiking everything from mindful eating to mindfulness in the workplace – and even mindful sleeping! But mindfulness doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, you can employ a few simple principles of mindfulness in your everyday life to help you find some peace in a stressful situation.

Mindfulness is a psychological concept that has roots in Buddhist meditation. Essentially, it’s about the focusing of attention and awareness. There are a number of schools of thought on how mindfulness should be used in life, but there’s no right or wrong answer. Generally, though, mindfulness is about bringing your complete attention to the present. Not thinking about what happened this morning or what you’re doing tomorrow but simply focusing on what’s happening right now.

Each thought, feeling, or sensation that arises isn’t torn apart and analysed: it’s simply acknowledged and then accepted as it is.

Practising mindfulness can have a variety of benefits for you, including:

» feeling more calm and peaceful

» becoming less reactive to unpleasant experiences

» feeling more connected to the people and the world around you

» feeling more balanced, and less emotionally volatile.

A blood cancer diagnosis is one of the most stressful and hardest things a lot of people have to go through. Whether you’re a patient who is going through treatment, a carer who wants to be calm and strong, or even a friend or family member who is having difficulty coping with the diagnosis, it’s very important to remember to nurture yourself during this time.

Mindfulness exercises

Here are a few quick and easy mindfulness exercises to try. We hope they can bring you some calm in this hectic world!

1. Mindful bites

At your next meal or snack, focus on the first two bites. Pay attention to the sensory experience; the taste, the smell, the texture of the food, even the sounds you make when you bite into and chew your food. It’s not necessarily about savouring the food, it’s more about paying attention to the sensory experience of eating the food.

2. One breath

Pay attention to what taking in one breath feels like. Feel your diaphragm expand and your chest fill with air. Focus on what it feels like in your mid- section, your chest, and finally your throat. Then exhale and note how your stomach expands and your shoulders relax.

3. Give your brain a break

During down time, it can be so easy to whip out our smart phones or turn on the TV. Instead, take a couple of minutes first to just look out a window. Watch the leaves fluttering on the trees; pay attention to any sounds you can hear; if it’s windy, think about how that is feeling on your skin. This exercise in particular can give your brain a much-needed break.

If you’re after more relaxation methods and live in Brisbane, come along to one of our Relax, Breathe, and Release sessions. Our It’s all about me! sessions also explore relaxation and mindfulness exercises. Check the events calendar to see when our next sessions are scheduled or contact us on 1800 620 420.

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