How Yoga and Meditation Can Help Cancer Patients During Treatment

A cancer diagnosis disrupts a patient’s life. In the long term, you are forced to face your mortality. In the short term, you may be dealing with a series of treatments that leave you feeling weak and vulnerable. Frequently, cancer patients undergoing treatment deal with nausea, pain, and fatigue. They may have trouble eating and sleeping, which only adds to their tiredness. Worry about the future and struggles in the present are a dangerous combination that can lead to constant stress. If no action is taken to deal with this additional stress, patients may make their symptoms even worse.

The Problem of Stress for Cancer Patients

Every person must deal with stress each day. On most days, there are stress triggers like a looming deadline or a traffic jam. You can feel your body tensing up. Your heart rate increases and your blood pressure rises. Your body is preparing itself for a fight or flight response. Once the stressful event passes, your body starts to calm down, returning to equilibrium.

One of the challenges for human beings is that we can think ourselves into the stress response. An upcoming deadline is not a deadly threat. However, the stress response is primitive. If you are worried about the deadline, your body treats it as a threat, revving up for physical activity. Over time, frequent triggering of the stress response can lead to both physical and mental issues. People who are constantly stressed have increased risks for heart disease, diabetes, and depression.