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Integrating mindfulness and relaxation into everyday life

written by

Leukaemia Care, Charity

The way we think and how we feel at each moment can positively or negatively affect our health, wellbeing and impact on the degree of happiness and satisfaction with ourselves and our lives.

Many people find it difficult to relax, acknowledge and accept their thoughts, feelings and emotions at times of stress and disruptions such as those following cancer or any other health diagnosis. 

What is mindfulness and relaxation?

Relaxation and mindfulness techniques help people to unwind, de-stress, and allow the mind and body to increasingly relax. It is often used to help relieve sleep problems, reduce anxiety, to better cope with pain and discomfort caused by medical treatments, and to promote wellbeing.

Relaxation is considered a safe and effective technique before, during and after cancer treatments or any other medical intervention and procedure, and with no side effects. However, if unsure, always contact your medical professional before you decide to practise relaxation or mindfulness techniques at home or as part of a group session.

Teach yourself

Almost everyone can learn and use relaxation and mindfulness techniques. To get the best results, these techniques should be practised regularly, and if unable to attend relaxation and mindfulness classes, CDs are a great alternative.

Simple relaxation, mindfulness and breathing exercises may help to calm the mind and release any muscle tension and pain. To start with, make yourself comfortable either by sitting on a chair or lying down. Observe your breathing without trying to change anything or make anything happen. Notice how the chest and abdomen rise as you breathe in and out, slowly and calmly. Begin to imagine or visualise that the air you are breathing in is pure relaxation and that the air you are breathing out is tension, pain, discomfort or any other negative or unwanted sensations, thoughts or feelings if you prefer or find them more appropriate for this exercise. 

Keep breathing deeply and calmly, relaxing with each breath you take and continue to exchange tension and relaxation through your breath for a few more moments. It is normal and natural for your thoughts to wander during this exercise. Notice how calm and relaxed you feel and when you are ready to finish this exercise, give yourself time to explore and fully experience these new feelings of deep relaxation before you open your eyes.

Remember that you can breathe like this anytime, drawing in relaxation and breathing out tension that accumulates through the day. Every day your breathing can relax you, making you strong and more resilient.

For more information on coping with a diagnosis, you can speak to us anytime on 08088 010 444.

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