Benefits of mind-body practices during your healing journey

August 23, 2018 Swedish Blogger

Undergoing treatment for cancer may cause physical and emotional burdens. Self-care practices have been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, depression and physical pain. Including self-care techniques into your routine can help improve your quality of life. Explore what works for you. Being consistent is key. 

Mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation focuses on bringing attention to the present moment. It teaches us to reframe experiences without an emotional response. Meditation also helps connect us to others and our self with more love, kindness and acceptance. Spending as little as 10 minutes a day to a meditation practice can restore your calm and inner peace. 

10-minute meditation technique:

  • Find a quiet space to relax.
  • Sitting in a comfortable position, close your eyes. 
  • Gently bring awareness to your breathe moving in through your nose and down into your belly.
  • Simply feel the pattern of your breathe in this moment and continue to follow its flow.
  • Anytime thoughts start to arise, gently bring your attention back to your breathe. 
  • Allow any thoughts to soften without attachment or judgment.
  • Slowly open your eyes and sit quietly for a few minutes before resuming activity.

Yoga practice 

Yoga helps balance the body and mind by practicing a variety of body poses. These movements promote strength, flexibility and balance. Yoga encourages relaxation and has also been shown to improve mood and sleep. It builds awareness and inner strength to help create positive change. Individuals healing from cancer have experienced both physical and emotional benefits in their health.1


Certain qualities, like being loving and open, seem to help one to cope with emotional and painful life experiences. In patients with cancer, self-compassion has been found to improve feelings of depression and anxiety.2 Compassion develops the strength and courage to deal with life’s challenges. Self-compassion involves a desire to heal one’s suffering with warmth and kindness.

It is easier to make healthy choices when we feel good about ourselves.

Local classes available to the public

Mindfulness Meditation at the Frye Art Museum 
Gentle Yoga and Wellness Skills 
  • Tuesdays, 2:30-3:45 p.m. 
  • No cost
  • To register, email Erin Carper or call 206-991-2099
Compassion Cultivation Training Class Series
  • To learn more or to register for the series, please email Diane Hetrick.  


1 Carson JW, Carson KM, Olsen MK, Sanders L, Porter LS. Mindful Yoga for women with metastatic breast cancer: design of a randomized controlled trial. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2017;17:153. doi:10.1186/s12906-017-1672-9.

2 Pinto-Gouveia J, Duarte C, Matos M, Fráguas S. The Protective Role of Self-compassion in Relation to Psychopathology Symptoms and Quality of Life in Chronic and in Cancer Patients. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy [serial online]. July 2014;21(4):311-323. Available from: Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection, Ipswich, MA. Accessed June 23, 2017

This article is from the Fall 2018 issue of Life to the Fullest, the newsletter from the Swedish Cancer Institute dedicated to those with cancer, cancer survivors, and their family members and caregivers.

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