Mindfulness isn’t just a way to a pleasant, peaceful way of life. Many people use it as a tool to manage their own anxiety, stress and depression.
Mindfulness is about observing the self and others, non-judgmentally and in the moment. With all new skills, the more we practice it, the easier it becomes,
The key to this is observing in the moment, this moment is always fleeting, a split second, where one would react one way—but choose to react differently.
Thus the difference is being present and aware and making a small space between the trigger and the reaction. Once the observation has been made, a detached, non-personal mind set is easier to adopt and act on.

Cancer and Mindfulness
The experience of cancer can be demanding, both for the body and mind. Learning new ways of managing difficulties can be useful for both the person and their loved ones, regardless of life stage or the situation we are in.

Through Mindfulness practice we learn to:
Focus and calm the mind
Have more awareness in the present moment
Understand choices and responses to life’s challenges

There are many studies about mindfulness and its benefits for cancer patients. They show positive improved psychological functioning, reduction of stress symptoms, enhanced coping and wellbeing in cancer outpatients. This adds up to a greater sense of peace, ease, and resiliency while living with cancer. The stillness that comes with mindfulness meditation fosters deep, physical relaxation and an opening of the heart. Through present moment, non-judgmental awareness, the body and mind access internal healing resources and deep compassion.
Mindfulness can help you to bring awareness to the difficulty and let go of the struggle to change it in the moment. Your experience is clouded by the struggle to make it different. Open-hearted awareness helps you to know what you need to do about the difficulty, if anything. Sometimes simply resting and allowing things to be as they are can help you to heal. This does not mean that you lie down on the tracks and let the railroad car roll over you. (And mindfulness mediation is not an alternative to competent medical treatment.) It means that you acknowledge what is happening, open to the truth of it, let go of judgment and struggle. This opens you to the wisdom and compassion needed to take good care of yourself. As we develop this nonreactive approach to our thoughts and feelings, we learn that we are not our thoughts, feelings or disease. We are no longer defined by our disease.

The ABC of mindfulness:
A is for awareness – Becoming more aware of what you are thinking and doing – what’s going on in your mind and body.
B is for “just Being” with your experience. Avoiding the tendency to respond on auto-pilot and feed problems by creating your own story.
C is for seeing things and responding more wisely. By creating a gap between the experience and our reaction to, we can make wiser choices.

Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally. Jon Kabat-Zinn

Naena Chhima
Cancer information nurse.

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