Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Nine ways to relax

Relaxing not only feels great, but it can also provide both physical and emotional benefits during cancer treatment.

Here are nine ways to relieve stress on your own, which can help you remain strong and focused during treatment.

You can also share these ideas with a loved one, who may need assistance in coping with the whirlwind of new feelings that you both may be experiencing.

  1. Take a deep breath –Taking deep breaths can lower your heart rate and slow the release of stress hormones. Focus on pulling from your diaphragm, instead of your chest, in order to slow your breath and fully release tension from the body. 
  2. Exercise/yoga – Being active is a wonderful way for some to release tension. It can also help in maintaining a healthy weight, which is important when going through cancer treatment. Yoga is one example of a combining exercise with a stress-busting activity. Focus on whatever activity you enjoy the most and give it a try whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed. 
  3. Meditate – After learning how to reach the proper state of relaxation through meditation with the help of a professional, you can meditate on your own at any time to relieve stress. 
  4. Take a bath – Soaking in warm water can help relax tense muscles, and it also gives you an excuse to shut the world out and enjoy some time alone. Try a bubble bath or aromatherapy bath salts to enhance the soothing experience. 
  5. Read a book – Getting engrossed in a good book is another way to keep your mind occupied so your body can unwind. Whether you are reading a literary classic or a fun novel, choose a book that keeps you engaged. 
  6. Keep a journal – When you’re on your own and thoughts are weighing heavily on your mind, try writing them down. Releasing these thoughts can help you feel better and help you to relax. 
  7. Listen to music – Studies have shown that simply listening to music can help you feel relaxed. Try listening to music next time you receive chemotherapy to keep your mind busy and help you feel peaceful. 
  8. Find a hobby – Engaging in a hobby that you enjoy, such as knitting, scrapbooking or drawing, can keep you focused on positive endeavors. 
  9. Disconnect – We all rely on our cell phones and computers throughout the day, but try to consciously take a moment to “unplug.” You’ll be surprised how restful it is to avoid all electronic contact for just 30 minutes a day.