There is no single way to manage stress with cancer. But there are many ways that people find work for them. Finding what works for you is profoundly important.
Cancer is stressful. Cancer is often piled on top of other stresses in your life. Cancer makes some life stresses worse. It helps you let go of others.
Reducing stress is vital to healing. So is finding skillful ways to cope with stresses you can’t remove.
There are many ways to reduce stress with cancer. Meditation, yoga, tai chi, qigong, exercise, time in nature, time with people you love, and time doing what you love to do are examples.
So is getting good sleep, taking medicine for anxiety or depression, using herbs if they work for you, visualization and imagery, art and music.
Almost anything that you enjoy and that lightens your burden reduces stress.
All the 7 Healing Practices reduce stress.
One of the greatest sources of stress is fear and loss. I’ve worked with fear and loss for many years—for myself and with others. I haven’t found a single path. Learning to stay present with fear and loss is a deep teaching.
Having something to believe in can make a profound difference in coping with stress. It doesn’t matter if your belief is religious, spiritual, family focused, nature focused, or some kind of purely personal belief.
So there is no single way to manage stress with cancer. But there are many ways that people find work for them. Finding what works for you is profoundly important.
Love is the greatest healer of all.
Wishing you well,
Managing Stress at a glance
Stress comes from both the challenging situations you’re facing—stressors—and your response to the stressors. Some stress is unavoidable. Any change can be a stressor, even changes that you may consider positive, such as marriage, a new job, or a new family member. Unpleasant circumstances from minor disappointments to major losses can be huge stressors. A cancer diagnosis is a source of stress for most people.
Your stress response can impact your quality of life, including the severity of side effects and symptoms. It may also influence your body terrainthe internal conditions of your body, including nutritional status, fitness, blood sugar balance, hormone balance, inflammation and more and your treatment outcome, even impacting your survival.
You are not entirely at the mercy of all the stressors in your life. You can influence your response to stressors. In this handbook, we explore tools to help you manage your stress response.
Top practices and therapies for managing stress and cancer
Therapies and practices we have reviewed related to stress and cancer—the effects of these practices and therapies are described on Managing your stress response ›
Sharing Love and Support
Support groups and interventions
Tai chi or qigong
Seek professional help if needed. Diagnoses such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, or anxiety can require therapy from trained practitioners for effective management. We encourage you to explore the options available to you through your cancer team and others. Taking care of your mental health is as important as taking care of your physical health.
We emphasize that Managing Stress by itself will not likely prevent, cure, or control cancer. Like every other therapy or approach included on this website, Managing Stress is one component of an individualized integrative plan rather than a stand-alone therapy.