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
These practices and therapies have at least modest evidencesignificant effects in at least three small but well-designed randomized controlled trials (RCTs), or one or more well-designed, mid-sized clinical studies of reasonably good quality (RCTs or observational studies), or several small studies aggregated into a meta-analysis (this is the CancerChoices definition; other researchers and studies may define this differently) of benefit for managing stress.
Therapies and practices we have reviewed
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.
Words of guidance
Read some words of inspiration and guidance from Michael Lerner, CancerChoices co-founder and author of Choices in Healing.