Meditation & Imagery

Relaxation techniques such as Meditation or Guided Imagery can have a profound effect on reducing your anxiety. By learning how to relax, many patients find that they are able to tolerate chemotherapy better, have less pain or tolerate pain more easily, sleep better and enjoy life more.

Meditation can be as simple as closing your eyes taking a deep breath and exhaling slowing. Try taking twice as long to breathe out as you do to breathe in. Your meditation focus can range from something as simple as “Healing Me” to the classic “Ohm.” The words aren’t important. Clearing your mind from extraneous thoughts is your goal. If your mind begins to wander (as it will) simply direct it back to your meditation. Focus on your breathing and relax.

If a more active meditation appeals to you, do a breath-centered approach such as:

Breath in Healing…
Blow out Disease.

Breath in Peace…
Blow out Fear.

Breath in Hope…
Blow out Despair.

Meditation can take many forms. Yes, you can assume a classic cross-legged position on the floor, but you can also meditate while you are sitting, standing, walking, reclining, dancing, writing, painting, and swimming…. The focus is on your mind rather than what your body is doing.

Begin your meditation process with a goal of 5 minutes and gradually increase your meditation time to 15 minutes or more. It usually helps if you

  • Try to meditate at the same time each day.
  • Have a special uninterrupted space for your meditation.
  • Set a timer so you worry about how long has it been.
  • Give yourself permission to be less than perfect.
  • Remember that sitting quietly without worry is a big part of meditation’s healing power.

Guided Imagery, on the other hand, usually involves either a facilitator-led session or an audio tape that will gently guide your mind and body to a more relaxed state. “Imagine you are on a sunny beach. Feel the bright sun gently warm your toes, then your ankles…” is how a session of Guided Imagery might begin. Like Meditation, the goal is relaxation.

Reducing anxiety is an essential part of your healing process. Meditation and Guided Imagery techniques will bring benefits long after your treatment is completed.