Meditation Benefits and 4 Quick Tips To Assist You
One of the things I teach newly diagnosed breast cancer patients is that meditation is wonderful for helping us to heal our bodies. For the majority of people going through breast cancer, learning meditation is one of the best things you can do, for so many reasons.
First, for stress relief (and going through cancer is NOTHING if not stressful). Another powerful reason is that when you are undergoing the various tests and treatments (some of which can also fill you with anxiety, like MRIs, CT-scans, bone scans and the like) knowing how to calm your mind and focus on something else is absolutely vital. That’s just scraping the tip of the iceberg.
Going back to the stress issue, research tells us that meditation is one of the most effective methods to relieve stress. If there’s one thing I hear about all too often from women going through breast cancer, it’s stress. Most tell me that in the lead-up to their cancer diagnosis they were struggling with some form of unrelenting stress. And this, they feel, is what let cancer in the door. It was the same for me.
So why is meditation so powerful?
According to the latest research, meditation can help you “rewire” your brain, so that you are less stressed, you have improved focus and ability to concentrate, less anxiety, more creativity, and your memory can also improve! How great is that!
Do you need some help getting started? If you’re anything like me, I didn’t really know where to begin. I struggled. My mind would NOT shut up. Here are four quick tips that will help you.
Step 1. Prepare for meditation.
Set aside some time – it doesn’t have to be a long time, perhaps just 20 minutes. If you only have two minutes, take two minutes. Those could be the most important two minutes of your day! Get a drink of water. Go to the bathroom if necessary. Shut the door so you can have some quiet time. Find a comfortable position (but not too comfortable or you might fall asleep). Loosen tight clothing. If you want to have meditation music playing in the background, put it on. You could also breathe in essential oils to help you focus your mind if you wish (frankincense, lavender or sandalwood are helpful). These things are helpful, but definitely not a requirement. When I worked in an office, I would just sit in the ladies room and meditate for a few minutes – it was the only place I could find some relative peace and quiet.
Step 2. Relax.
Once you’re in a comfortable position, allow your body and mind to relax. There are many techniques to help you relax and what works for one may not work for another. If you need some help finding a good relaxation technique, click here. Allow your mind to just let go. Let there be no effort involved with this. If you find yourself thinking about something, just let it go by like a cloud floating past in the sky. Try not to feel irritated with yourself, just let it go.
Step 3. Mindfulness.
One of the ways you can utilize meditation is with something called mindfulness meditation. Without getting into too much detail, begin to focus your mind on your breath. Just feel it moving into and out of your body. Be aware of your body in time and space. Allow for stillness. Be present. If your mind wanders off, gently bring it back to the present moment.
Step 4. Notice.
Just begin to notice your mind growing more and more still. Look for the gaps between your thoughts. As one meditation guru puts it, those gaps are where the magic happens. It can’t be described, you just have to wait for it, experience it yourself. It may not happen immediately, but increasingly the stillness of your mind becomes more familiar to you. You may notice that as you sit quietly in meditation, your cold hands or feet get warm – this is a lovely reminder that quieting the mind helps the energy, the chi, flow through you better. I sometimes see swirling colored lights behind my closed eyes, rather like the aurora borealis. I notice my nervous system quieting and calming. Meditation is like a healing balm for the nerves.
I hope that helps, but if you still have questions, I created a series of 7 videos answering questions about meditation. Check them out, your question might be answered in one of them.
From Ian Gawler, cancer survivor, author, and meditation/health teacher:
“Having prepared well, we relax.
Relaxing more deeply, we become more mindful.
As our mindfulness develops, the stillness naturally reveals itself.
We rest in open, undistracted awareness.
There is nothing to do. Simply be aware. Open. Undistracted. Aware.
It is as simple, and as difficult as that.”
Need Help With Your Meditation Practice?
Back in 2004 when I was going through treatments for my breast cancer, I knew that meditation could hold the key to my struggle with stress, and thus possibly the key to my healing.
But I had a very hard time finding a good guided meditation for cancer patients that would lead me through a series of calming visualizations and help me to focus my mind. There were lots of meditation CDs available (no downloads then!) and I tried most of them, but each one had something that drove me crazy – it would be intrusive background music or the person narrating it would have some annoying trait. I finally decided to create my own how-to-meditate course, called Change Your Life Meditation Course (click that link to find out more).
I created it for people who lived in small towns without access to meditation classes, for busy people who just wanted some help and guidance with their meditation practice. If that sounds good to you, click here.
Not sure? Want a free sample? Check out my free guided meditation. This is the very meditation I used each and every day (instead of radiation, but that’s a whole different story).
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As a breast cancer coach I speak nearly daily with women who worry about whether or not they will survive this disease. Understandable worries. We speak of many things, such as nutrition, exercise, super foods, etc., and all of these things are important. But of equal importance is the power of the mind to heal.
Faith, Belief, Hope
I had those same worries ten years ago when I was going through breast cancer. Back then the Internet wasn’t such a valuable resource, nothing like it is now. I had heard that we can harness the power of the mind to heal ourselves, and I had read about it in Ian Gawler’s books “You Can Conquer Cancer” and “The Creative Power of Imagery”. But reading about something and putting it into practice are two very different things. It requires a lot of faith and belief in what you are doing. Not to mention hope…
It can be very scary, especially when you decide to go your own way, and against your doctor’s recommendations (I said yes to chemotherapy – eventually – but no to radiation and Tamoxifen, and I am daily in contact with many others doing the same). But I decided I had nothing to lose and so I went in search of meditation teachers who could show me how to use the power of the mind to heal myself.
What I learned was that our powerful brain allows us to transcend our present reality, providing the power to open us up so that we may create new possibilities for ourselves.
The dancer in the headline, Karen, didn’t know how to dance but challenged herself to learn it in a year and filmed 10 seconds per day of her progression. Cynthia, the paralyzed woman, found Karen’s videos and decided that since she couldn’t afford the treatment to get better, she would simply challenge herself each day to keep going, to do a little more and then a little more, and soon she was walking!
I noticed at one point in the film she was also using meditation – it appears at about the 1:07 mark in the video.
I just wanted to share this with you today because it illustrates how powerful we are once we set our minds to doing something. It can be something small like learning how to draw, or something huge like healing cancer.
But we can do it. The power of the mind is truly awesome and we only use a small percentage of our big, powerful brains.
If that doesn’t appeal, I have a downloadable course called Change Your Life Meditation Course which explains how the power of the mind works and how you can create some healing for yourself. I created it for people who live in small towns and don’t have access to meditation groups but anyone can benefit from it.
Thanks to Upworthy.com for the inspiring video, and to Give It 100 for encouraging people to try new things!
If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters and e-book on the right, and/or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com). It is my honor and my goal to help you through this so that you emerge from breast cancer feeling better than before, thriving!
The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem and please be sure to consult your health care professional when making decisions about your health.
Going Through Treatments? How To Feel Better Fast.
One of the things I needed badly when going through breast cancer was a list of ways to feel better fast. Why a list?
Because when you’re going through the treatments for breast cancer, let’s face it – your brain is pretty fuzzy, you can’t think clearly (it’s commonly known as “chemobrain”). So I made a list of all of the things that made me feel better because, quite honestly, I couldn’t think of them when I needed them the most!
Making A “Feel Better” List
My “feel better” list included getting a massage, inhaling some of my favorite, healing essential oils, listening to particular CDs for their calming music, talking to my best friend, going for a walk, taking a nap, eating really healthy food (because that always makes you feel better), but most of all, meditation. Meditation was (and still is) the one thing that makes me feel better fast.
When you are putting together your “feel better” list, use a nice thick marker and print the feel better suggestions as clearly as possible. Post the list where you can see it – on the bathroom mirror, on the refrigerator door – don’t make yourself have to hunt for it because you won’t be in the mood.
Some Help From Author Paul Wilson: Instant Calm
In his book “Instant Calm”, author Paul Wilson discusses what he calls applied suggestion. He says that if you can tell you’re feeling lousy, especially if you say it a few times and persuasively enough, nothing can be surer than you’re going to feel lousy. “If you keep on telling yourself positive things, calming things, then you will achieve them… More powerful still is visual suggestion. If you can see these positive things… calming things… and you can see yourself participating in them, then you are certainly well down the track towards achieving them. “
Mr Wilson goes on to say that applied suggestion must be accepted by the subconscious to transform it into reality. That’s where meditation helps. To be accepted by the subconscious, your suggestion should be in harmony with your subconscious beliefs. To make it powerful, wording must be in the present tense, simple and positive (“More and more, I am discovering that I am feeling better, I am radiantly healthy.”).
Doing meditation regularly with affirmations (the applied suggestion mentioned by author Paul Wilson) is quite powerful. Repetition encourages a suggestion or affirmation into being.
For long-term affirmations and goals to be optimally effective, Mr Wilson advises to repeat your affirmation at least ten times per day to yourself. See my article Creating Positive Affirmations That Work for more information on how to create the most powerful positive affirmations.
When I was going through breast cancer, the one thing I couldn’t seem to find was a nice guided meditation for cancer patients that would lead me through some calming visualizations and help me to focus on getting healthier. Oh, there were all kinds of meditation CDs available and I tried most of them, but most of them seemed to have some fatal flaw, something that drove me crazy – either the background music was awful, or the person’s voice was annoying… so I recently decided to create my own how-to-meditate course, called Change Your Life Meditation Course. I created it just for you, click the link to find out more. I’d love to help you feel better fast.
If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters and e-book on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark Breast Health Coach). It is my honor and my goal to help you through this so that you emerge from breast cancer feeling better than before, thriving!
Final video today – #7 is “Teaching You How To Meditate” and this one introduces my Change Your Life Meditation Course. I’m excited about this – I wanted to be able to help people on a much wider basis than I’m currently doing.
Meditation made a huge change in my life and I would love to share with you all of the wonderful benefits that it has.
If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark, Breast Health Coach). It is my honor and privilege to help you through this.
Hello, welcome back! Today’s video (#6 in my series of 7 videos) answers the frequently asked question “Can I Use Meditation For Healing?” The answer is an unequivocal YES.
I used meditation for healing when I was going through breast cancer and it was one of the single most powerful tools in my arsenal. Really – it would surprise you to discover just how powerful it is.
Watch the video for more info:
If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com). It is my honor to help you through this.
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