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Activities and therapies that help us manage stress, think positively, and feel good. These include building positive stories around illness and healing, doing mindfulness exercises, encouraging mindsets that help us grow, practicing meditation, receiving therapeutic counseling, using aromatherapy, and participating positive group support.

WHAT

Stress is linked to nearly every major disease. No matter how healthy we are in other parts of our lives, uncontrolled stress can undo everything. Research shows that stress control techniques such as guided meditation, intentional breathing, acupuncture and yoga help us to manage stress and be more effective in the midst of stressful situations.

WHY

 Childhood cancer parents are often under an enormous amount stress. And although for many parents the stress declines over time, for a significant portion, stress remains high well into survivorship. Finding healthy ways to manage stress and become more effective in the middle of stressful situations are keys to thriving during cancer treatment and into survivorship. Uncontrolled stress not only has an impact on our health as parents, but it can also negatively affect our children.

Almost nothing is as stressful as confronting a diagnosis of cancer for your child. The stress we feel in our bodies and minds is nature’s way of making us as alert and ready to act as possible. Waves of biochemicals prepare the body for a constant flight or fight response, which leads to loss of sleep, appetite dysregulation, chronic inflammation, irritability, poor decision making, emotional turbulence and more. Not only is unmanaged stress bad for our longterm health, but it hinders us from doing everything we can to help our kids thrive.

HOW

The most effect techniques for controlling stress that have been identified by researchers are:

  • Mindfulness meditation

  • Guided breathing exercises

  • Acupuncture

  • Yoga

  • Social Support

WHO

  • Mithu Storoni, PhD, is a Cambridge-trained physician and researcher. Her book Stress Proof, is an excellent guide to the array of evidence-based strategies available to not only reduce but become more resilient in the face of stress.

  • Tara Brach, world-renowned teacher of meditation, http://www.tarabrach.com

  • Sam Harris, PhD, author and creator of the meditation app, Waking Up

  • Andy Puddicombe, meditation and mindfulness expert, voice of headspace.com


The FIRST STEP

Watch this great TED Talk of Andy Puddicombe and check out his meditation app at headspace.com.