Reducing Stress

Many survivors have found activities like the ones below useful in dealing with their worries after treatment ends. Ask your physician, nurse, Care Navigator, or local cancer organization about taking part in activities like these:

Exercise

Exercise is a known way to reduce stress and feel less tense—whether you’ve had cancer or not. See your physician, before making an exercise plan, and be careful not to overdo it. If you can’t walk, ask about other types of movement that may be helpful, such as chair exercises or stretching.

Mind-body methods

Things like meditation or relaxation may help you lower stress by quieting your mind. Try focusing on your breathing or repeating words or phrases to yourself. Other methods include hypnosis, yoga, or imagery.

Creative outlets

Art, music or dance gives people the chance to express themselves in different ways. Even people who have never danced, painted, or drawn before have found these activities helpful and fun.

Sharing personal stories

Telling and hearing stories about living with cancer can help people air their concerns, solve problems, and find meaning in what they’ve been through.

Sometimes Laughter Is the Best Medicine

Laughter can help you relax. When you laugh, your brain releases chemicals that produce pleasure and relax your muscles. Even a smile can fight off stressful thoughts. Of course, you may not always feel like laughing, but other people have found that these ideas can help:

  • Ask people to send you funny cards.
  • Enjoy the funny things children and pets do.
  • Watch funny movies or TV shows.
  • Listen to comedy recordings.
  • Buy a funny desk calendar.
  • Read joke books or check out jokes on the Internet. If you don’t own a computer, use one at your local library.