By: Courtney Floyd
How can meditation help after breast cancer?
Guest speaker Andrea Kassen, RN joined our Pink Ladies meeting this week and led the group through a few different mindful meditation exercises. Having never meditated before, I was intrigued to learn more about the practice and discover its benefits.
So, what is meditation? According to BreastCancer.org, meditation is a focusing practice that suspends the normal stream of thoughts occupying the mind. Usually, the attention is focused on a specific thing, such as the breath or a phrase. Practicing meditation regularly is believed to calm the mind, increase alertness, and bring a person into a state of physical and psychological balance.
Studies have shown there are many benefits of meditation. Decreasing stress and anxiety, decreasing tension related pain (such as headaches and muscle/joint problems), improving immune system function, and increasing energy levels are just a few of the documented benefits. It has also been show to decrease anxiety and emotional instabilities.
For breast reconstruction patients, meditation can be a useful tool. Breast reconstruction can be a stressful experience; financially, emotionally and mentally. You and your body are going through a lot of changes and taking the time to stop and meditate, especially during a stressful moment, is a perfect way to elevate added tension and be on your way to a healthy and speedy recovery.
I truly enjoyed my meditation experience alongside the inspiring women of the Pink Ladies breast cancer support group. After the meditation exercise was complete, we all discussed our experiences and what the short moments of meditation felt like for us and what lessons we would all take from the exercise.
For me, I took away the following:
Mindful meditation is about noticing what is happening without judging—simply noticing. It is about seeing clearly and observing while being more aware moment by moment of our experiences. It is about having an open heart and mind with courage and fearlessness, and riding the waves of our mental and physical states. While letting go, it is about giving and receiving love, compassion and wisdom.
There are many wonderful meditation resources available today, and no one way of meditating is better than the other. Give it a try. See what you think and share what you discovered with others.