Take a Moment With Meditation

Written By:Stacy Simon
young black man wearing athletic wear sitting in the park meditating

Life is busy! Work, school, family, friends, and activities leave many of us stressed out and frazzled. It’s good for the brain and the body to take a break once in a while. One way to accomplish some truly peaceful moments is through meditation.

Meditation is considered a mind-body complementary or “integrative” therapy, and it may be used together with standard or conventional treatment for some health conditions.  Meditation is generally considered safe and uses concentration or reflection to relax the body and calm the mind. Studies have shown that practicing meditation may be helpful for a number of health conditions, as well as promoting better sleep and lifting your mood.

People may use meditation to feel calmer and more physically relaxed, help balance their emotions, and just feel better overall. Here are some of the things studies have told us about the health benefits of meditation, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH):

  • When used along with standard medical treatment, meditation may help reduce blood pressure.
  • Meditation-based programs may help reduce symptoms related to menopause, including hot flashes, sleep and mood disturbances, stress, and muscle and joint pain.
  • Some evidence shows meditation can help lessen symptoms of anxiety, depression, and pain.
  • For some cancer patients, meditation has been shown to help relieve anxiety, stress, fatigue, and improve sleep and mood, when used along with standard medical treatment.

There are many ways to meditate. Some meditation practitioners recommend repeating a word or phrase aloud; some use physical movement, such as tai chi or Aikido. Many people meditate by simply finding a quiet place, closing their eyes, and focusing on their breathing or on other soothing elements.

According to the NIH, most types of meditation have 4 things in common:

  • A quiet place with few or no distractions
  • A specific posture or movement, such as a way of sitting, lying down, or walking
  • A focus of attention on a word, an object, or breathing
  • An open attitude that allows for distractions to come and go without judgment

Learn more about using complementary therapies during and after cancer treatment. And, remember it’s very important to talk to your doctor or nurse about any complementary method you are using or thinking about trying. 

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

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