Breast Cancer and Stress
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, following lung cancer in the United States. New research shows a distinct connection between breast cancer and stress. Therefore, it is very important for women to re-evaluate and eliminate the stress in their lives.
Regular self-breast exams and mammograms are standard tools to fight breast cancer, but with statistics on the rise, women must think holistically about their health. Practicing the following stress-eliminating techniques can not only reduce the risk of cancer, but improve health on multiple levels.
Deep breathing is an easy stress reliever that has numerous benefits for the body, including oxygenating the blood, which wakes up the brain, relaxing muscles and quieting the mind. Breathing exercises are especially helpful because you can do them anywhere, and they work quickly so you can de-stress in a flash.
Meditation builds on deep breathing, and takes it a step further. When you meditate, your brain enters an area of functioning thats similar to sleep, but carries some added benefits you cant achieve as well in any other state, including the release of certain hormones that promote health. Also, the mental focus on nothingness keeps your mind from working overtime and increasing your stress level.
It takes slightly more time to practice guided imagery, but this is a great way to leave your stress behind for a while and relax your body. Some find it easier to practice than meditation, as lots of us find it more doable to focus on something than on nothing. You can play natural sounds in the background as you practice, to promote a more immersive experience.
Building on guided imagery, you can also imagine yourself achieving goals like becoming healthier and more relaxed, doing well at tasks, and handling conflict in better ways. Also, visualizing yourself doing well on tasks youre trying to master actually functions like physical practice, so you can improve your performance through visualizations as well.
Many people exercise to control weight and get in better physical condition to become more healthy or physically attractive, but exercise and stress management are also closely linked. Exercise provides a distraction from stressful situations, as well as an outlet for frustrations and offers a lift via endorphins as well.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
By tensing and relaxing all the muscle groups in your body, you can relieve tension and feel much more relaxed in minutes, with no special training or equipment. Tense all of the muscles in your face, hold a tight grimace for ten seconds, then completely relax for ten seconds. Repeat this with your neck, followed by your shoulders, and so on. You can do this anywhere; and as you practice, you will find you can relax more quickly and easily, reducing tension as quickly as it starts.
Music therapy has shown numerous health benefits for people with conditions ranging from mild (like stress) to severe (like cancer). When dealing with stress, the right music can actually lower your blood pressure, relax your body and calm your mind.
Yoga is one of the oldest self-improvement practices around, dating back over five thousand years! It combines the practices of several other stress management techniques such as breathing, meditation, imagery and movement, providing a lot of benefit for the limited amount of time and energy required.
Information was obtained from About.com