Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash
Mindfulness is practicing present moment awareness without the distraction of thoughts about the past or future. When practiced regularly, it increases our ability to see things as they arise clearly and without judgment. It enables us to become more aware of ourselves, our thoughts and the world around us with the goal of being more fully present in our lives. It ultimately allows us to better control our thoughts rather than allowing our thoughts and emotions to control us.
This benefits our health in several ways. It allows us to remain calm and actively participate in our own healthcare decisions. It helps us better deal with stress and anxiety, thereby minimizing both. Over time, a consistent mindfulness practice can help the body decrease inflammation, bolster our immune systems, lower blood pressure, increase stamina, slow down aging at the cellular level and even determine which genes in our chromosomes are turned on (or remain off.)
As with any type of full wellness support, it is important to fully research and form your own opinion on whether Mindfulness is right for you in partnership with a qualified healthcare professional. Below are some resource links to help you get started.
Informative Articles / Videos
By Lu Hanessian
An interview with Dr. Linda Carlson about her pioneering research and clinical work on mindfulness practice in cancer recovery. Includes a sample mindfulness meditation practice for you to try today.
By Bret Stetka
The results of a 2014 study, which found meditating cancer patients were able to affect the makeup of their DNA.
By Linda E. Carlson, PhD, CPsych
Dr. Linda Carlson co-founded the Mindfulness-Based Cancer Recovery program, which is specifically geared towards helping cancer patients cope with the stresses that accompany their disease. In this article, she provides an overview of the steps needed to develop a beneficial mindfulness practice.
By Valérie Sanja Tettinek
Valérie Sanja Tettinek shares the mindfulness practices that helped her survive a cancer diagnosis with a prognosis of only 6 months to live in 2011.
Linda Carlson | TEDxCanmore
In this engaging Tedx event, Dr. Linda Carlson shares her insights into the why, what and how of practicing mindfulness, gleaned from nearly 20 years teaching mindfulness-based stress reduction to thousands of patients and researching its benefits in healthcare settings.
By Linda E. Carlson, PhD, RPsych
Another article by Dr. Linda Carlson. This one provides a summary of mindfulness-based interventions with a greater emphasis on scientific evidence of the benefits provided specifically to cancer patients.
By Susan Bauer-Wu, PhD, RN
A well-referenced article that covers the history of mindfulness, how it works, how mindfulness-based practices are currently used and the evidence supporting its specific benefits to cancer patients.
This website is managed by Jerome Freedman, a member of the Connect4Hope community who has used mindfulness o help his son beat stage 4 kidney cancer in 1976 and as part of his own 23+ years survival of bladder cancer.
Am Mindfulness app
Includes a cancer journey module.
Find it on Google Play or the Apple iTunes store.
Typically 8-week group programs consisting of weekly meetings and daily home practices, including a variety of mindfulness and yoga exercises.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a mindfulness program created by Jon Kabat-Zinn and launched at the UMASS Medical School in 1979. Now it is available in over 250 hospitals around the world to help alleviate the stress related to various medical conditions and illness as well as support people dealing with anxiety, depression, chronic pain and more. MBSR has been scientifically shown to be an effective complement to a wide variety of medical and psychological conditions, including cancer. Through this program, patients learn to develop the ability to see their current life challenges more objectively and learn how to relate to them differently so they suffer less. Ongoing practice is required to sustain and maximize the benefits from the course.
Click HERE for the UMASS Medical School Center for Mindfulness online course.
Click HERE to find a UMASS Medical School Center for Mindfulness certified MBSR teacher near you.
MBCR is a specialized adaptation of MBSR specifically geared towards helping cancer patients cope with the stresses of a cancer diagnosis. These include uncertainty about the future, disruptions to daily routines and relationships, loss of control, fears of physical symptoms or functional losses resulting from the disease or its treatment. Research continues to show that the program leads to significant reductions in stress, anxiety, depression, sleep difficulties, fatigue, pain and fear of cancer recurrence and improvements in behavioral and cognitive coping, emotional stability, and quality of life.
Click HERE for the Mindfulness-Based Cancer Recovery guidebook.
Full Disclosure: Connect4Hope has an affiliate marketing relationship with Amazon.com
by Linda Carlson, PhD RPsych and Michael Speca, PsyD RPsych
This book helps you to get stress and anxiety under control, allowing you to improve your quality of life and giving you the emotional strength to let go of fear and focus on hope - both during and after cancer.
By Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D.
This is a good introductory book to the practice of mindfulness - what it is and how it works, but explained in a way that is not overwhelmingly technical. If you are brand new to the concept of mindfulness, we recommend reading this book first.
By John Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D.
This book guides you to develop your own mindfulness practice in a gradual way and includes some of the same practices currently taught in MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) clinics throughout the world. It comes with a CD with five guided mindfulness meditations by Jon Kabat-Zinn to help you get started on your mindfulness journey.
By Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D.
This book provides more in-depth instruction on how to work with the present moment in ways that encourage insight and healing as well as the science behind why mindfulness is so beneficial. It gets into the technical and scientific detail on a much deeper level than Wherever You Go, There You Are and Mindfulness for Beginners.