Getting Support for Breast Cancer
What Are Some Effective Relaxation Exercises?
Here are some relaxation exercises to try:
- Two-minute relaxation. Switch your thoughts to yourself and your breathing. Take a few deep breaths, exhaling slowly. Mentally scan your body. Notice areas that feel tense or cramped. Quickly loosen up these areas. Let go of as much tension as you can. Rotate your head in a smooth, circular motion once or twice. (Stop any movements that cause pain.) Roll your shoulders forward and backward several times. Let all of your muscles relax completely. Recall a pleasant thought for a few seconds. Take another deep breath and exhale slowly. You should feel relaxed.
- Mind relaxation. Close your eyes. Breathe normally through your nose. As you exhale, silently say to yourself the word "one," a short word such as "peaceful," or a short phrase such as "I feel quiet." Continue for 10 minutes. If your mind wanders, gently remind yourself to think about your breathing and your chosen word or phrase. Let your breathing become slow and steady.
- Deep-breathing relaxation. Imagine a spot just below your belly button. Breathe into that spot and fill your belly with air. Let the air fill you from the belly up, then let it out, like deflating a balloon. With every long, slow breath out, you should feel more relaxed.
How Can I Make My Life Better?
If breast cancer is causing you stress, the most important step you can take is to seek help as soon as you feel less able to cope. (See "What Types of Help Are Available" below.) Taking action early will help you understand and deal with the many effects of your illness. Learning to manage stress will help you keep a positive physical, emotional, and spiritual outlook on life.
How Do I Keep Track of My Medical Information?
Learning about breast cancer and your care can be confusing, especially with all of the doctors and other health care professionals involved. Here are some tips for keeping track:
- Don't be afraid to ask your doctor, nurse, or other health care professional to repeat any instructions or medical terms you don't understand. They should always be available to answer your questions and address your concerns.
- Use the resources and support services offered by your hospital and in the community. Learning more about your disease will help you feel more comfortable with your treatment.
- Take notes at your appointments so that you can remember what your doctor told you. If you can bring a friend or family member to your appointments, they can help take notes and ask questions.
- Ask your family and friends to help you sort through the information you receive.
- Talk with other patients and families about breast cancer and its treatment.