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27 Jul 2021

Stress is Epidemic, What Can We Do About It?

Tamara J. Green, LCSW and David Dachinger

Stress kills! And 75 to 90 percent of all visits to the doctor are for stress-related complaints and ailments. Stress is a factor in five out of the six leading causes of death.

When we began our stage-4 cancer journey as patient and caregiver, we were in constant crisis, traumatized by the unexpected diagnosis and a fast-track schedule of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Whether we were in the infusion center, the doctor’s office, the waiting room, or at home, we felt scared, stressed, and overwhelmed. Furthermore, our wonderful healthcare providers also appeared tired, strained, and pressured.

 

                                    stressed

 

We decided to take action to reduce our level of daily tension by exploring meditation and other relaxation techniques. This changed everything. We began a practice of doing one to five-minute techniques that quieted our mind and stabilized our nervous system. We began to turn our cancer journey into an experience of calm and gratitude, so much so that during a visit with our Oncologist, he inquired what we were doing that made us seem relaxed, smiling, and at peace. We told him about our mindfulness tools and he declared, “I want this for all of my patients and families!”

This same Oncologist pronounced, “Not only are you cancer-free, but you didn’t require the typical intervention for your kind of cancer, like severe weight loss, depression or hospitalization for a feeding tube or an infection.”

Today, we’re cancer-free for over seven years and we’re still using these simple, profoundly effective zero-effort techniques to remain calm and happy. And a growing number of research studies continue to validate the effectiveness of meditation and mindfulness for those living with cancer.

Johns Hopkins University researchers examined almost 19,000 studies on meditation and found 47 trials on stress and anxiety which they deemed well-designed studies. The results of this meta-study were published in The Journal of the American Medical Association’s Internal Medicine.  They suggest that mindful meditation brings calming benefits to psychological stresses like depression, anxiety, and pain.

In psychoneuroimmunology (the study of how the mind affects health and the body’s resistance to disease), research shows that thoughts influence the immune system, and stress makes you sick.4 If that’s compelling enough to motivate you, why not launch a new healthy habit of mindfulness and meditation?



No Time To Meditate?

No problem. The kind of ‘meditation’ we’ve been using and teaching does not require extra time or effort. It’s more like a way of being and is adapted to use right in the middle of daily stress. Once you understand the underlying concept of how to quiet the mind, it can be done even within the most anxious moment of your day. Especially with practice, the calming results are immediate, and beneficial for managing stress.

 

A Quiet Mind for Everyone, Even Healthcare Providers

We may all agree how vital it is for cancer patients and their families to have daily calming practices, but what about the providers? Absolutely! Now more than ever, physicians, nurses, social workers, and technicians are burnt out to the point of major fatigue, health issues, and even suicide.

 

How to See Immediate Results

At Loving Meditations, we envision a world where healthcare not only provides excellent medical treatment, but also becomes THE place for patients and their families to de-stress. For example, what if each healthcare provider team includes a 1-minute meditation or mindfulness during each visit with their patients? And what if family members receive the same benefit by watching calming content while waiting for their loved ones? This resource can be a win-win for patients, caregivers, and the providers.

Patients, caregivers, and providers can access Loving Meditations using a mobile app on the iOS and Android platforms. There is no need to find a meditation studio or Tibetan mountain cave, just pop in your earbuds and press play. The Loving Meditations library of guided meditations and visualizations can easily shift anyone from stressed-out to blissed-out in seconds.

 

For more information, go to https://lovingmeditations.com/loving-meditations-app/

 

1https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnhum.2017.00316/full

2Salleh MR. Life event, stress and illness. Malays J Med Sci. 2008;15(4):9-18.

3https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/mindfulness-meditation-may-ease-anxiety-mental-stress-201401086967

4https://www.apa.org/research/action/immune

 

 

 

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