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Coping with stress: Tried-and-true tips

In this day and age, none of us is a stranger to stress, but if you or a loved one is dealing with cancer, you may be extra anxious. Although a certain amount of stress is normal and even invigorating, ongoing high tension can trigger a host of physical effects and possibly even sabotage cancer treatment.

Fortunately, you can reduce stress in many ways. Here are a few strategies to get you started:

  • Plan relaxing activities. Focus your mind and body on a calming activity. Relaxing may be as simple as deep breathing, petting your dog or taking a walk in the woods. Or keeping calm might involve learning a technique such as meditation.
  • Rely on social support. The support that family, friends and co-workers have to offer may be crucial to reducing anxiety. Social involvement with others will also help you avoid isolation and depression, conditions that can increase stress, especially at this time. Consider joining a cancer support group for increased understanding.
  • Concentrate on the present. A lot of stress builds up when we worry about what happened in the past or will happen in the future, especially things we can’t control. Concentrate on present conditions you can change.
  • Tackle problems one at a time. It’s much easier to work out a solution to one problem than to many. Isolating problems also tends to make each one less intimidating.
  • Don’t overreact. Keep in mind that some of the stress we feel may actually be created by our own overreaction to life’s unavoidable situations. Stop and think, “Is this really worth getting worked up about?” More often than not, you may find yourself answering no.