How Cancer Helps Patients Reconnect With Their Spirituality

It’s hard to list the benefits of cancer, but some people find that this terrifying disease creates new inroads to their spiritual development. In fact, many patients say they never would have acquired their enhanced sense of spiritualism without it. Cancer survivors sometimes find themselves grateful for their brutal experience because it changed their perspective and and made them realize what really matters. Treatment is a great time to get your spiritual house in order.


The first step in building that foundation is through meditation (or prayer if you’re a person of faith).

Meditation doesn’t require any special skills or equipment and it doesn’t take much time. Some people visualize being stuck in the lotus position on a mountain top till their legs are permanently disfigured and all they can manage to say is “ommmmm.” It doesn’t have to be that way.

Just find yourself a comfortable position in a place that’s quiet and let your mind relax. Taking deep, slow breaths will help you get to the right mental attitude. If you think you’ll be anxious about how long the process will take, set a timer for five minutes and promise yourself that when it dings, you’ll quit. That step can help newcomers relax into the process.

MORE: How to use mindfulness to heal body and soul

When you’re comfortable, focus on emptying your brain of thought. It’s harder than it sounds. During chemo, when you’re trying to remember a word or your best friend’s name, your mind can go blank. But during meditation, when you want to make your brain go blank, you may experience an onslaught of lists and useless trivia. It happens to everyone.

Beginners and even experienced meditators can be attacked by a marching band of distractions that make the whole exercise feel pointless. Believe it or not, as you practice, those internal noises gradually shut themselves off, and meditation becomes a ticket to priceless moments of peaceful release. With practice, you get to that golden space faster and go deeper in when you do.

The first time you’re successful, you won’t believe it. Some people swear they feel like they got a full night’s sleep after only a moment of quiet time. Their souls feel refreshed and their brains better able to focus.

Meditation requires energy, especially if you’re new to it. At times, you might find that you’re just too physically exhausted to make it work. If that happens, be gentle, let it go, and try it again later. You might have better luck after you’ve just awakened from a replenishing nap or when you’re feeling strong after a meal. At some point you too, might list cancer as one of your life’s blessings.

MORE: How cancer patients can still find joy during the holidays

Breast Cancer News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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