April is Stress Awareness Month—a month devoted to increasing awareness about stress. The goal of Stress Awareness Month, instituted in 1992, is three-fold: to help the public understand the dangers of stress, how to cope with stress and to clarify potentially harmful misconceptions about stress.
According to the National Cancer Institute, psychological stress is “what people feel when they are under mental, physical, or emotional pressure.” Some amount of stress is normal, but high levels of stress or prolonged stress can be problematic. While the National Cancer Institute states that the causal connection between stress and cancer is weak, stress may sometimes have negative health effects. For example, people who live with chronic stress may be more likely to have digestive problems or trouble sleeping, be more prone to infection and more likely to engage in behaviors, such as smoking or over eating, than have negative health effects of their own.
Psychological stress can also affect people impacted by cancer. A cancer diagnosis can be stressful, and how patients and caregivers manage their stress can impact their overall quality of life. People experiencing cancer who have healthy stress management techniques often have better overall quality of life.
Here are five of our favorite videos from patients and caregivers offering helpful tips for managing stress:
- Caring for Yourself as a Caregiver: The Importance of Humor: Click here to watch the video. “It’s not always easy, but humor becomes really important for yourself, I think, and for the patient.”
- How Support Groups Can Help: Click here to watch the video. “I was able to talk to a group of men who had been through the same thing, and I thought that was helpful.”
- Strategies for Managing the Anxiety Related to the Fear of Recurrence: Click here to watch the video. “The practice of yoga, or stress reduction, or mindfulness, or meditation…offer ways of teaching people practical methods for managing emotions.”
- How Mindfulness Helped: Click here to watch the video. “Mindfulness was very, very interesting—because many people might refer to it simply as meditation—I was simply shown another way that I can effectively reduce my stress, my anxiety, to a point where it’s nicely manageable.”
- Exercise Was Key to my Recovery, Emotionally as Well: Click here to watch the video. “Exercise was key.”
We hope that these videos inspire you and help you manage your stress this month and all year long.
If you or a loved one is experiencing distress, please feel free to reach out through our toll-free Cancer Helpline at 1-888-793-9355. Read more about our Helpline here.
For more tips on stress management, click here.
If you are interested in viewing more videos from people experiencing cancer, care givers, mental health professionals, and Cancer Support Community experts, check out our YouTube channel.