Mind/Body Techniques and Something Hard to Define…

I promised you the “mind/body” techniques, and I will post them for you at the end of this. But for now I just needed to do a quick bit of rambling. So over the last several weeks my blood counts have been dropping, and I just haven’t felt “right”. Do you know that feeling? Where you can tell that something isn’t as it should be, bit you don’t know what that something actually is? This last week for example, Monday started with a migraine. Not completely out of the ordinary. I get migraines fairly frequently. But the rest of the week continued getting stranger. Wednesday I was so dizzy and nauseated I could barely see, I had to leave work. (driving home was quite the adventure :-\)I was too weak/tired to get off the couch or out of bed the rest of the day. The rest of the week I felt basically the same way. I have been very tired, disoriented and weak. I’m tired to the point of being unable to function normally. Just feel like I’m blundering around stupidly. Which will hopefully explain the disorganization of the previous paragraph. Please forgive me. On to the original purpose of this post…

Below are the techniques shown to us at the NORD MPN Meeting in San Antonio by Sharon Cohan of the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. I urge you to try them when you’re feeling stressed or sick. I’ve been trying the relaxation breathing off and on today, and it really has been helping a bit.


  • Mind-body techniques are coping strategies that work well for many people 
    with chronic illnesses, including cancer. 
  • These techniques have a number of potential benefits.
  • They reduce stress and help to restore a sense of control over both your body and your emotions.
  • They can help relieve or reduce distressing symptoms, including pain, 
    anxiety, and nausea.
  • They can be done whenever and wherever you want to do them. Once you learn them, they belong to you.
  • There are several mind-body techniques you can learn.  You can choose the ones that feel
    right for you.  We have already practiced 2 of them during this workshop.
  • Deep breathing, the first technique we practiced, is designed to help promote relaxation and focus the mind.
  • With progressive muscle relaxation, you tighten and then relax various muscle groups, one by one, until your entire body is relaxed.
  • Meditation is a technique that requires you to focus your attention inward.  You concentrate on your breathing and on the present moment.  We practiced special-word, or mantra, meditation earlier.  There are other forms of meditation as well.
  • Guided imagery involves creating a peaceful, pleasant picture or image of a place in your mind, where you can go to distract yourself from unpleasant or anxiety-producing situations.


Before we go on, let’s take a moment to breathe slowly and relax using a special technique.

You use it any time you feel you need it.

  • Close your eyes. Take a breath in while counting to 1; then let the breath out while counting to 1. (Breathe in: 1.  Breathe out: 1.)
  • Take a slightly deeper breath while counting to 2; then breathe out while counting to 2. 
    (Breathe in: 1, 2.  Breathe out: 1, 2.)
  • Now breathe in to the count of 3; breathe out to the count of 3. 
    (Breathe in: 1, 2, 3. Breathe out: 1, 2, 3.)
  • Now take a deeper breath in to the count of 4; breathe out to the count of 4.
    (Breathe in: 1, 2, 3, 4.  Breathe out: 1, 2, 3, 4.)
  • Next take a breath in while counting to 5; let the breath out to the count of 5. 
    (Breathe in: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.  Breathe out: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.)
  • Now work backward, starting with 5 counts, then 4, then 3, then 2, then 1:

–       Breathe in: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.  Breathe out: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

–       Breathe in: 1, 2, 3, 4.  Breathe out: 1, 2, 3, 4.

–       Breathe in: 1, 2, 3.  Breathe out: 1, 2, 3.

–       Breathe in: 1, 2.  Breathe out: 1, 2.

–       Breathe in: 1.  Breathe out: 1.

  • Sit quietly for a few minutes and let your breathing return to normal. 


  • Let’s pause for a moment to relax.  This is a relaxation method called 
    special-word meditation, or mantra meditation.
  • First, choose your special word.  It should be a simple word or phrase 
    that has some relaxing or comforting meaning for you.  Examples include “peace,” “tranquil,” or “I am at peace.”
  • Close your eyes.  Breathe in deeply.  Then let the breath out slowly.  
    Repeat this 2 more times.
  • Start to repeat your special word silently to yourself.  Continue to breathe slowly.  Say the word to yourself as you breathe in.  Then say it as you 
    breathe out.
  • If stray thoughts come into your mind, just turn your attention back to your special word and continue to repeat it to yourself as you breathe.
  • When it is time to end the meditation, take a deep breath in and let it out slowly.  Breathe in and out one more time.  Then slowly open your eyes.

<<MIND-BODY TECHNIQUE: Guided Imagery>>

  • We can take a moment to practice a guided-imagery exercise now.

–       Close your eyes.  Think about where you would like your peaceful place to be. Maybe it’s a beach at sunrise.  Maybe you’re floating on a lake or sitting on a blanket in the woods.  As you picture your special place, continue to breathe naturally.  Picture as much detail about your place as possible

q What do you see around you?

q What do you smell?

q What do you hear?  Do you hear the breeze?   The ocean?  
Are birds singing?  Pay attention to the sounds.

q How do you feel in this special place?  Remember that feeling.

–       Sit quietly in your place for a while

<<Facilitator:  Allow the group to sit quietly for a couple of minutes.  Then end the exercise.>>

–       When you are ready to leave, take a deep breath in and let it out slowly.  
Open your eyes


As always, you are your own best advocate. If you do not take care of yourself, who will?

Until next time,



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