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Mind-Body Wellness for Cancer Patients

Cancer is stressful to mental, emotional and sleep health. Did you know that you can help yourself cope by creating inner relaxation and shifting the way you think? This is called mind-body wellness and it’s developed through practicing mindfulness. 

Research shows that mindfulness-based interventions can decrease cancer-related emotional distress, fatigue, pain, and nausea while improving sleep and an overall sense of well-being.  

Mindfulness means paying attention to the present moment – thoughts, feelings and senses – with openness and curiosity, and without judgment. There are a variety of techniques that can help you create this mindset and strengthen your mind-body health. 

If you're a patient or caregiver at St. Luke's Cancer Institute and would like to practice mindfulness skills in person with a licensed clinical social worker, please call your St. Luke's Cancer Institute treatment location in BoiseFruitlandMeridianNampa, or Twin Falls and ask for the social work department.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)

MBSR is a program that helps you learn to calm your mind and body to help you cope with illness, pain, and stress.

MBSR teaches "mindfulness," which is a focus only on things happening in the present moment. Mindfulness is not a time to "zone out" or "space out" but is rather a time to purposefully pay attention and be aware of your surroundings, your emotions, your thoughts, and how your body feels.

Controlled Breathing

The way you breathe affects your whole body. This technique can help you relax, reduce tension, and relieve stress.

Guided Imagery

This technique directs the imagination to positive images to help relax your mind and body. It can have a powerful influence on how you feel. 

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

This technique involves tensing and relaxing major muscle groups and aims to reduce feelings of tension and stress while increasing relaxation.


Meditation reduces the release of stress hormones and helps shift focus away from pain.

More Powerful Tools

  • Gratitude

    Nurture a happier self with gratitude, practicing the recognition of positive aspects of your life to distract from your misfortunes. 

  • Optimism

    Optimism is a hopeful, positive outlook on the future, yourself, and the world around you. It's a key part of resilience, the inner strength that helps you in tough times.

  • Laughter

    Laughter can shift your mind from medical memories and worries to the present moment. It also increases endorphins, the feel-good brain chemical, which helps decrease physical pain.

More on Mind-Body Wellness

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    Sleep and Your Health

  • Article

    Stress Management

Mobile Apps Can Help You Stay on Track 

Mobile Apps Can Help You Stay on Track 

Convenient, Timely, and Motivational Support

Apps for your mobile phone can be helpful in improving mind-body habits because they offer convenient programs, built-in encouragement, and timely, motivational reminders. In choosing an app, consider your budget and the content developer’s training and credentials; you'll want to make sure the strategies used are evidence-based.

Most apps have a free-trial period and then offer a subscription, while some are entirely free of charge. Please contact the St. Luke’s Cancer Institute social work department at your care location for further guidance in finding a mobile app to support your mind-body wellness.