How can mindfulness meditation help you cope with cancer?

Mindfulness is about being fully aware of whatever is happening in the present moment, without filters or the lens of judgement.  Put simply, mindfulness consists of developing awareness of the mind and body and living in the here and now (Stahl & Goldstein, 2010, p. 15).  While mindfulness as a practice is historically based on ancient Buddhist meditative disciplines, it is also a universal practice that anyone can benefit from regardless of spiritual tradition.  By purposely setting aside time to practice being mindful, just as you would practice the piano, the idea is that this will make it possible to be more mindful in the world and everyday life.

Specifically for clients with cancer, mindfulness practice holds the possibility of vastly enriching one’s life, helping you cope with symptoms and side effects, and improving the quality of your life.  Mindfulness may also enhance your immune system’s performance, help reduce harmful levels of stress hormones in your body, decrease pain and stress and increase positive emotions (Carlson & Speca, 2010).

Beginning in July, Bloomhill will be offering an 8 week Mindfulness-based Cancer Recovery Program, which aims at providing teaching around mindfulness practices in a structured and safe manner.  The course will cover several aspects of mindfulness practice, with a practical component and weekly homework tasks to complement the teaching.  The program, based on the work of Carlson & Speca (2010), is specifically designed for clients with cancer and has studies showing benefits in mood disturbances and stress symptoms.   For expressions of interest in this course please email

Meditation sessions are offered on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at Bloomhill.  Each of these sessions are slightly different. 

  • The Monday, iRest Yoga Nidra session is a guided meditation designed to enable participants to connect deeply with their inner sense of well-being & wholeness. It is a healing practice proven to assist with conditions such as insomnia, stress, anxiety, depression & PTSD, & it’s also a wonderful practice to simply help to re-center with accept ourselves. 
  • Wednesday meditation is a guided meditation which uses a variety of approaches including body scan, breathing, awareness and visualization.  It is a good opportunity to bring a sense of quiet to your afternoon to help you get through the business of evenings. 
  • Thursday’s session is a guided mindfulness meditation session based on the work of Jon Kabut Zinn, which assists participants to learn and practice being in the moment through awareness of breath, body scan and sitting meditations, all of which are considered fundamental formal mindfulness practices. 

Please consider join a mediation group, if you can’t make it regularly you can still benefit from popping in every now and then.  It is not hard to learn the basic techniques.  Over time with regular practice, implementing mindfulness practice into daily life enhances our mental capacity, and supports resilience, self-regulation and well-being (Siegel, 2007).


Carlson, L. E., & Speca, M. (2010). Mindfulness-based Cancer Recovery. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.

Siegel, D. (2007). The Mindful Brain: The New Science of Personal Transformation. New York: W. W. Norton.

Stahl, B., & Goldstein, E. (2010). A Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Workbook. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications Inc.


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