Mind-body therapies such as mindfulness meditation and attending support groups are well known to offer mental benefits to cancer patients, but now research shows they have a positive impact at the cellular level, too.
In a study of 88 breast-cancer survivors, those who practiced mindfulness meditation or attended support groups maintained the length of their telomeres, while those who had no intervention had shorter telomeres at the end of the study. Telomeres are protective a€?capsa€? at the ends of your chromosomes (sometimes described as the plastic tips on the ends of your shoelaces), which have been marked as a measure of aging.
So in addition to a healthy lifestyle that includes nutritious foods and exercise, cancer survivors may benefit from psychosocial interventions that provide stress reduction and emotional support. When youa€™re mindful, you focus on the present moment without letting your mind wander to past events or future obligations.


For best results, you may want to receive professional instruction, but you can also try this basic mindfulness meditation from Harvard Medical School.
Living With Cancer is Mayo Clinic's blog for cancer survivors, written by nurse educator, Sheryl Ness. Sign up to receive the Living With Cancer email newsletter, and receive Sheryl's latest blog posts as well as news and information important to cancer survivors and their families.
Check out this Mayo Clinic resource that is highlighted in the blog post - The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living by Dr. Such support groups are widely available across the United States, and if youa€™re wondering about mindfulness meditation, ita€™s a state of mind that allows you to a€?observea€? your thoughts without judgment.


Mind-body exercises, such as yoga, can also help you to promote mindfulness by focusing on deep breathing, relaxation and slow, purposeful movements.




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