Skip to main content

ACS & ASCO are Stronger Together: Cancer.Net content is now available on


Take a Moment With Meditation

young black man wearing athletic wear sitting in the park meditating

Life can be stressful, especially when coping with illness, grief, anxiety, or depression. One way to help calm your body and mind and achieve some peaceful moments is through meditation. Studies show that practicing meditation may help a number of health conditions, as well as promoting better sleep and lifting your mood.

Meditation is considered a mind-body complementary or “integrative” therapy, and it may be used together with standard or conventional treatment for some health conditions.  Meditation is generally considered safe and uses concentration or reflection to relax the body and calm the mind. 

People may use meditation to help balance their emotions, and just feel better overall. Here are some of the things studies have told us about the health benefits of meditation, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH):

  • When used along with standard medical treatment, meditation may help lower blood pressure.
  • Meditation-based programs may help reduce some menopause symptoms, including hot flashes, sleep and mood disturbances, stress, and muscle and joint pain.
  • Some evidence shows meditation can help lessen anxiety, depression, and pain.
  • For some cancer patients, meditation has been shown to help relieve anxiety, stress, fatigue, and improve sleep and mood, when used along with standard medical treatment.

There are many ways to meditate. Some meditation practitioners recommend repeating a word or phrase aloud, while some use physical movement, such as tai chi or qi gong. Many people meditate by simply finding a quiet place, closing their eyes, and focusing on their breathing or other soothing elements.

According to the NIH, most types of meditation have 4 things in common:

  • A quiet place with few or no distractions
  • A specific posture or movement, such as a way of sitting, lying down, or walking
  • A focus of attention on a word, an object, or breathing
  • An open attitude that allows for thoughts and distractions to come and go without judgment

Learn more about using complementary therapies during and after cancer treatment. And remember it’s very important to talk to your doctor or nurse about any complementary method you are using or thinking about trying. 

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as editors and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.