Mindfulness techniques help us become more resilient to life’s challenges. Amy Roberts, LCSW and Mindfulness Meditation Teacher at RBOI, says that developing a non-judgmental, beginner’s mind is key. “Be aware of your reactions, your thoughts, your body, but in a way t hat’s patient and trusting,” she explains. “Don’t judge your reactions as right or wrong, or good or bad, but have a childlike curiosity about your feel ings, emotions, or responses. It’s really extending a kindness inward, but also to t hose around you.”

She points to stud ies showing that mindfulness improves memory and concentration. Mindfulness can also decrease stress, anxiety, and depression, while improving quality of life and one’s ability to cope.

Roberts offers free Friday meditation sessions on Zoom. To learn more about mindfulness programs at RBOI, call her at 352-732-0277. You can also access meditation videos at any t ime on RBOI’s guided meditation page, RBOI.com, under t he “Cancer Support” tab.

Come Meditate with Us!

Roberts leads Tuesday meditations noon-1PM, free to any current and former RBOI patient and to any Marion County resident 55 and older. RBOI and Healthy55.org offer this program at One Health Center, 1714 SW 17th Street, Ocala, FL 34471. To sign up, phone or email Brenda Williams at 352-812-2059 or bwilliams@onehealthcenter.com.

Giving Thanks

Having a gratitude practice can lift you out of a dark place. “Gratitude doesn’t mean ignoring what is difficult,” Roberts says. “Life is tough, but a gratitude practice helps to balance the heaviness of managing a crisis. You’re not just your disease. Other things in your life have value or purpose and can give you some sense of joy or safety.”

The practice can include a gratitude journal. “Every morning or evening, write down a few things that happened or that you have that day that you’re grateful for,” Roberts says. It can be somet hing simple like, “I love my hair color today,” or, “I have a roof over my head.” Think about why you are grateful and what those things mean to you.”

Don’t worry if you skip a day or a week, Roberts advises. Just start again. “Patience and empathy are key.”

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Robert Boissoneault Oncology Institute