Relaxation for Dealing with Chemotherapy

This guided imagery script is for dealing with chemotherapy. Relaxation can help improve immune system function, reduce pain, and decrease stress to have an overall positive impact on healing.

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Begin by getting comfortable. You may want to lie down or sit in a supportive chair. Allow your eyes to gently close as you turn your attention to this exercise and just focus on my voice for a few moments.


Let all your worries go for now...and just let your mind drift and relax.

(Pause)

In a moment I will ask you to take ten slow breaths. Count each breath as you exhale, and breathe very slowly...calmly...and concentrate all your attention just on your breathing.

When you are ready to begin, take a deep, slow breath in through your nose. Once your lungs have filled completely, let the breath slowly escape...ever so slowly and peacefully breathing out as you concentrate on the number one.

Take the next breath when you are ready, and silently count “two" as you exhale. Continue counting until you reach ten breaths. Then just relax peacefully.

(Pause)

Now that you are starting to relax, turn your attention inward, to your body. Dealing with chemotherapy can be difficult because of the problematic symptoms associated with treatment, the stress of undergoing treatment, and fears about the chemotherapy and illness. Relaxation can help with healing and with reducing the side effects of treatment.

Let’s begin by focusing on reducing the unpleasant feelings associated with treatment by increasing feelings of acceptance and positive self regard.

Chemotherapy side effects may involve nausea, feeling tired, and hair loss. Notice how your body feels now, in this moment. Just allow yourself to feel however it is you are feeling right now, without trying to change anything. Acceptance can be healing...so let’s focus on acceptance first.

In this moment, concentrate on accepting how you are feeling. Embrace this moment...with an attitude of completely accepting who you are and how you are feeling. However you feel right now, you are okay as a person and you can accept yourself just as you are.

Create a positive, warm feeling of love toward yourself, thinking about and treating yourself kindly. Your emotions - positive, negative, neutral...however you feel right now...are okay. Regard yourself with compassion. Concentrate fully on acceptance.

(Pause)

Continue to use compassion to view yourself, your body, and the healing process. Breathe deeply and slowly...letting go of tension and allowing your body and mind to relax...deeper and deeper...so calm and serene.

Now begin to create a picture in your mind. Imagine the cancer cells. You may picture them as small, dark dots, or as blobs with spiky green bumps...or some other way. Create your own mental picture of the cancer cells in whatever way you imagine them.

Imagine the chemotherapy treatment attacking the cancer cells and removing every cancer cell from your body. Picture your own immune system attacking and removing the cancer cells.

See your own healthy cells becoming stronger and stronger. See the chemotherapy treatment attacking only the cancer cells, while leaving the healthy cells undamaged.

You may imagine the cancer cells being shrivelled up, or getting lighter and lighter until they disappear, or being lasered away by the chemotherapy treatment. Create your own personal mental picture of the chemo treatment and the way it works.

(Pause)

See the chemotherapy treatment working in harmony with your body and your immune system.

(Pause)

Picture every single cancer cell being removed forever from your body...leaving only healthy tissue in its place.

(Pause)

Concentrate your attention on your immune system. Allow your body to relax...and imagine your immune system becoming stronger, healthier, and more effective...thriving in the relaxed environment.

See your body healing.

(Pause)

As you relax, imagine a deep, lasting sense of peace and serenity that stays with you throughout the rest of the day, and anytime you think about dealing with chemotherapy. Imagine feeling completely calm, positive, and healthy.

Imagine a calm, settled feeling in your stomach and in your body.

See yourself coping positively with any side effects that do arise...knowing that any side effects that may come are steps along the way to reaching optimal health. Rest...and relax...assured that the relaxation you are practicing can help to keep your body and your mind functioning at their best.

By taking care of yourself and doing relaxation, you are helping your immune system operate as well as possible and you are minimizing side effects of chemotherapy. You are taking care of yourself...healing...relaxing...

(Pause)

Be kind to yourself. It is okay to be frustrated when side effects arise, and you may be dealing with upsetting chemotherapy side effects such as hair loss, fatigue, nausea, and general anxiety related to dealing with these things. It’s okay to feel however you are feeling. You are allowed to be upset and angry.

Let’s take a moment to explore some of these negative emotions...knowing that it is okay to feel them...and it okay if you feel differently, too. For the next few moments, notice whatever feelings and emotions are present, without trying to change anything at all.

(Pause)

Good. Acknowledge the emotions that you became aware of, and treat yourself with compassion. You may want to make a commitment to yourself now to connect with someone within the next few days to talk about the feelings you experience. Talking helps. Connecting with supportive people is part of your self care.

Now think about how you would like to feel right now. You can create genuine positive feelings, and these positive emotions can help you relax and reduce your stress. Relaxation is good for healing.

Create positive, pleasant emotions by imagining a happy experience, picturing a peaceful place, by praying...take a few moments now to nurture the positive, joyful feelings you would like to experience today.

(Pause)

Imagine going about the rest of your day feeling good...filled with energy...motivated to do things you enjoy. Continue to take care of yourself...

Remember to rest often...and know that rest is helping you be as healthy as you can...

(Pause)

Let’s conclude this relaxation exercise with five calm breaths. In a moment, I will count out five slow breaths. At the end of five breaths, you may choose to drift off to sleep or to return to full alertness and wakefulness. If you are ready to reawaken your body, you may wish to stretch as you do these breaths, and sit for a few moments quietly with your eyes open to let your body fully wake up.

Take a deep breath in...and out...one...

Breathe...two...

In...three...

Breathe in...four...

Breathe...Five.


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