PHOENIX – The University of Arizona will use a $1.7 million grant for cancer survivors and their partners to practice “compassionate thinking,” researching whether the program can ease their anxiety. , depression and feelings of isolation.
The grant from the National Cancer Institute will allow researchers to study whether the program, called Cognitively Based Compassion Meditation, works to ease the emotional turmoil that often develops in patients and their loved ones. care, said Thaddeus Pace, the principal investigator.
Researchers are trying to determine if the method helps release stress on the immune system of the animals and their caregivers. A 2015 report on a pilot study with a group of cancer survivors showed an improvement in their mood, and the ability to embrace the present without worrying about it coming back. the cancer is coming back.
Pace explained that another study, in 2019, showed the possibility that “there may be something important about the creatures that bring the companions that they see every day. “
“We’ve had a variety of positive results from survivors and partners who have participated in research with us,” Pace said. “They will recommend this practice to their friends and other survivors and their families.”
Compassionate thinking is designed to promote empathy, Pace said.
“It’s thinking about our feelings for other people, and our feelings about ourselves,” he said.
According to the University of Arizona College of Nursing, personality is about thinking and how one relates to another person.
When the study begins in May, participants will attend a weekly meeting online for eight weeks. More lessons will be done at the end of the summer, then meet again next spring.
“We hope to reach out to survivors and partners across the state, and across the United States,” Pace said.
Sally Dodds, a teacher who has practiced meditation for more than 20 years, said that charity groups, first created at UArizona, begin with meditation exercises. Survivors and caregivers are advised to sit on a cushion or sit and keep their feet on the ground. The instructor then guides them to focus on their breathing, eliminating unwanted thoughts. After the sessions are over, participants are encouraged to self-reflect three times a week using pre-recorded audio recordings given to them at the end of each session. week.
“It’s about self-awareness and looking at how it works — looking inward at how your mind works,” Dodds says. “These techniques will help you make decisions about the habits you have in your mind.”
When participants report for the next reflection session, the coaches will gather feedback on what worked and what didn’t work.
“CBCT (Cognitively Based Compassion Training) starts with helping people focus their attention and focus on the present moment,” says Pace. “Then, after those skills in two weeks, you start to explore these ideas of self-love and how you can create yourself in a connected world.”
“We want to focus on breast cancer survivors because they are going through a difficult process and are left with a lot of challenges,” Dodds said.
Dodds remembers a woman in her class who went into treatment and struggled to hold down a job and raise three children, straining her marriage.
“He came into class and said, ‘I had the best one when I went to work one morning. My husband called and said, “I just wanted to tell you after you thought about it, how easy it is to be around you, and how much I love you,” Dodds said.
The benefits of a compassionate mind, Dodds says, are to shine a light on those around them.