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  • Writer's pictureOliver James | Breathwork Coach

Coping with stress | Clearing stress & anxiety from our body

Stress and anxiety are common side effects of cancer and its treatment but that stress doesn't just affect the person receiving the diagnosis. Stress and anxiety spills over and can affect everyone around them, from close family and friends to wider acquaintances and even work colleagues.

Feelings of stress and anxiety can negatively affect the quality of life of patients with cancer as well as their families and may lead to other complications, such as nausea and vomiting before each treatment, having more pain than usual, headaches or sleeplessness.

Feelings of stress and anxiety can be eased using different kinds of emotional and social support. We are hugely grateful to Oliver James, a body led pyschotherapist and author of 21 Breaths for sharing these exercises which will help clear stress and anxiety from our body. Ollie specialises in breathwork and breathing techniques for managing a wide range of conditions. The techniques he shares with us can be found in his book.

In the first video (above) Ollie explains the difference between stress and anxiety and talks us through 2 exercises that we can do to help release our stress and anxiety.

In the first exercise Ollie runs through 4 essential questions that we can ask ourselves to help immediately relieve some of the stress we may be holding:

  1. What can I say? e.g. what can I say to myself to help pep me up? What can I say to others to help them understand where I'm at?

  2. What can I do? e.g. what are some 'quick wins' I can do in the next 5 minutes to ease the stress of my 'to do' list.

  3. How can I lighten my own load? e.g. What can I move off the 'to do' list for today?

  4. What can I let go? e.g. because it is completely out of my control?

In the second video (below) Ollie walks us through a 5 minute stress and anxiety workout that we can do alongside Ollie.

Please note that this technique should not cause harm or pain. If you feel discomfort at any stage, stop practice and consider trying again another time.


We'd like to say a big thank you to Ollie for sharing these exercises with us. Should you wish to find out more about breathwork and breathing techniques with Oliver James, you can visit

You can purchase Ollie's book 21 Breaths here.


CancerPal sells a wide range of products that have been recommended to help ease the stress and anxiety associated with a cancer diagnosis as well as a range of Wellbeing Care Boxes.


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