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Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
Information about all aspects of health care from choosing a doctor and treatment, staying safe in a hospital, to end of life care. Includes how to obtain, choose and maximize health insurance policies.
Answers to your practical questions such as how to travel safely despite your health condition, how to avoid getting infected by a pet, and what to say or not say to an insurance company.


Many people with a serious health condition have found that practicing visualization has helped relieve their pain or reduce their stress.

To find a local teacher, contact a local hospital, American Cancer Society (800.ACS.2345), or any organization that relates to any type of cancer. You can even find free help learning about visualizations on line - for instance by searching on "visualizations" in offsite link.  There are even apps for the iPhone, iPad and Android mobile phones.

One way to do a visualization is through the following exercise. Each of the steps is described in other sections of this document:

Step One: Find a quiet, relaxing place.
Step Two: Get into a comfortable position and close your eyes.
Step Three: Breathe deeply and slowly.
Step Four: Squeeze and release each major muscle group.
Step Five: Imagine a calming scene.
Step Six: Slowly return to reality.

Before trying the full exercise, first practice steps 1 through 4, so you can get used to deep breathing and muscle relaxation.

You may find that your mind wanders. When you notice yourself thinking of something else, gently direct your attention back to your deepening relaxation.

Be sure to maintain your deep breathing.

If any one of these steps makes you feel uncomfortable, feel free to leave it out.

Step One. Find a quiet, relaxing place.

  • Find a quiet place where you can rest undisturbed for 5 to 20 minutes. 
    • Let others know you need this time for yourself.
    • If you are in a public place, perhaps a bathroom can provide a quiet place.
  • Make sure the setting is relaxing. For example, dim the lights if you like, and find a comfortable chair or couch.

Step Two. Get into a comfortable position and close your eyes.

  • Get into a comfortable position where you can relax your muscles.
  • Close your eyes and clear your mind of distractions.

Step Three: Breathe deeply and slowly.

  • Breathe deeply, at a slow and relaxing pace. People usually breathe shallowly, high in their chests.
  • Concentrate on breathing deeply and slowly, raising your belly, rather than just your chest, with each breath.

Step Four: Squeeze and release each major muscle group.

  • Go through each of your major muscle groups, tensing (squeezing) them for 10 seconds and then relaxing. If tensing any particular muscle group is painful, skip the tensing step and concentrate just on relaxing. Focus completely on releasing all the tension from your muscles and notice the differences you feel when they are relaxed. Focus on the pleasant feeling of relaxation.
  • In turn, tense, hold and relax your:
    • Lips, eyes, and forehead. Scowl, raise your eyebrows, pucker your lips, and then grin.
    • Jaws and neck. Thrust your lower jaw out, and then relax. Then tilt your chin down toward your chest.
    • Shoulders. Shrug your shoulders upward toward your ears.
    • Right and left arms. Make a fist and bring it up to your shoulder, tightening your arm.
    • Chest. Push out your chest.
    • Stomach. Pull up your stomach (like a stomach crunch).
    • Lower back. Stretch your lower back so that it forms a gentle arch, with your stomach pushed outward. Make sure to do this gently, as these muscles are often tight.
    • Buttocks. Squeeze your buttocks together.
    • Thighs. Press your thighs together.
    • Calves. Point your toes up, toward your knees.
    • Feet. Point your toes down, like a ballet dancer's.
  • Review these parts of your body again and release any tension that remains. Be sure to maintain your deep breathing.

Step Five: Imagine a calming scene.

  • Now that you are relaxed, imagine a calming scene. Choose a spot that is particularly pleasant to you. It may be a favorite comfortable room, a sandy beach, a chair in front of a fireplace, or any other relaxing place. Concentrate on the details:
    • What can you see around you?
    • What do you smell?
    • What are the sounds that you hear? For example, if you are on the beach, how does the sand feel on your feet, how do the waves sound, and how does the air smell?
    • Can you taste anything?
    • Some people find it helpful to look at a photograph of what they are trying to visualize.
  • Continue to breathe deeply as you imagine yourself relaxing in your safe, comfortable place.
  • Some people find it helpful at this point to focus on thoughts that enhance their relaxation. For example: "My arms and legs are very comfortable. I can just sink into this chair and focus only on the relaxation."
  • Spend a few more minutes enjoying the feeling of comfort and relaxation.

Step Six: Slowly return to reality.

  • When you are ready, start gently moving your hands and feet and bringing yourself back to reality.
  • Open your eyes and spend a few minutes becoming more alert.
  • Notice how you feel now that you have completed the relaxation exercise, and try to carry these feelings with you into the rest of your day.