This guest post was written by Valerie Johnston of Healthline. Healthline is a medical search engine that provides trusted health information, free tools, news and doctor-reviewed resources that encourage a healthy living. Valerie is a health and fitness writer from East Texas and has ambitions of one day running a marathon.
Being diagnosed with cancer is unquestionably a scary experience. You may wonder how to cope with all of the emotions that you are feeling. Most people living with cancer feel afraid, anxious, sad, and overwhelmed. While there is no way to make your diagnosis disappear, there are many things that you can do to take greater control over your feelings and your situation.
The last thing that you want to do when you’ve been diagnosed with cancer is to spiral downwards emotionally and to feel completely helpless. It’s completely natural and healthy to feel angry, upset, and sad about your diagnosis, but also important to not let yourself sink down into a pit of despair. Staying proactive will give you a sense of control. Learn as much as you can about the type of cancer that you have, treatment methods (both conventional and alternative), and don’t hesitate to ask your doctor questions.
Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Living with cancer can bring about a host of symptoms that deplete your energy levels, your physical well-being, and your state of mind. Now is a better time than ever to improve your health in any way possible. Ask your doctor about an appropriate exercise plan that you can follow. Exercise will boost your energy levels, help you to achieve a positive state of mind, manage stress, and improve many aspects of your physical health.
Consume a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet that includes plenty of foods high in antioxidants is very important for people living with cancer. Antioxidants are the “free radical scavengers” in your body. Free radicals are very harmful to the cellular processes of the body. By consuming foods high in antioxidants, you will promote a healthier immune system, which is very important for people with cancer.
Seek Emotional Support
Even if you are one of those people who never complains when sick, now is not a time to let pride get in the way of seeking outside support from friends and family. The people you are closest to are also experiencing their own emotions about your illness. Keeping your lines of communication open will be beneficial for everyone. Creating a support group of family members and friends can help you to cope with your emotions and to receive help as needed. As a group, you can gain strength and support from one another. There are also support groups available for people living with cancer. Wherever you seek support from, it will be helpful in boosting your mood, which will benefit your physical health as well.
Prepare for the Changes Ahead
Part of successfully coping with cancer is to be realistic about the changes ahead. Some treatment methods, such as chemotherapy, will cause physical changes such as hair loss. Participate in online and conventional cancer support groups to find out what other people have done to prepare for these changes. For example, preparing ahead of time by purchasing hairpieces or an attractive hat will help you to feel more comfortable as changes occur. Anticipating changes will help you to adapt while maintaining your emotional well-being.
Create Your Own Coping Strategies
As with anything in life, everyone is different when it comes to coping with cancer. What works for one person may not be ideal for you. Use a journal to keep track of the different strategies that you use. Don’t be afraid of experimenting. Your current struggle may offer a prime opportunity to try new life-enhancing activities. Maintain your current healthy relationships and activities, while casting a wider net on life’s opportunities. Seek spiritual guidance, try new relaxation techniques, and remember to stay active in living life while taking one day at a time.