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Tips To Help Feel In Control Of Your Emotions


Troublesome emotions can interfere with your daily life, keeping with a drug regimen or getting the health care you need.

Rather than keep emotions bottled up inside you, it is important to get them out. You can do this on your own through the techniques described below. It is also helpful to join a Support Group or create an informal support group of your own.  (In addition to emotional support, you're likely to learn a good deal of practical information.)  If needed, consider speaking with a health professional such as a social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist. Non profit organizations that deal with your disease can also help.

It is also helpful to live with hope. Hope may be as simple as hoping to have a day without great pain, or to be able to visit with people you love or to attend a family event. Hope is always possible. Look for a balance between hope and acceptance. For tips about feeling hope, click here.

Keep in mind that adjustment to a new diagnosis or change can be difficult. Adjustment is also ongoing as medical situations generally constantly shift.

Some areas where you can take action to help feel in control are the following

Express your emotions to family and friends, to a buddy and/or to members of a support group or self help group, through writing or art.

  • To Other People
    • Friends and family. Share your emotions with family and friends - and particularly with your spouse or significant other if you have one.  Think as family and friends as part of your care team
    • Take time with the people closest to you. Talk with each other about the emotions each of you are feeling. Be honest and open.
    • Let each of your friends and family members know your needs and goals and the part you expect him or her to play.  
    • Share your fears.
    • Let people know what to expect of you
    • Be aware that you can set limits with friends and family.  
    • Listen to and consider the point of view of people close to you to help hone mutual objectives and get a realistic understanding of what to expect.
    • Make sure that each person adds to the team goals -- which really means your goals.  
    • Coordinate the team members. If questions or situations involve more than one of your team members, set up a means of having them communicate with each other. For example, set up a conference call or ask one of them to do it for you. Most phone services now come with the ability to make conference calls or consider using a service such as Go To Meeting offsite link
    • Work through problems with any team members. 
    • Replace team members that don't work out.
    • Understand that a diagnosis affects everyone around you emotionally, especially your spouse and other caregivers. It's your decision whose needs are paramount at any given moment. It takes time for everyone to adjust. Being open with each other goes a long way to making sure each person's needs are met.
    • Studies show that it is helpful to have a buddy going through the same thing you are, or who has been there. For instance, someone of the same sex and approximate age who has the same stage of the same disease. If you cannot locate such a person locally or over the internet, a disease specific non-profit organization can likely make a connection for you. (For information about finding a buddy, click here.)
    • Support groups led by a qualified mental health expert and self help groups of people in a similar situation have also been shown to be of great help emotionally. Such groups also have the benefit of being an amazing source of practical information. If there are no local groups that fit your needs, you can participate in a group vis the telephone or internet.
    • If your emotions interfere with daily life or your work, consider one-on-one therapy with a mental health professional.
  • Through Writing Or Art
    • It helps to get emotions out of your system by writing them. At least one survivor refers to journaling as self therapy on the cheap.
    • The writing doesn't have to be in a formal journal or other document. The writing can just as easily be on scraps of paper, in a diary, or on your computer. 
    • If you do not want other people to see what you write without your permission, store your writings safely.
    • Art - any kind of art - is another way of expressing emotions.

Change your thoughts

  • One technique to help you feel in control is to change your thoughts Recognize that thoughts are just that: a thought. Picture a big red stop sign. Perhaps even say out loud: Stop!  At least say "stop" to yourself. Then change the thought to something you can do something about.
  • Another technique that can help understand how thoughts can come and go, is meditation. Meditation can sound scary to some people, but it is actually easy to do. It is the act of meditating that has beneficial results. It is not required that you achieve the meditative goal of "enlightenment."  To learn about meditation, click here.
  • Engage in mind changing activities
  • Change your social activities.
  • Use techniques that help reduce stress and anxiety.

Engage in mind changing techniques

  • Any activity that takes your focus and makes time disappear is a mind changing activity. What that means is different for each of us. Most hobbies have this effect.
  • There are also mind techniques to consider. With such a technique, you focus on something other than your fear or worry. For example, hypnotherapydeep  breathingmeditation, visualization, or other techniques for coping with stress.

Explore changes in your social and living arena

  • Work on deepening and improving the relationships that matter the most.  Let go of those that are unrewarding or merely obligatory.
  • Make the world around you as pleasant as possible. For example, repaint a room to the color that most pleases you.

Relieve unnecessary anxiety by learning about when to call a doctor or go to an emergency room if symptoms change. or what to do if you are unable to satisfy a treatment regimen. Ask your doctor or other member of your medical team. For additional information, see how to maximize time in an emergency room.

Use techniques that have helped other people avoid and reduce stress and anxiety.

For additional information, see:

Specific Emotions

Subjects That Help:


  • If financial concerns are getting you down, consider looking at our information about finances and how to deal with them. For information, click here
  • It is advisable to postpone important decisions until unrelated strong emotions have passed or are at least under control.

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