Questions to ask about Coping with Fear and Anxiety
- What can I do to maintain my mental well-being as I adjust to my new life as a survivor?
- What are some healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with my emotions?
- What support services are available to me? To my family?
- What are some strategies for dealing with my fears?
It's never easy to live with uncertainty, so it's important to remind yourself that fear and anxiety are natural reactions to adversity. The fear of cancer returning is most intense in the first year after treatment, but it typically fades over time.
Here are a few ideas to help you cope:
- Talk with your health care team - Getting accurate information about the risk of recurrence for your type and stage of cancer is extremely important. Most tumors have a predictable recurrence pattern. Keeping up with a regular schedule of follow-up visits can also provide a sense of control.
- Recognize your emotions -Many people attempt to suppress or ignore negative emotions such as fear and anxiety. However, ignoring them may allow them to intensify and become overwhelming. It often helps to talk about your fears and feelings with a trusted friend, family member, or mental health professional. Or you can try writing down your thoughts in a journal, on a blog, or on social media.
- Take care of yourself - Healthy habits such as eating nutritious meals, exercising on a regular basis, and getting enough sleep will help people feel better physically and emotionally.
- Reduce stress - Finding ways to manage your stress will help lower your overall level of anxiety. This could include spending time with family and friends, rediscovering old hobbies, doing activities you enjoy, taking a walk, meditating, enjoying a bath, exercising, or laughing at a funny book or movie.