Coping with Feelings

Updated:Sep 29,2016

Happy middle-aged woman with dogYour healthcare professionals may not have talked to you about the emotional aspects of your illness. And you're probably feeling many emotions. You may feel alone, scared or different from the person you were before you learned you had heart disease. And your emotions may be both negative and positive.

These feelings are very common — most heart patients have them. They may go away as you learn to understand your heart condition and manage it, but sometimes feelings such as depression may stay with you and require you to seek professional help.

Your emotions can affect your recovery and your risk of future cardiac events, so it's important to understand your feelings, recognize problems and get help if you need it.

Medical reporter John Hammarley discusses anxiety and depression

A patient advises coping with emotions

John Hammarley talks about coping with emotions

Learn more about these emotions:

After any illness, it's normal to feel afraid and unsure of the future. You may be scared because you don't know what lies ahead, or because you feel less control over your life. Every heart patient has some degree of fear, but if your fear is overwhelming, it can prevent you from getting well and staying well.

Think back to a time when you were afraid. Did you ask yourself why? You may realize that you feel fearful because you have a lot of questions without answers or you aren't sure about what lies ahead. That could be causing you to wonder and worry. If you think the worst, you can become anxious — but your worst fears rarely happen. 


  • To lessen your fears, start by getting correct and complete information. Tell your healthcare professionals about your fears. Ask them what you can expect over the next few days, the next month and the next year.
  • Use "positive self-talk" to help overcome your fears. For example, say to yourself, "Most people recover and I will, too," Or, "Most of my worst fears never come to pass.

Don't be afraid to talk about your fears with a close friend or family member. When you voice your fears, you open the door to getting help and information that can make you feel better.

This content was last reviewed July 2015.

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