3 Tips for Mesothelioma Patients to Deal With Negative Emotions

A mesothelioma patient painting as a way to help relieve anxiety about his diagnosis.

It is completely normal for mesothelioma patients to have negative feelings about their diagnosis. But sometimes, these emotions may be overwhelming. Cancer experts have developed tips that can help patients looking to deal with these feelings in healthy ways.

Each patient will have their own unique response to their diagnosis. Both the source and solution to negative feelings will be specific to them. For example, one patient may worry about the cost of treatment. Another may get frustrated with all the unfamiliar terms they hear. One patient may find that yoga helps them cope. Another may listen to music.

Research does not support the idea that a positive attitude can fight cancer. But it may have other benefits. A positive attitude may improve the patient’s quality of life, which may help them through mesothelioma treatment.

Here are 3 tips a mesothelioma patient may want to try to help deal with negative emotions and bolster a positive attitude.

Tip 1: Talk to Others

Some experts believe that talking about negative feelings can make it easier for patients to let go of them. Some patients may find it emotionally relieving to talk about their mesothelioma diagnosis with others.

Friends and family can be sympathetic, listening as you express negative feelings. You may also want to find support groups to speak with survivors and others with similar experiences.

Speaking with a counselor may be an option as well. A counselor may be able to provide you with other strategies to manage stress and anxiety. You may begin to feel more in control.

For patients who are reluctant to talk, some experts suggest journaling as another option for expressing yourself and reducing stress. Much like talking to a close friend, writing can help you make some sense of your feelings. Writing everything down in a journal may feel safer and more private while still having the benefit of helping manage negative feelings.

Tip 2: Find Ways to Relax

Relaxing can help some patients deal with pain and discomfort associated with their cancer and treatment. It also helps them manage stress from diagnosis. These patients often turn to hobbies—both old and new—to relax.

You may already know what makes you feel relaxed. But if you are looking to try something new, you may want to consider:

  • Enjoying nature: Birdwatching, hiking, fishing or any other number of outdoor activities may be relaxing.
  • Listening to music: Sitting in a comfortable chair with some of your favorite music can help remind you of happy events and reduce stress. Playing a musical instrument can work, too.
  • Trying your hand at art: A lot of people find artistic pursuits relaxing. You might try cross-stitch, drawing, painting, photography or another craft or form of art to relieve stress.
  • Walking: Not only can walking out in the fresh air help relax someone, but it’s also healthy and keeps you active.

You may also find meditation and relaxation exercises help. Your care team may have ideas for other ways to relax.

Tip 3: Get Active

You may want to try a little exercise, too. More than 100 clinical studies suggest exercise and staying active may help improve symptoms and side effects of some cancer treatments.

Besides the physical benefits, you may find that some activity could help your emotional state. It may help you get your mind off of the worry and stress. Plus, getting active may help reduce side effects from some treatments, boost mood and fight off depression.

Experts recommend building up an exercise plan to reach 150 minutes per week, spread out over several days. Patients can also break up the exercise into two sessions each day they exercise. Physical activities that may be safe and helpful for cancer patients include:

  • Pilates
  • Tai Chi
  • Walking
  • Yoga

If you are interested in exploring different exercises, you can work with your care teams to find suitable ones.

What You’re Feeling Is Normal

It’s totally normal for a mesothelioma patient to feel a variety of emotions. Those emotions can change frequently, but patients have help available. While some may recommend positivity to beat cancer, it is normal to have and express negative emotions about your diagnosis.

A care team can suggest ways to cope with any emotions you may feel. There are many other things beyond the ones listed here that may help, including finding comfort from a support animal. Remember, each person may find some that work better for them than others.