8 tips for dealing with unhelpful thoughts

Posted 22 Mar 2019.


When it comes to cancer, there is no right way to feel - experiencing a range of emotions is normal and everyone will cope differently. You may feel stressed, anxious or uncertain and these feelings are all a natural reaction to a serious health situation. However, you can explore ways to manage these feelings before they overwhelm you. To help, we have put together some tips to help you deal with and overcome unhelpful thoughts.

1. Identify where the unhelpful thoughts come from

Unhelpful thoughts could come from an underlying belief or a tendency to attribute personal meaning to everything that is happening, even to events beyond your control.

2. Imagine what you would say to others

Think of someone you love and imagine what you might say to them if they felt the same way.

3. Check your thoughts

Ask yourself if you are jumping to conclusions or exaggerating the negatives. If so, is there something you can do to change the situation or improve it?

4. Write down your thoughts

This helps to slow down your thinking and makes it easier to focus. It may also help you determine if a thought is based on facts, realistic or helpful.

5. Acknowledge life events

Check if you are focusing on the difficult things and ignoring the little achievements or happy events that may be occurring. Sometimes we notice the bad things that happen and don't notice the good. Writing down three good things that have happened to you each day may help. They don't have to be major events - just the everyday things that often go unrecognised.

6. Practice letting your thoughts come and go

Thoughts are fleeting. Some we notice and many we don't. Practice letting your thoughts come and go without getting caught up in them. Our Mindful Meditation CD may help you to practice this, contact us on 13 11 20 for a free copy.

7. Coach yourself

For thoughts to be helpful, they need to be balanced and believable. Rather than undermining yourself, use encouraging thoughts to talk yourself through difficulties. Counsellors can teach you techniques and help you learn to be kind to yourself.

8. Seek help

You can speak with our experienced Cancer Nurses by calling 13 11 20. They can talk through things with you and connect you with information, support services and resources that may be able to make things a little easier. 

Remember, you don't have to face the stresses of cancer alone. Whether you are looking for trustworthy information or simply need someone to listen to your immediate concerns, we can support you, your family and friends at every stage of your cancer journey. 


More information? 

For more information visit our coping with the emotional effects of cancer page or contact us by calling 13 11 20. 

We also have a wide range of support services such as counselling, support groups, complementary therapies and our Life Now program (which includes classes like yoga, meditation and tai chi). For more information and to find out how you can access these services visit our support and services page


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