Managing Feelings About Heart Failure
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What You Can Do About Your Feelings

There are many things that you can do to eliminate depression and anxiety and improve your quality of life. Try the following:
  • One of the most powerful things you can do to combat depression and anxiety is to talk about these feelings with someone. Sometimes the simple act of saying a problem or worry out loud makes it more manageable and less overwhelming.

    Consider talking to a trusted friend, family member, someone else with heart failure, or your doctor or nurse. Your doctor or nurse can also help you explore other treatment options for emotional problems.

  • Ask your family and friends for support. People who have more emotional support from family and friends often are less depressed and anxious. Unfortunately, people who are depressed or anxious tend to isolate themselves. This only makes emotional problems worse. So, reach out to family and friends. Spend more time doing activities you enjoy with them or just have a meal or a conversation together.

  • Take a more active role in managing heart failure by learning more about the disease. It will help you feel more in control. Research has shown that people who take more control of their disease are less depressed and anxious.

  • Follow your treatment plan. If you take your medications as prescribed, follow a low-sodium diet, monitor your weight and symptoms, and keep active, you can feel better and have fewer symptoms. Feeling better physically can decrease depression and anxiety.

  • Exercise regularly and increase your activity level. Regular activity or exercise is an effective treatment for depression and anxiety. See Module 5: Exercise and Activity for information on how to become more active.

  • Try to find new activities to enjoy. Many people with heart failure find that getting involved in a new activity helps them keep their mind off of their symptoms and gives them a new outlook on life. For example, consider volunteering to help at an organization or agency, or with heart failure group activities. Some health care organizations have opportunities for patients to visit and help other patients.

  • Consider joining a support group for patients with heart failure or heart disease. Some people find it helpful to discuss their feelings with other people who have similar problems. A support group can provide you with the assistance you need to better cope with your feelings. Your doctor or nurse can help you find a support group, if one is available in your community.

    However support groups are not for everyone. So do not feel bad if you try it, and it is not right for you.

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